Note: This blog is part of a series sharing the teachings of the Atisha's Lojong Root Verses on Training the Mind as shared by Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo in London May 28 & 29, 2016.  These are not transcriptions of the lectures, rather a collection of her thoughts sewn together.

15. The Supreme spiritual teacher is the one who exposes our hidden flaws.

16. The Supreme instruction is the one that helps us to strike at these flaws.

Jetsumna uses the example of working out at the gym to explain these two. We go to the gym to suffer a little bit knowing that it is developing strength and endurance for the other aspects of our life.  If we do not exercise, we get flabby.  The same is true with our spiritual progress.

A good trainer points out where we need development.  If our trainer only praised us, it would be difficult to progress.  Similarly, a good spiritual teacher will help us see where we need to grow.

Jetsumna made a point of countering this root verse a little with explaining the importance of also having a teacher who was encouraging and pointed out our good points.  We do not want to feel discourage.  We want to be encouraged.

Find a teacher who believes in your potential for goodness.

Per the request of the students in the audience, Jetsumna talked for a little bit about teachers.

Jetsumna quoted a friend of hers. “It’s a very difficult time for people on the spiritual path.  Half come because they don’t have a teacher, the other half come because they do.”

She spoke that we have too much hope for what our teacher can do for us.  “Even if you met the Buddha, all he would say is, ‘Practice.’”

“Everyone has something to tell us if we are open.” ~ Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo
“Our insights will transform our consciousness if our mind is integrated.” ~ Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo
“Be aware of false teachers and let us not be naïve.” ~ Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo

 

Read Verse seventeen and the teaching notes.