I have been perusing the YouTube videos of a few spiritual teachers popular with what I call the “Sounds True Crowd.” Sounds True is a publisher of both established spiritual teachers from the great historic traditions and, frankly, some pretty crazy and irresponsible “authorities” who are rather lacking in credibility and credential. On the one hand, they publish and interview legitimate Buddhist and Hindu teachers – but on the other they publish and interview teachers and so-called medical authorities who have been discredited and dismissed by their jurisdictions and accrediting bodies. In short, if someone is popular Sounds True will publish them to turn a dollar.
One thing I have noticed about spiritual teachers, especially those who claim to be fully enlightened at a relatively early age, is that they are really quite vague when asked about with who they studied. Often their claims cannot be verified because they people they claim to have studied with have passed away. Even more disturbing is the trend to talk in vagaries and gibberish. They may use a lot of words but say nothing at all, then when challenged to explain what they are saying they often tell the questioner that when they are enlightened they will understand. It’s the old smoke and mirrors strategy of the prosperity gospel – if you haven’t gotten rich, it’s because you don’t have enough faith rather than because the system just doesn’t work.
Legitimate teachers have legitimate, verifiable training and operate in a lineage or tradition that is also verifiable. There will be evidence that they engaged in an appropriate course of study, even if their instructors have passed away. While we all have our little eccentricities, if a teacher seems to be psychologically disturbed it’s a pretty good sign they aren’t enlightened regardless of what their publisher says! Let the buyer beware!