Holiness the Dalai Lama — from The Bodhgaya Interviews,
ed. Jose Ignacio Caberon (Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications,
1988), p. 60.
Lord Buddha himself has made it quite clear in both the Vinaya
Sutras and the Mahayana
Scriptures, and even in the Tantrayana, in a very detailed fashion,
what the qualities of a teacher should be. This is why I often
criticize the Tibetan attitude of seeing whatever the Guru does
as good, of respecting everything that [he] does as good right
from the start, without the initial period of examination. Of
course, if the Guru is really qualified, then to have
such an attitude is really worthwhile. . . .
Take the cases of Naropa
and Marpa, for example.
Sometimes it appears as though some of the things Tilopa
asked of Naropa, or Naropa asked of Marpa, were
unreasonable. Deep down however these requests had good meaning.
Because of their great faith in their Gurus, Naropa and Marpa
did as intended. Despite the fact that they appeared
to be unreasonable, because the teachers were qualified, their
actions had some meaning. In such situations it is necessary
from the disciple’s side that all of the actions of the teacher
be respected. But this cannot be compared to the case of ordinary
people. Broadly speaking, I feel the Buddha gave us complete
freedom of choice to thoroughly examine the person who is to
be our Guru. This is very important. Unless one is definite,
one should not take someone as a Guru. This preliminary examination
is a kind of precautionary measure.