** If you see your Guru as a Buddha, you will recieve the blessings of a Buddha ** If you see your Guru as a Boddhisatva, you will recieve the blessings of a Boddhisatva ** If you see your Guru as a friend, you will only receive the blessings of a friend **

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Qualities of students and their relationship with the teacher

The Characteristics of a Student Qualified for Individual Liberation Vows

One who is a worthy vessel for individual liberation vows must:

(1) be free from the four obstacles to dharma (i.e., having committed one of the five boundless offenses, lacking parental consent, being unable to practice, and having corrupt conduct), 

(2) be respectful to their abbott and resident master, 

(3) likewise be able to uphold pure moral discipline (by refraining from the four causes for breaking vows: not knowing the precepts, being disrespectful, lacking conscientiousness, and having strong mental afflictions), 

(4) always make effort at meditative concentration and recitation of prayers, 

(5) have a disciplined nature in mind and conduct, 

(6) have patience with whatever their teacher asks of them and with those who harm them, 

(7) be able to make effort at keeping the individual liberation vows, and 

(8) know how to uphold the dharma without becoming defiled.

The Characteristics of a Student Qualified for Bodhisattva Vows

One who is a suitable vessel for the bodhisattva vows must:

(1) have faith in a Mahāyāna spiritual guide, 

(2) have great compassion, 

(3) have a wisdom eye that understands the main points of the vast and profound teachings, 

(4) know the four means of gathering disciples and practice the six perfections, 

(5) not be discouraged but have the patience to undertake these vast practices, 

not strive for their own happiness, but happily work to save sentient beings, and 

(6) continuously make effort at understanding the meaning of profound emptiness, 

and upon listening to these teachings, become delighted—

these are the signs of the awakening of the Mahāyāna lineage.

The Characteristics of a Mantrayāna Student

One who is a suitable vessel for the Mantrayāna must: 

respect to the guru,

be able to keep the profound view and conduct secret,

have a vast intellect that understands reality and not have doubt in the meaning of secret mantra, and

be able to make effort at rejecting, adopting, keeping the pledges, and practicing.

The Necessity of Initially Checking for the Characteristics 

Initially, both the teacher and student need to check one another's characteristics.

The teacher of Secret Mantra must check the student. 

When giving empowerment to someone,

if they are not a suitable vessel, 

then they will not be able to keep the pledges in this and future lives.

It will be wasted, the teacher's pledges will also be broken,

the attainment of accomplishments will be made extremely remote,

and many faults will arise such as the harm of obstacles.

Unless the student checks the characteristics of the teacher, 

when receiving empowerment from someone,

the teacher may deceive them and they may be unable to keep the pledges,

attainments may be uprooted, the teacher may lead them onto wrong paths, etc.,

and many faults will arise such as that the opportunities and resources of this life will be wasted.

Relying on a Spiritual Guide after having Checked their Characteristics

Unwaveringly develop respect from your heart

with the intention to strive for the state of enlightenment.

Joyfully offer whatever you possess and have acquired, such as food and clothing.

As a sign of respect, stand when you see your teacher.

Praise them and always act respectfully towards them.

Do not stand on the teacher's shadow and reject disrespectful conduct.

Prostrate upon first seeing the teacher.

As a sign of respect, help them wash, anoint them with oil, etc., and be honest.

Listen to whatever your teacher says and practice it.

The best of all forms of respect to the teacher

is to listen to, contemplate, and meditate on the teachings 

take delight in their words of advice, carrying them out, and earnestly practice.

The Benefits of Relying on a Spiritual Guide

The benefits of relying on a spiritual guide are limitless:

(1) You will never fall to the lower realms when held by a spiritual guide.

(2) You will not be inclined to engage in non-virtuous actions.

(3) You will turn back from recklessness and (4) emerge from saṃsāra.

(5) You will never transgress the bodhisattva trainings.

(6) Your work will be superior to that of all worldly individuals.

(7) Karma and afflictions will not be able to overpower you.

(8) If you are held by a spiritual guide you will attain enlightenment.

Rejecting Non-virtuous Companions

Teachers, friends, and companions who have evil personalities, 

who do not maintain pure vision, who have strong bias,

who uphold only their own view and sect as the best,

who praise themselves and criticize others, 

who criticize other religious systems,

who criticize teachers who carry the burden of others for their benefit—

if you follow such an evil friend, you will acquire all their faults,

so you should abandon accompanying them, speaking with them,

and even touching their shadow.

Obstacles of Malicious Forces

Thinking about the faults of the teacher,

not making effort in terms of listening and contemplation,

engaging in divisive talk and idle chatter which is the cause of anger,

being distracted by food, drink, dwelling, business, etc.,

falling under the sway of sleepiness, dullness, and laziness,

being overpowered by thoughts of dullness, attachment, etc.—

all this will quickly cut you off from liberation. 

Thus, you should know these to be malicious forces and always be careful.

When you meet with the authentic dharma and an authentic teacher,

and when you listen, contemplate, and meditate with effort,

obstacles and challenging conditions will arise. 

To overcome these, have faith in the teacher and respect toward your companions, 

listen, contemplate, and meditate with effort, 

have conviction in the dharma without doubt,

do not fall under the sway of distracted thoughts,

don the armor of the antidotes, and in that way be skilled in defeating the malicious forces. 

Explanation of Relying on Faith

Rely on a spiritual guide as a prerequisite to all wholesome conduct.

Give rise to faith at the outset of striving on the path.

Faith is the foundation of all wholesome conduct and 

serves as a cause and condition for purifying saṃsāra.

There are three kinds of faith: (1) aspiring faith, (2) inspired faith, and (3) faith of conviction.

The first is having a pure attitude toward the three jewels and the teacher,

the second is training on the path with the wish to attain unsurpassed enlightenment, 

and the third is never turning back from conviction in karma and cause and effect.