Seeing the Spiritual Teacher as a Buddha

The sutras and tantras instruct disciples to regard the good qualities and kindness of their mentors as those of a Buddha. When texts recommend seeing that a mentor is a Buddha, we need to understand this to mean seeing the person only contingently as a Buddha, inasmuch as he or she validly functions as a Buddha for disciples. As disciples advance in their practice, they gain progressively deeper understanding of the relation between their mentors and Buddhas. Eventually, as practitioners of highest tantra, they need to distinguish their tantric masters as being Buddhas, in order to be able to distinguish themselves as Buddha-figures by holding the pride of the deity.