Qualifications of a Student

reading group
May 8, 2019

Shambhavi and the Jaya Kula community engage in a wide-ranging, intimate discussion about the personal qualities that benefit students in direct realization spiritual traditions. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Welcome everybody. I thought instead of giving a dharma talk tonight, I would hold a discussion about the role and nature of a student in this tradition. We had a really lovely time this afternoon reading from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and Longchenpa.

The particular text we were reading reminded me that in the ancient scriptures of the Indian tantras there are many lists of what qualifications a good teacher should have, and what qualifications a good student should have. And of course they have certain characteristics, usually highly idealized. I was joking around about these lists of the qualities that teachers and students should have—all of them would need to be totally enlightened to manifest all of those qualities. In which case you wouldn’t need a teacher!

For the benefit of people who are new, the main tradition that I teach in is called Trika Shaivism. It’s a tradition from North India. It’s one of several traditions that are called direct realization traditions. In these traditions, the idea is that you work with a teacher. You get some practices like mantra, meditation, and other things. These help you to directly perceive through you own senses and mind the real nature of reality, your own essence nature. And then be able to just relax and rest in that.

In these traditions the relationship between the teacher and the student is one of the main practices, if not the main practice. Learning how to deal with the teacher helps you to learn how to deal with other people. That’s the most concrete level.

And I wanted to throw it open to you all: What do you feel are the qualifications of a student in this tradition?


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.