People degenerate by relying on those inferior to themselves;
By relying on equals, they stay the same;
By relying on those superior, they attain excellence;
Thus rely on those who are superior to yourself.
If you rely on whomever is superior – thoroughly pacified
And endowed with ethical discipline
And exceeding wisdom –
You will become superior even to those who are superior.
– Sakyamuni Buddha, Verses About Friends (Mitra-varga)
… those who achieve their own livelihood by praising or explaining the good qualities of the [Dharma] trainings, while not striving diligently to practice them, are not suitable to be teachers. That sort of meaningless praise is only words. It is similar to when someone who diligently seeks sandalwood asks one who makes a living by explaining the good qualities of sandalwood…
As the King Of Concentration Sutra states: “In later times [of the Dharma Ending Age] there will be many monastics [and lay teachers] without [moral] vows. Wanting to say, ‘I am learned,’ they will praise ethical discipline, but will not strive diligently at their own ethical discipline [through the precepts]… Some people express the good qualities of sandalwood, saying, ‘Sandalwood is like this. It is the pleasant aspect of incense.’
Then some other people might ask them, ‘Do you possess a bit of that sandalwood which you so praise?’ They then reply, ‘I do not have the incense that I praise to gain my livelihood.’ Just so, in later times there will arise monastics [and lay teachers] who do not strive at meditative practices, and make a living by praising ethical discipline. They will have no ethical discipline.”
The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment Volume 1
(Lam Rim Chen Mo)
The Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee
Joshua W.C. Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, Guy Newland, Editor