Within the Tibetan tradition, there’s a strong emphasis with connecting with a teacher and relying on that person. I think that’s generally good, but it’s also important to develop some self-reliance in practice. Geshe Tashi mentioned something very interesting about this a few months earlier. He commented that in order to become more self-reliant in one’s own practice, a person should contemplate the “Four Reliances.” I thought this was a refreshing reminder.
For myself personally, I probably could have spared my own teacher a great deal of my unnecessary questions if I had followed these four points.
- Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality;
- Rely on the meaning, not just on the words;
- Rely on the real meaning, not the interpretable meaning.
- Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgmental mind.