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Thread: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Hi folks,

    Well...Thanks to Brad you end up with a real question to wrestle with! This all controversy about Zen or not Zen on the internet is a real opportunity to check if we really grasp what the nature of the teacher and the teachings really are...Apparently a few of you are still a bit lost in fantasy land waiting for Master Yoda to appear, be close to you and guide you in the flesh. As Martin puts it so wisely'

    Sometimes what matters is the connection, not how it's made.
    We are not living in the past anymore, hermitages and old monasteries have all vanished but a few. The form of the teacher is more than ever irrelevant. The media is now, more than ever, irrevelant. They come in all shapes and forms, gently spoken with a beard, cuddly and round, thin and sharp, black and white, punck rock with a guitar, shaved and robed, women, men, japanese or not...But what is important?! I shall make it really clear in my next vid. But please, have a shot...What is a teacher? What is the essence of the teachings? And how can this not be transmited here and now through this media?

    Keishin writes'

    Brad Warner insists Zen can't be taught on the net.

    and it can't.


    other people say he is wrong.

    prove it.
    The proof is just there in front of your eyes and in your heart-mind. And in the pudding. It happens everyday on Treeleaf. Now if you call Zen a Japanese form than you want to copy and imitate like the guys in France totally immersed in the Nippon trip and drunk with Sotoshu, well...No. If you think it has to do with fancy ceremonies, mysterious koans and kung Fu like episodes...no. If you want to sit your butt on a cushion, sew the kesa in the most remote places of this planet, listen to people sharing their experiences and interact with teachers, well...yes. If you want to find the teachers in your life in the form of the people dear to your heart, your peers and collegues, the situations of your life, and your most cherished foes, yes! Yes! Zen takes you to life as an expression of Buddha nature not to another big daddy or mumy that will give you a few sweets or smacks. The quality of the interaction is all that matters. And Jundo is a guy made of flesh and blood, not a virtual hologram.
    The guys that have doubt are great, please invistigate further. This weed is precious. It tells you more about your practice and expectations than anything else, it reveals something you have to work with.

    Come on, bring it on...What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?...

  2. #2

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Hi,

    I recall a Buddhist (from another school) saying that he had only met his teacher once and that was over ten years ago. There are others I know of who wait for years for their teachers to travel from overseas to talk to groups and give empowerments.

    I read Brad Warner's post and thought the content was uncontroversial. The teacher talks about zen, the student practices to gain the experience of it. Whatever the medium (book, video, internet, face-to-face), the teacher is guiding and talking about something that the student has to learn to live and experience for themselves.

    I can be misled by charismatic teachers and teachings that seem reasonable at the time. Like many, I sometimes get caught up in the extras: old books, robes and vestments, bows and genuflects, prayerful gestures, beads, chants and incantations, candles and incense, funny hats (still remember that one Jundo... and Tobiishi's chicken hat!) All religions seem to have those things, evidence of ordinary human nature at work.

    Here I'm learning to see through all that stuff.

    (It's autumn in Japan. Here it's spring.)

    gassho,

    JohnH

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    I have not been around that long to have any understanding of the "history" of this controversy, but even without that understanding I can say that for myself I see no problem with my teacher being thousands of miles away. I can "see" him every day. I can hear and listen to his lessons, and appreciate how "homespun" many of them are. I am grateful for the medium of having this forum whereby we can share our experiences and feelings, getting to know our brother and sister sangha members better.

    In one of the beginner lessons Jundo has archived for us he says something like that when we sit there is no distance of place, space or time. He even made a point to mention that if one picks up the video later, it is just the same as if they saw it realtime. I know that solely in physical terms that may not be so, but in spiritual terms ( which I tend to operate with much better) it makes perfect sense...at least to me; and I am very happy to have found, or to have been found by, this community.

    Gassho,

    Denis

  4. #4

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Hellos to all posting here!

    To tell you the truth, I don't know that Brad insists upon anything

    I was reiterating the title of Chet's thread

    when someone tells you something isn't possible, can't be done
    and you aren't sure, you don't know
    but you think it can be done
    then you prove it
    you don't just think it can be done
    you do it

    at least this is true in my own experience
    and I learn that they were right
    or I learn something else beyond right

    there is no need for discussion or arguments
    proof is self evident


    in gratitude to all teachers of past,present, and future

  5. #5

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Words I read in a book on education. No memory of the title or author, though.
    "A good teacher learns more from her students than she can ever teach."

    A teacher is still learning--once the teacher ceases learning they are incapable of teaching. A teacher is someone who still learns, is still delighted in new things and in old things.

    With learning is frustration. A teachers still makes mistakes. A teacher still feels anger, jealousy, sadness...A teacher says stupid things at wrong moments.

    A true teacher realizes they are still a student. The don't always know the answers, or they say the wrong answer, or forget to raise their hand.

