The importance of the restrictions and requirements that accompany ritual practice in Tibetan Buddhism cannot readily be explained on the rational level.
Insight depends on direct realization, which cannot be quickly conveyed or bestowed by someone else. That is one reason for the requirement that a person seeking initiation must first complete the preliminary practices.
This preparation helps instill respect for the significance of initiation, which passes on teachings central to the lineage of awakening.
Although Westerners sometimes seem to believe that their situation is exceptional, and that this implies that traditional ways of following the Dharma do not apply to them, the formal safeguards have a purpose.
Both students and teachers should consider this purpose very carefully before deciding to set these safeguards aside.
Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Mind over Matter
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