Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Department

Philosophy and Religion

Abstract

This article explores the relationships of non-Tibetan American disciples with Tibetan spiritual teachers (lamas) in terms of theory, practice, and experiential meaning. Contrary to some previous studies, data for this article indicate that submission to the lama is not an end in itself, but rather ideally provides an opportunity for disciples to become lamas themselves. Many disciples may find personal empowerment, oriented around the theme of compassionate social action. Understanding that surrender to the spiritual teacher is only a means to a personally empowering goal clarifies our understanding of many Asian religious practices in the West.

Publication Title

Journal of Contemporary Religion

Volume

19

Issue

2

First Page

137

Last Page

153

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