When Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, a venerable bodhisattva renounced samsara under the guidance of Bhikshu Mahanaman, one of the Buddha’s five earliest disciples. Later, when this bodhisattva met Bhikshu Mahanaman together with the Buddha, he first prostrated before his teacher before prostrating before Shakyamuni Buddha. Upon seeing this, the Buddha commended him profusely and said, “Your action was most appropriate! One should always first pay homage to the teacher from whom he has first received the blessing of the Dharma.” Although Bhikshu Mahanaman’s wisdom and virtue certainly did not match those of the Buddha, the Buddha specifically said this to remind everyone to never forget the kindness of his or her guru.
— H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche