We are overjoyed to announce the release of the new book The Guide to Enlightenment: Why the Teacher Still Matters in Buddhism Today by Allison Choying Zangmo and Carolyn Kanjuro. This book covers a topic that is vital to our tradition, at a time when it is needed most. May this book benefit many beings!
In this intimate collection of personal stories and advice, Allison Choying Zangmo and Carolyn Kanjuro team up to reflect on their experiences as lifelong practitioners of Buddhism, their own relationships with their partners who are also their spiritual guides, and the transformative power of the student-teacher relationship. As both students and leaders in their Buddhist communities, Allison and Carolyn possess clear insights into how we can successfully interpret traditional Buddhist understandings of spiritual mentorship for today’s world.
“Filled with vivid reflections on their personal experiences as followers and teachers of Buddhism, this guidebook offers modern students valuable advice and models on how to orient themselves toward the Dharma, the Teacher, and the Sangha to fulfill their highest aspirations.”
—Tulku Thondup, author of The Heart of Unconditional Love
“For a student on the Vajrayana path, nothing is more important than choosing and committing to a guru. This little book, clearly written by two Western Vajrayana students in language Westerners can understand, offers simple and straightforward advice on how to prepare well for a devotes lifetime relationship with a vajra master. These writers should know—both were married to realized masters.”
—Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, author of The Guru Drinks Bourbon?
“It is a joy to endorse this important book compiled with great care by Allison Choying Zangmo on behalf of her dharma sister, Carolyn Kanjuro. Together they offer advice and guidelines on the subject of devotion to the spiritual master based on their personal experiences. Since my life has taken a similar course, I have long known that the most important relationship that one can cultivate in life is with one’s spiritual guide. I also know that this remains one of the most misunderstood areas of spiritual development for Western seekers. Once becoming a Buddhist, one of the first texts that I was fortunate to receive teachings on was the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion by the Indian Acharya Tayang. It is crucial for disciples of dharma, and in particular Vajrayana, to receive instructions on the qualifications of a true spiritual master and the qualifications of the disciple. Given that this is the backbone for the timeless process of lineage blessings and transmissions, this book and the insight, inspiration, and truth that it reveals are especially timely at this juncture.”
—Sangye Khandro, cotranslator of Essence of Clear Light
“This is a helpful book written by two American women, both married to their teachers, who offer guidance on the traditional approach of the guru in Vajrayana—-a heart connection based on total trust and devotion. This willingness to surrender should leave us open to receive the guru’s blessings like an empty vessel ready to be filled, unlike any ordinary relationship. Although this imbalance of power could be a sad cause for abuse and exploitation, here the authors discuss the ideal association with a fully qualified guru who embodies bodhichitta and is worthy of trust.”
—Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, author of Reflections on a Mountain Lake