"Authority means influence and power. So where does spiritual authority come from? Can a teacher give spiritual authority to their successors? Not on your life. You can spiritually empower a successor, but you can't give them spiritual authority. There is only one person who can grant spiritual authority to the teacher, new or old, and that is the student. Most students, when they begin to study with a teacher, don't realize that they're granting spiritual authority. But it is critically important to know when you are extending such authority. Otherwise you can unknowingly get seduced into giving away your power. Real teachers won't accept your power. This Dharma is about your empowerment, not about giving your power away. In Zen, we have teachers who can point the way. They don't tell you how to live your life. That choice only you can make."
Source: A Rare And Precious Thing
Contributed by: Bird