In the beginning, relating to the teacher as acharya—as master, teacher, elder, parent-figure, and occasionally babysitter—is necessary. That person’s primary goal is not to teach us what’s good and what’s bad, but to help us develop a general sense of composure. That is the beginning of devotion, in some sense. At this point, devotion is not faith at an ethereal or visionary level but a sense of practicality: learning what it is necessary to do and what it is necessary to avoid. It’s a simple, basic thing.
From “The Teacher” in the latest issue of the Shambhala Sun. Based on a seminar on the Sadhana of Mahamudra, 1975.