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How should we understand the term spiritual teacher?

“How should we understand the term spiritual teacher?” the Karmapa questioned. “This person is not necessarily someone whose name is widely known or who wears an impressive hat and holds a bell and dorje. An authentic spiritual teacher is one who creates the conditions that allow us to see our hidden faults, those defects that we do not usually recognize. Often when we meet a teacher, we feel delighted and happy, but the real question is: Were our faults illuminated? To develop as practitioners, we have to recognize what is wrong with us, which is difficult to do, so the real spiritual teacher is one who allows us to see our shortcomings.”

Karmapa, An Extensive Teaching on Mind Training

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