Meditation Categories 6. Spiritual Teachers

47. Discerning Between Authentic and False Teachers

Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 47

The Beginning

Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.

The Main Part

Meditate on the differences between authentic teachers and charlatans, and know whom to rely on:

If you rely on authentic teachers, you will be permeated by the perfume of their good qualities; your mind of renunciation, compassion, bodhicitta, and other virtues will be enhanced by the day, just like a piece of ordinary wood fallen in a sandalwood forest will come to smell as sweet as the sandal trees around it. Therefore, to strengthen and accomplish positive qualities, you must rely on genuine teachers and virtuous companions.

Conversely, if you follow false teachers and negative companions, you will be sullied by their faults and your own good qualities will be destroyed. It’s like a tuft of kusha grass; if it falls into a filthy pit, it will no longer retain its refreshing fragrance after being retrieved. Therefore, resolve: In order to weaken and abolish non-virtues, I must abandon false teachers and harmful companions.

The Ending

Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.


It is obvious that whomever we chose to follow—authentic or false teachers, good or bad companions—our behaviors will be influenced as a consequence. Therefore, we must make this aspiration: In order to vanquish harmful actions and nurture goodness, I must avoid charlatans and their associates, and rely only on qualified teachers and beneficial companions. This point is not difficult to contemplate, nor is its literal meaning obscure. But a cursory consideration is hardly enough; rather, it calls for thorough and repeated reflections, which is what’s meant by spiritual practice. When trained accordingly, not only will you gain a theoretical understanding, but also you’ll be on the right track in actual practice.