The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
At the request of many international dharma students at the 2004 Kagyu Monlam Chenmo in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the XVIIth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, gave six teachings on Je Gampopa's classic text The Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
There are many reasons why we should rely on a spiritual friend; in particular we can look to both scriptures and logic for reasons. In the Prajnaparamita Sutras, the Bhagavan Buddha said that a spiritual friend is like a guide who can show us an unknown path or a boatman who can help us cross the water. Common sense tells us that a spiritual friend, the same as a guide on a journey, should know more than we do. If someone knows less than us we can't ask them things we need to know and they can't tell us anything we don't already know. Because of this a spiritual friend cannot be someone who knows less than you. It cannot be someone who knows as much as you either, in this case we would probably know what they know and he or she would know what we knew and our knowledge would not improve because of them. The individual we need as a spiritual friend obviously has to know more than us, then we can gain knowledge from them.