I've been reading about teachers. About the recent hisory of Buddhism in the West. About Europeans and Americans who travelled to Japan and India to find a practice and a teacher. About the challenges ethnic Buddhist teachers have when their pupils are from the West, especially when they themselves move to the West. And about the challenges Western teachers have introducing Dharma, apparently flavored by its Eastern roots, to their own cultures.
One thing is very striking: all these stories I have read about those who are searching for a practice illustrate individuals who have expectations. Expectations to themselves and the practice, certainly --- but most especially: expectations regarding their teachers. I've seen it here at the monastery, too. An expectation that the teacher is "perfect" or somehow, that because he/she has woken up to Buddha's way and is "enlightened," that no mistakes can be made, that everything is totally clear. And, after all, "perfect" is based on our own judgements and ideas --- there is no perfect! And our teachers have their own karmas, our teachers continuously examine their lives.
What also is striking is how Western students seem to disregard the fact that a teacher or master is in the direct line of buddhas. That they actually actualize this with every breath. While challenging a teacher, which of course there is precedence for, some students approach their teachers without humility, without having given themselves to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They argue and disagree with the teacher on the basis of intellectual concepts and ideas, without examining these in true practice and attach egoistic tags to non-egoistic practices of compassion, wisdom, meditation.