Role Models. . .
In addition to education and understanding, we also need good role models to follow.
It has been more than 2,500 years since Buddha Shakyamuni passed into parinirvana,yet the transmission of his teachings remains embodied and upheld in today’s genuine and qualified dharma teachers. These teachers are excellent role models for us, and to follow their example and teachings is excellent too.
In my case, my role models are my grandfathers, my instructor Dr. Robert Day and my wife. Each of these people were extraordinarily kindhearted, generous, caring, and patient, and all are outstanding humans. They are/were amazing people. So you likewise need to find this kind of role model, someone with truly excellent qualities to look up to and try to emulate. For us Buddhists, our shared role model is of course Buddha Shakyamuni himself.
By relying on such role models, we will be able to mold and transform our character and behavior into something much more positive, and as a result we will encounter fewer difficulties.
This is particularly important for dharma practitioners, since as practitioners we need to unravel the true intent and meaning of Buddha’s teaching: the innate, natural state. We need to understand this and know how to train in it. Taking a genuine dharma teacher as your example and following their teachings will boost and enhance your understanding and practice of the natural state.
Peace and Love, Jim