    A teacher realizes their students are their teachers. Even the annoying kid in the back of the class picking his nose has something to teach.

    Someone can call themselves a 'teacher', surround themselves with 'students', and share all the great stuff they know and think they know, but it is just so much air passing through teeth if the teacher is not still learning it over and over again from the faces surrounding him. Learning and teaching isn't linear, but circular, passed back and forth again and again. No beginning, no end.

    To be a teacher you just need a medium to reach students so they can begin teaching back. What difference does it make if it is in person, via a letter, a phone line, an internet connection passing pixels back and forth? Everything is made of atoms, after all. And atoms are just the universe's way of making pixels.

  6. #6

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Apparently a few of you are still a bit lost in fantasy land waiting for Master Yoda to appear, be close to you and guide you in the flesh.


    Here he is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Come on, bring it on...What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?...
    Thats a god one.
    Is there any difference in between?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  7. #7

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    speaking of fairyland, I have the answer to your question!

    mu.




    :P

  8. #8
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankiel
    speaking of fairyland, I have the answer to your question!

    mu.




    :P
    That's clever! Wow, it's gonna take you a very long time before you see the limits of being clever, though.

    Will you ever stop shitting yourself?

    Chet

  9. #9

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?...

    The Buddha and his successors point to something that cannot be understood or explained with words and in a changing world is still and complete in the present moment. Accepting my good and bad karma and sitting morning and evening is how I practice the real nature of the teachers and teaching. Like George Costanza said 'Its a show about nothing'

  10. #10

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?...
    Hi!

    Could seem to simple... but I just see a teacher as someone teaching...

    in this case, it is not only about pure "knowing", about something intellectual... the point is mostly about transmission, could be a book, an oral teaching, or "just" an attitude or an example of conduct.

    When two persons are having a conversation together it could be by letter, could be orally, could be by skype :wink: , ... but it also could be by... silence, or by action.

    it's a bit the same with a teacher, sometimes we need to know more things on a subject, sometimes we just need to speak and he listen, sometimes we think we need this or that... but silently practicing zazen, sewing, eating, feeding his childrens,... he just transmit to us "what is in the moment" and this simple example of conduct suddenly takes sence to us in THIS moment ( cfr: Buddha turning a flower in his hands and Mahakashyapa simply smiling, the action of the buddha being meaningfull to him).
    But a teacher is not only a kind of friend, sometimes we need a metaphorical slap in the face, we need someone to say : "hey guy... take Your life seriously, take your practice seriously, your ..."


    Gassho to everyone,

    Luis
    ps: Of course that's my own view of a teacher ( being one myself I'm of course a bit idealistic), on the other side I'm also a bit to "intelecualistic" on my answers, and on the messy side, my English is often a strange melting-pot...

  11. #11

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Isn't it interesting that we call these discussions "threads"? What are we weaving?

    Perhaps that is the true nature of the teaching: both the threads and the tapestry woven from them.

    The true nature of the teacher? If the tapestry of the teaching is woven from all the threads at Treeleaf, perhaps the teacher is woven from all the threads of every tapestry ever woven intermeshed; the teacher is both the tiny threads we spin ourselves throughout our lives and the great tapestry to which they contribute.

    Gassho,
    Kevin

    By the way, as an aside, I don't think it's by accident that all the old Zen masters were poets instead of essayists. I think art (though it doesn't have to be a poem) is a far better vehicle for conveying the answers to these kinds of questions.

  12. #12

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    To get on my soap box pulpit, teach is just box humans have fabricated into which concepts are stuffed. The box is the wrong shape and excludes aspects of teach. Then again, this is a sentence of malformed and inadequate boxes, but it is the best container I have for sharing concepts. There are infinite teachers and teachings.

    With respect to Buddhism, teaching is the process by which life attempts to seduce us into acknowledgement of original face while recognizing, and dropping, the masks that obscure our view of the Dharma. Buddha gates are boundless, I vow to enter them all.

    This is just my malformed and inadequate box, which I currently labeled "Teach." Ask me again, and you may very well get a different answer.

  13. #13

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    This begs the question, "What is the nature of the student?"
    When the "student" concept disappears, life can teach him/her . . . that's the real deal.
    When the student thinks he/she is studying something, there is a great deal of confusion. Necessary confusion, but confusion nonetheless.

    Teachers guide; life does the actual teaching.

    Gassho,
    Eika


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  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Thank you all,

    Students prove to be remarkable teachers...


    gassho


    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Hi,

    I wanted to say something wise, but i cant.

    In this autumn night

    Here all the leafs have fallen and the winter is coming. Without it its impossible to spring to come.
    All life goes that way. Sometimes i sit in toilet sometimes in my zafu

    Take care

    Gassho

    Jarkko

  16. #16
    ZenPhil
    Guest

    Re: What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?

    Brad is just stirring the pot, which must be done in order to cook a delicious meal.

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