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A guru ("teacher") is a person who teaches the dhamma.

Traditionally, the relationship between a guru and a disciple was an intimate, secretive, and exclusive one, and the profession of the guru was associated with great privilege.

The Buddha did not follow this tradition. He laid open all his knowledge of the dhamma and was opposed to any esotericism and secrecy [Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, II.25].

Today the knowledge and the instructions of the Buddha are freely accessible to anyone who is looking for them. The role of the guru should be that of a friendly advisor and not a person of authority. If there is any authority involved, it should be based on competence and not on appointment.

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