It appears that the fifty stanzas of guru devotion are important in the in many sects of Vajrayana, at least the Kagyu and Geluk. It would be interesting to learn whether this text is used in Diamond Way.
That quotation is from the Introduction of Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey's short commentary on the Fifty Verses: the 50 stanzas of guru devotion.
Guru devotion involves both thought and action. The most important thing is to develop the total conviction that your guru is a buddha—this is a prerequisite for receiving any insight.
So you cant make progress unless you have total conviction that your guru is a buddha. Right away you're stuck.
Likewise, if you can train yourself to see only good qualities and never any faults in your guru, this positive outlook will come to pervade, amplify and reflect your own state of mind. As we all have buddha nature within us—the clear, uncontaminated state of pure mind established without any true independent existence—seeing our guru as a buddha gives us the possibility of activating and realizing our own buddha nature. Seeing only our guru’s faults merely reinforces our own shortcomings and negative attitudes; seeing only his perfection enables us to attain the perfection of buddhahood ourselves.
Note that the options are presented as binary, just option A or option B, with nothing else. Either you see 'only good qualities in your guru' or you see 'only our guru's faults'.
This is the black and white thought pattern of early childhood. It excludes the possiblity that one single person can exhibit a range, a spectrum of behaviors.
Two there is a trap.
*If you see only good qualities in your guru you improve yourself and are promised support for practice.
* If you see only bad qualities in the guru this reinforces your shortcomings. (note that anyone who dares venture worries or criticism of a small behavior will be written off as seeing only bad qualities in the guru--there is no
room for loyal dissent in this kind of relationship. )
So anyone observing actual bad behavior in a guru is automatically on the spot, even if he or she never utters a peep. They're set up to feel shame ridden about themselves, by observing actual bad behavior (or borderline creepy behavior) in a guru.
This is a child's state of mind. Or that of a serf. Daddy guru can only be good. There is no other option. Even his bad behavior isnt actual bad behavior; its a mere appearance of bad behavior done to make him seem more human and approachable so more will come to the Dharma.
Commentary on the 50 verses of devotion
THE FIFTY VERSES OF GURU DEVOTIONLama Nga -chu-pa
The guru to be avoided
The root text was composed by Ashvagosha in the first century BCE, translated into English by Sharpa Tulku,Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw, and published by the Library of Tibetan Works andArchives in 1975. Gen Rinpoche Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey gave this commentary at the LTWA in DharamsalaJuly–August 1976. It was translated by Losang Gyaltsen and edited by Nicholas Ribush from his notes of the class.
(7)A disciple with sense should not accept as a guru someone who lacks compassion o ris prone to anger, vicious, arrogant, possessive, undisciplined or boastful of his knowledge.This verse explains the kind of guru we should not cultivate; it mentions some disqualifications. Anintelligent disciple should not cultivate such a guru.
(Corboy)But...this text and commmentary do not imagine that a guru might have the right qualifications yet later in his career be corrupted by his role - the great lack in the Tibetan/Varayana tradition is that unlike modern social psychology there is no recognition based on history that power and adulation corrupt character. What if a student's guru starts out humble but later turns into a bad apple after years of adulation? Or has hidden his behavior and presents only a humble wise demeanor to the world? Remember, the tantrics feel entitled to conceal information when it suits them.
Later, the commentator has this dialogue.
Question: How can we know if the guru has these qualities and qualifications?
Gen Rinpoche: Actually, if the guru is really an authentic teacher, most of the qualifications would beknown because of his reputation* as a learned lama and great practitioner, but you yourself canunderstand after you have examined him properly. As I mentioned before, you should cultivate a guru about whom you can confidently think, “If I take this teacher as my guru my faith won’t degenerate later.” When your faith in him is resolute you can cultivate that teacher as your guru
*Corboy: Reputation can be misleading. Two, we have testimony from legions of people who did start out with confident faith and were tragically disillusioned. Once again this neglects the sad possiblity that a guru might start out well but later be corrupted by the role.
