Discussion list denizen Matthew Files made known to us this interview with a lama whose tradition is notorious for guru abuses. In it, H.H. the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa tries to walk the razor's edge between acknowledging that the "actual guru," – your own enlightenment – is already in us all, and keeping his own position important enough to keep himself in business:
In Vajrayana we always say that the guru has to be seen as a Buddha. Again, this is not cultural, it should be seen in a universal way. It means that, in terms of helping us realize our Buddha nature, the guru is as kind to us as the Buddha himself.That's just a wee bit pollyannaish, don't you think? His Holiness obviously doesn't read the newspapers (or this blog) much.
But he does a fairly good job justifying his own existence in this era of "be your own guru," to a fault, if you asked us:
People complain about masters, and decide they don’t need one and can practice by themselves because the Buddha nature is within them anyway. Unfortunately, it will never work.Fortunately, he's dead dog wrong here. That's not to say that a good guru isn't a wonderful blessing to a sincere spiritual aspirant, but it's equally true that a sincere spiritual aspirant can be blessed to meet the guru within completely outside the influence of anyone who considers themselves a guru without.