Most of us would agree that we are all teachers to one another, and I certainly agree that this is true.
And not to say that one person has more value than another in terms of being a teacher, but I do believe there are those who are great teachers. A great teacher being someone who offers a powerful clarity to you, in a way that is not only understandable, but appropriate to you and where you are on your path at that time. A great teacher to me may not be a great teacher to you. We are all experiencing this life, but at different places in our journey.
Often I hear people say that a great teacher is one who resonates with them. I would strongly disagree with this for several reasons. When we say something or someone resonates with us, that is an emotion, and one which is based on attachment, passion, and sensuality. This, in turn, often greatly diminishes the value of the teaching itself. A great teaching, like a great teacher, should be a source of illumination for us. Turning on a light bulb to expose a previously dimly lit are of our consciousness so that we may see more clearly on our path. It is not something or someone to grasp and cling to so that we may be carried along.
For me, the Buddha certainly qualifies as a great teacher. While at the same time, I acknowledge the lineage of the mahasangha (greater monastic sangha), and maintain a deep gratitude for all of the teachers whom contributed to bringing this dhamma to me through a journey over two millennia. This great teacher, the Buddha, has cultivated so many other great teachers over the centuries. Bhante Sujatha of the Blue Lotus Temple being a very potent teacher on my path. And in addition, there have been several others like my Mother. My Mother taught me so many powerful lessons, and often I was not ready to hear them or understand. Yet these lessons got absorbed in some way and I later in life found myself having such great benefit from her wisdom.
Often I find that Bhante Sujatha and the other monastics of Blue Lotus offer this same kind of teaching to me. Lessons which may not ring clearly at the time, but later form a foundation for deeper understanding. And like my Mother, they each offer this without condition or expectation.
A great Teacher will never let you down, so long as you understand that they are not yours to posses. They are not there to be followed, worshiped or idolized. A great Teacher is not there to hold your hand and tell you everything will be alright. And like my Mother, all great Teachers will leave you at some point. And if this causes you sadness or suffering to consider, then perhaps you did not understand the lesson.
Blessings my friends.