What is interesting is the text speaks of the possiblity of despising your guru. It makes one wonder how often gurus misbehaved that a text had to be written in which the possibility of negative feels towards a guru would be discussed in such detail.
Consequences of disrespecting your guru.
you are foolish enough to despise your guru, you will contract contagious diseasesand those caused by harmful spirits and will die (a horrible death) caused by demons,plagues or poison.The invisible consequence is rebirth in hell. Here, the visible consequences are enumerated. If youbelittle your guru you will suffer from infectious diseases and die from harm inflicted by othersentient beings, such as snake bite or tiger attack.
Corboy: In India and Tibet, people got sick all the time and still to this day get sick all the time. In the days when cooking had to be done in open fires and pots, kitchens and firepits were potential hazards.
So if anyone got sick and was known to be on bad terms with his drunken guru, the illness or death could be conveniently blamed on disciple's own impiety. The drunken guru, with better food, an entourage, and well housed, was less exposed to pathogens than disciples. If a disciple who honoured the drunkeng guru died young, he or she would be given a good funeral and be cited as a good example, while the misfortune of the dead skeptic would be told in all the villages. Confirmation bias.
In those parts of the world there was no shortage of accident or misfortune, and plenty of disease factors. People were scared. Life was unmanageble, so go to Magic Daddy.
Dirty water, unclean food, dung, wolves, tigers were aprowl. Tents, houses and buildings were porous. No shortage of rats, mice, snakes, lice fleas, flies and mosquitoes. Rabies was enzootic in the animal population. So was bubonic plag and anthrax. Cholera, typhoid and waterborne microbes. Smallpox and plague. Farm accidents. Malnutrition.
In Turtle Feet, in modern Dharamsala, Nikoli Grozni describes the level of filth. Even today many travellers to Nepal, Tibet and India are advised to get a huge range of immunizations and carry medicines with them plus observe sanitary precautions.
You must even avoid anyone who "belittles the guru"
It is also very clear in many sutras that you shouldn’t cultivate friendship with those who havebelittled their guru; you shouldn’t even drink water with them. If you do associate with them, yoursacred words of honor will degenerate and, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able toachieve any powerful attainments.
The Kalachakra Root Tantra clearly states that no matter how many offerings you make to theThree Jewels in a million eons or how much charity to sentient beings you practice over the sameperiod, you still can’t actualize enlightenment in a single lifetime, but if you cultivate pure gurudevotion without transgression you can actualize enlightenment in a single lifetime of thisdegenerate age
As Geshe Potowa said, “Disciples who regard Vajradhara as better than their own guru have nopossibility of gaining powerful attainments
This makes it clear that if, while practicing any meditation deity and doing the visualization, you regard the meditation deity and your guru as separate—the deity as very high and your guru as very low, separate—because of that great mistake, you won’t be able to actualize any powerfulattainments, even if you meditate for a hundred years.
On the other hand, if you meditate on the inseparability of the meditation deity and your guru, it’s impossible that you won’t actualize anypowerful attainments.**Corboy note. Once you are in these inseparability practices, you become unable to see in any adult way, whether your vajra guru is doing something against the precepts.)
If you can do what he asks, if youcan act in accordance with his words, you should accept, but if it’s too hard, then explain yourdifficulty politely. Don’t ignore what he’s asking, but tell him intelligently why you can’t do it.If your guru tells you to do something that you feel goes against your three types of morality,you can avoid doing it, but explain intelligently and unemotionally why.
*Corboy. Note the emphasis on 'explain intelligently and unemotionally why."
THe worse and more shocking a guru's behavior, the harder it is to respond "unemotionally". Showing the slightest bit of human, appropriate emotional depth will immediately invalidate your testimony. And again, the worse and more shocking and disillusining the gurus behavior, the harder it is to respond 'intelligently and unemotionally."