Here is a small section of Rinpoche's teaching on youtube - Guru Devotion. This is a topic that I find presses some of my alarm buttons, but in what follows, I find a great deal of logic for why submitting to the Guru should not be so alien and threatening - especially to a Westener - as if first seems.
When we submit to the Lama, it is not to lose our freedom; it is to gain full freedom. Why? Through the practice of Dharma and Enlightenment, you gain full freedom, not just money, not just long life, not just protection from obstacles; you gain full freedom. You gain control of where you go and what you do and your rebirth and how your benefit. You gain full benefit. So, if your next rebirth you want to have money, you will be born into money. You will be born where you want to – you gain full control. That’s why we submit to the Lama. Just like we submit to school, training, for our teachers, to our parents – that’s the whole reason – to our counsellors, to our psychiatrist, to our doctors – we all submit. We’re always submitting. There’s nothing new to submit, only now it’s a person that’s helping us on the ultimate highest level, we are submitting. We submit to our doctors to invade our bodies; we have one body - if he messes up we are finished. We submit to our beautician; one wrong jab and some muscles will never move again. We submit to our teachers, we submit to our wives and husbands, we submit to our children. Heck, some of us even submit to our dogs and cats, where our lives are controlled by our dogs and cats. Controlled. We can’t do this, we can’t serve the Guru, we can’t go here, we can’t do anything because we’re completely controlled by our pets. We put ourselves in that situation – purposely or not, I don’t know. We always are submitting to others. Now it’s nothing new to submit to our Guru, nothing new. Why? It’s for a much higher purpose. Much higher. Much, much higher purpose.
Great to see you here. This is a good topic, always fascinating and beautiful to consider.
Yes, this is quite a difficult subject for most modern people to comprehend - this sense of devotion and submission feels quite alien. Actually, like Joey pointed out, we already have devotion to a lot of things. We are so devoted to our husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends, we are get devotion to our gym trainers and doctors and lawyers, we totally put our lives in the hands of the doctors, who cut us up and invade our bodies. We allow ourselves to develop this huge devotion and submit to things that bring us so little benefit in the long run and which, in some cases, even damage us! So logically, it doesn't make much sense that we are so afraid of being devoted to a teacher.
It is, however, important that we check a teacher fully first before we take him as our teacher (in the same way we thoroughly check the reputation of our doctors, teachers at university, lawyers, therapists etc etc). We should be firm in our conviction that this teacher is right for us and we can follow his teachings all the way. We believe that he will bring us enlightenment! If we don't check properly, and we change our minds halfway, or we're wishy-washy about following his instructions and teachings to us, then the only person who loses out is ourselves because then, we allow ourselves to forever change our minds, and we end up nowhere.
Anyway, Rinpoche has given many, many extensive teachings on Guru Devotion and the relationship we have, as modern spiritual practitioners, with a Guru. It's very logical and we can see clearly by these how beneficial it is for us to go all the way with our teachings.
Rinpoche has published a book on this: Gurus for Hire, Enlightenment for Sale http://www.kechara.com/publications/publications/tsem-tulku-series/gurus-for-hire-enlightenment-for-sale/
Also, the original teachings that Rinpoche gave on this subject (a 16 part teaching):
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHLkcamyPxc