Question: In most Buddhist traditions there are three jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, the community of monks. In the Tibetan Buddhism they added a fourth, the guru or the teacher. And I wonder what you think about that, particular in terms of its transmission to the west.
This is a very important question, yes. Guru. The word guru is stained now. Really, it has been stained unfortunately. But the guru principle, the practice of guru is actually quite an important in the tantric Buddhist system. And it’s really unfortunate that the human gurus have actually, many of human gurus have somehow managed to spoil that beautiful system. Actually you are supposed to – okay the fourth, you are talking about the fourth object of refuge. In fact more than fourth. In fact, according to the tantric Buddhism, guru is supposedly more important than the triple gem. So this is a big statement. But all this comes in the context of guru as the path. Now this is one message that always gets missed out. Because guru always is referred as a person who dictates your life. But guru must be, really, essentially guru must be taken as the path. Meaning – okay it is a bit like this. What do you want? You want enlightenment. Can you do it? Okay what do you want? You want enlightenment. You want it fast or slow? Right? That is the question. Fast. Do you want painless or – you know stuff like that. Painless is little difficult actually. Fast I think, fast. So actually, to put it very simply, in the Vajrayana tradition the guru principle is a bit like – okay if you want to have fast track so to speak, then first you have a choice to hire a person who will destroy you or not. Basically that is it. So you actually – okay order is you take first refuge to three gems, right. Triple gems. So you have accepted the Buddha path, the path of the Buddha. Now you want the speed, you want to do it very soon. Because you don’t have much time. Now there is a solution which is the Vajrayana and within the tantric Buddhism you are allowed, there is a solution and the solution is you hire or you get a person who will – basically you are asking him to destroy your ego, your emotion and all of that. So that way the guru becomes the path and I think that is quite important for the western aspiring tantric Buddhist to understand. Otherwise this guru as a figure is very dangerous, very very dangerous.