If we want to make progress on the Buddhist path it is essential to find a qualified Buddhist teacher (lama).
For 2,500 years Buddhist masters have attained realization through receiving the teachings directly from qualified Buddhist teachers, clarifying their meaning and meditating on them.
If we follow their example and practice diligently under the guidance of qualified teachers, then we can attain the same states of realization.
The Role of the Teacher or Lama
A teacher (guru or lama) is someone who bestows upon us the precious means for obtaining enlightenment. These means consist of the vows, initiations, reading transmissions and instructions which constitute the full range of Buddhist teachings.
Qualified Buddhist teachers or lamas are extensively accomplished in the advanced textual teachings and vajrayana meditation practices. The teacher must have been given permission by his own master to bestow these upon students.
Lama Jampa Thaye
In Dechen the main teacher is Lama Jampa Thaye, a renowned scholar and meditation master of the Sakya and Karma Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Lama Jampa is authorized as a Buddhist master by the heads of both the Sakya and the Karma-Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is qualified to teach all levels of Buddhism, including the highest teachings of the Vajrayana.
He received and practiced innumerable teachings from his lamas, including his principal teachers, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and Karma Thinley Rinpoche.
As a westerner, Lama Jampa is uniquely placed to guide other westerners in becoming established in Buddhist systems of meditation and contemplation.