Buddhism ultimately is not about making ourselves comfortable and well adjusted in samsara. It is about getting off that wheel entirely, by ending what they call the uncontrolled rebirth that arises out of confusion. We have to be careful in caring for each other and adapting to circumstances that we don’t reify the self, and reinforce our suffering.
The word root guru has a sacred meaning, that my teachers define in a very specific way: the person who not only tries, but succeeds in bringing about a complete change in your mind to such an extend that the grip of duality is loosened and that the nature of mind is totally laid bare in its naked state and can be accessed whenever remembered for the rest of your life. Perhaps the meditator only finds out many years later who the primary guru was.
This is the story of a retreat I did at Karme Choling in the winter of 1977. That retreat was a bone rattling experience for me, but I was too young at the time to fully appreciate how it was going to change my life. Well, here I am on the fortieth anniversary of that retreat, and it certainly did change my life, so it might worth sharing a bit of that story before I fade away.
To sever attachment to home, family, and friends, chödpas moved from valley to valley, village to village, sacred place to sacred place, charnel ground to charnel ground, staying only for brief periods in small tents and under trees before moving on. They would camp in groups, but only as close as the sound of a kangling could reach.
Unless and until our experience of nondual awakened mind is for real, there is every reason in the world to pursue teachings on, to understand and train in the most eminent kind of dualistic mind.