Dharma Teachers (Dharmacharyas) are members of the Core Community of the Order of Interbeing who have been selected as teachers based on their stability in the practice and ability to lead a happy life. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), like every other teacher, must have students who continue his work, since Thay cannot be in all the places that request the teachings. When Thay and the sangha sees that someone is ready to teach the Dharma not only in words but also through their actions, that person is officially authorized by Thay in a Lamp Transmission ceremony. Usually a monk or a nun has to have been ordained for at least eight years before being considered as a candidate for Lamp Transmission and a lay candidate needs to have been practicing successfully in the lay Order of Interbeing for many years.
The official Lamp Transmission ceremony is only the beginning for the Dharma Teacher. After the Transmission he or she continues to train in the Plum Village tradition by attending retreats at Plum Village monastic centres as well as by leading her own retreats and building her own sangha. The Dharma Teacher’s role is to inspire joy and diligence in the local sanghas. Local sanghas are encouraged to suggest potential Dharmacharyas.