Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The "Perfect" Teacher

Paul and I have joined his mother watching a film on satellite TV about Khyentse Norbu, a well-known Tibeten Buddhist Rinpoche who has made a couple of feature films (The Cup and Travellers and Magicians), likes to wear a snappy fedora-style hat along with his Tibetan robes, and has a reputation of being a bit of a trickster to his students. We're getting a great kick out it because his students want so much to either venerate him as an omnicient special being or show him to be a regular man...and he keeps defying their expectations at every turn.

We see this phenomena in our practice occassionally and in the email we receive from time to time. People want so much to believe in someone they think is better than them and, on the other hand, want so badly to tear down people who they have perceived in this way -- to bring them down a peg, show them to be "fake", whatever it is that will help them recover from the mistake of putting themselves down in the presence of a teacher in the first place.

Luckily our experiences with this are rare. I feel badly for people like the Dalai Lama who wind up having to deflect this kind of guru worship all the time and horrified by people who deliberately want to court that kind of adoration.

The name of the film we're watching is Words of My Perfect Teacher. I highly recommend it.

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