Context : someone in a survivors support group was asking this question and this was my reply, I’m archiving it on my blog in the hope people stop looking for guru’s, stop losing their discernment in their spiritual journey.
What makes a good History teacher? What makes a good social science teacher?
Why should we abandon the requirements and expectations we expect and demand from mentors, teachers and give the guru so much power over ourselves, over our lives, over what defines the quest for a spiritual journey?
So for me a good teacher is the one that share his knowledge without trying to obtain anything from the student, without trying to intoxicate the learner in the hope to manipulate him or her.
A good teacher enables critical thinking, discernment and is the conduit from which the learner develop his own empowerment to learn, perhaps guided by reflections and hints from the teacher but never subjugated, never subdued to the teacher.
A good mentor is someone that you can trust, even with your vulnerabilities, without risking that those vulnerabilities will be used against you, not even in the name to teaching you or anyone else a lesson.
What makes a good therapyst? Someone that help you digest your own turf without abusing your trust by pretending to know, instead of you, the right approach to make the digestion easier.
So to me.. Guru’s, even the kindest ones I have met, even the ones that at least officially never abused anyone, in my experience they don’t match the qualities and the behavior that I have described above for other types of “guides”.
Because the very definition of the notion of guru (in Tibetan Buddhism) is one rooted in inbalance, domination, exploitation, the very “training” they go through is in itself profoundly traumatic, turning them into sociopath that are drilled to manipulate and cultivate a layer of apparence of compassion and other qualities to then, sooner or later, abuse their power.
To me guru’s are literally the equivalent of a doctor that breaks his Hypocratic oath but are exempt of such oath because by design, they have no accountability to give to anyone.
Literally, all the western approaches to teach/mentor or guide are better and less prone to abuse than the guru notion.
We should build on it, apply it to other fields and never ever entrust our lives into the hands of anyone.