The power of the connection with the teacher and his role in disciple’s life is represented differently in Three Vehicles. In Hinayana a teacher is a useful experienced companion. In the Great Way he is an example and a guide on the way. In Diamond Way a teacher, or Lama, is the manifestation of the way and the goal which students aspire to reach.
Spiritual teacher possesses special human qualities, which students want to acquire. He is a spiritual friend, Bodhisattva giving the teachings and meditation instructions. The teacher isn’t obliged to be a monk – it is most important that he represents a good example in anything that he or she does. It’s good that the teacher shows a good example in other spheres of life apart from Buddhist one – for example, works a lot, protects women’s rights, openly expresses one’s political views, helps poor and takes care of the ill ones.
In all times there have been people pretending to be spiritual teachers, while not being ones. For this reason it’s necessary to develop a critical attitude to everyone who set themselves up as an authority and tend to seize the power over “people’s minds”. One should check the teachers. Real Buddhist master should earnestly work for the benefit of all and should never damage the trust of the students.
Firstly, the master should have compassion, love people, keep control over one’s temper and be happy. He or she should live and act in accordance with the principles which he or she teaches themselves. It means that the teacher has realized Buddhist wisdom by means of meditation. An authentic master is patient and is never angry with the students, as well as is honest: he or she doesn’t hide their mistakes from themselves.