Navigate the transformative potential of the spiritual student-teacher relationship with open eyes, no-nonsense advice, and personal accounts from two female students with decades of experience working with Buddhist guides.
Taking a spiritual path that genuinely transforms our lives is no easy task. It engages the deepest parts of ourselves, and there are many pitfalls and ravines that can carry us away on this sometimes treacherous path. There are times when we can get lost, become confused, or even misunderstand our own state of mind and what is right from wrong. A spiritual guide who is genuine and experienced is vital for navigating such obstacles--someone to give perspective, someone to trust, someone to light the way. The teacher-student relationship has been a core part of Buddhism from the time of the Buddha and his first disciples over 2,500 years ago, and it continues to be central to navigating a spiritual path of meditation and reflection.
In A Vote for the Lama, Carolyn Kanjuro and Allison Choying Zangmo provide a road map to help students make the most of studying with a spiritual teacher. As students themselves, Kanjuro and Zangmo have both experienced the great benefits and challenges of studying nearly 24/7 with their teachers while serving as translators and conduits for the communities around them. In a time when Buddhists and spiritual seekers are increasingly doubtful about the benefits of studying with a master, the authors share their support and encouragement for cultivating such a relationship. From guidance on how to find a teacher to how to face issues of miscommunication and confrontation, Kanjuro and Zangmo help readers consider their own goals and emotional boundaries as a starting point for building a positive new spiritual connection. Through honest, personal stories, the authors share the importance of opening ourselves with trust, warmth, and daring in order to follow a path of greater awareness and compassion.
The Guide to Enlightenment: Why the Teacher Still Matters in Buddhism Today, Allison Choying Zangmo and Carolyn Kanjuro, Shambhala Publications, Paperback, 176 pp, $17.95
Allison Choying Zangmo is Anyen Rinpoche's personal translator and a longtime student of both Rinpoche and his root lama, Kyabje Tsara Dharmakirti. She has either translated or collaborated with Rinpoche on all of his books. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Carolyn Kanjuro was a writer and creative collaborator. She served as creative director for Secrets of the World, an award-winning audio series for children featuring global storytellers, and taught meditation, theater, and contemplative archery to kids throughout North America.