According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the student must have complete trust in the teacher (the "dangerous friend") if he or she is to achieve any understanding. It is the teacher's responsibility to uphold the integrity of the tradition, the basis of which is compassion for all beings, by transmitting it properly to an appropriate student. Likewise, it is the student's responsibility to meet the challenge of carrying on the lineage of teachings. By entering such a relationship, both teacher and student accept the burden of protecting those teachings by understanding them completely and correctly, by practicing them fully and faultlessly, and by transmitting them without omission.
Dangerous Friend includes discussions of the following topics:
- Meeting and recognizing an appropriate teacher.
- Understanding the gravity of entering the teacher-student relationship.
- Shifting one's approach from spiritual materialism to genuine Buddhist practice.
- Accepting the challenge of being truly kind, honest, and courageous.