Have you ever feel like enlightenment is so far away because you have not found a perfect teacher?
If so, you may have fallen into a self-dug ditch in spiritual development.
Learning from a qualified teacher is important and we should make sure we learn authentic Buddha Dharma. However, we should also not idealise the concept of a perfect teacher until it becomes an unattainable abstract idea.
Foremost, we must not be mistaken that enlightenment can be bestowed. No one, including gods, can give us enlightenment. Enlightenment is a self transformation. If we are waiting for someone to come around and wave a magic wand over our head to turn us into Buddha, then that is ignorance. Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, it has to look for food, eat and then build a cocoon and patiently develop into a butterfly. You can’t do any of the above for the caterpillar.
Another misconception is that only an enlightened teacher can teach you how to become enlightened. If you read the Theravada scriptures, you will find many stories about students getting enlightened before their teacher. In one example, a housewife became enlightened ahead of her 2 teachers who were monks. In another story, the abbot of a monastery was delayed from enlightenment due to his busy teaching schedule. All his disciples had become arhants before him. This clearly show us the difference between knowledge and realisation. To have knowledge, we study. To be enlightened, we practice. The difference is like reading about sports and playing sports.
Last but not least, there is no guarantee that we can identify a qualified teacher. This is due to our ignorance. A qualified teacher standing in front of us may appear as a fool to us because our perception is deluded. Put simply, if we are full of anger, the world is angry. If we are full of lust, every person is a target of our desire….. This is not new. Even our Sakyamuni Buddha had been called names during his times. Some did not believe He is enlightened. Some called him the bald one. Some were enamoured by his handsome physiques and just want to have sex with him….
Therefore, searching for a perfect teacher may very well become a roadblock we place for ourselves.
May all be well and happy.