Importance of a Qualified Teacher
We received the following comment, and want to share it as a post on its own.
What is different about the Vajrayana Buddhist path from other Buddhist and non-buddhist spiritual traditions? It is lineage, actually, and the methods that are passed down through lineage, from teacher to student in a live transmission, that enables one to work directly with his mind. This means, the conditions that cause more “continuum,” or more of the same, over and over, can be changed by the methods of Vajrayana. One need not ask for the intervention of another; just find a qualified teacher, learn the methods, practice them, and the result will be enlightenment.
Lineage is where one goes to learn the methods, not Amazon. The Vajrayana practitioner is following the methods that are only available through a lineage. These practices were protected in Tibet for centuries and were passed down only by Vajrayana master practitioners. I think that because of the dispersion of lineage masters throughout the world after China invaded Tibet in 1959, and with the advent of the digital and virtual world, many of the practices that once were secret and passed only by qualified master to qualified student now can be found on line.
Is someone who picks up these methods somehow other than through a lineage capable or qualified to teach, or guide students in, these methods? No, it is not possible. There is no substitute for the blessing of lineage that potentizes these methods. Blessing is the ignition of sorts. Without it, you may have the car, you may hold the car keys, but you are not going to go anywhere without the factor of ignition. You can sit behind the wheel and visualize where you would go; you might even be able to convince yourself that you somehow could transport yourself there and back. (Wow, wouldn’t that something?) Still the car would be cold and the ignition unaffected by all the effort you put into describing, imagining, visualizing, and other blah blah blah.
So why am I on my soapbox today? I’ve known for a couple of years about a person without lineage who claims to be an enlightened Vajrayana Teacher, or Rinpoche. His name is William Cassidy and he is a felon. He tried in 2007 to bilk my spiritual community of money and actually was working to take over our organization. Come to find out, when Cassidy was doing all of this, he was on the lam from the Department of Corrections in Nevada. Here is his incarceration record: http://www.doc.nv.gov/notis/detail.php?offender_id=1018752. Because of his attempt to take over our community I ended up having personal experience with Cassidy and can say that I believe he is BAD news. He presents himself on the internet and in Buddhist sites as TenpaRinpoche (Twitter) and Tulku Urgyen Tenpa or Tenpa Rinpoche (on his blog site) and some combination of those names in other places. He won’t use William Cassidy, however.
If you are interested in Buddhism and charge around the net looking for interesting commentary and teaching, please beware of William Cassidy’s siren’s call. The jail record, my experience with him as well and what he tried to do in my organization leads me to say with certainty that he is a fake and your would be better off leaving him alone. He really can’t help you with what Buddhism can: taming your mind, generating compassion and reaching enlightenment.
I was hoping that Cassidy was in the process of retiring from the fake Buddhist Teacher job he assigned for himself, but alas it seems he has given himself a promotion instead. He now refers to himself at “His Eminence” Tulku Urgyen Tenpa Rinpoche.” No one else does, however.