Unhealthy Relationships with Spiritual Teachers

Inspiration gained from a healthy disciple-mentor relationship is a source of true joy and spiritual attainment. On the other hand, when misunderstood and mixed with confusion, the relationship becomes unhealthy and may give rise to spiritual devastation and emotional pain. Misunderstanding may occur on the side of the disciple, the mentor, or both; and cultural factors often add to the confusion. A healthy relationship with a spiritual teacher requires a safe direction in life, a bodhichitta motivation, and, above all, a good understanding of voidness. Without these prerequisites, any attempt at building a relationship runs the danger of unbridled transference and degenerative regression or overdependence.