Author Topic: How do teachers become teachers?  (Read 604 times)

Offline Edo Karura

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
How do teachers become teachers?
« on: October 03, 2016, 04:50:01 am »
So, how do Buddhist teachers become teachers?  If they're not monastics how do they attain their positions?  Are there training programs that they go through?  There are so many out there that I sometimes wonder if all you need to become one is a computer and and internet connection.


Offline zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 278
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
Re: How do teachers become teachers?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 11:07:49 am »
Hi Karura,

There are probably as many different ways to become a teacher as there are schools and lineages in Buddhism (lots).

In Zen people are authorized to teach by a senior teacher when they are deemed sufficiently trained and mature in the practice. Here's something I just read which gives an outline of how this takes place in one school of Zen --

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2016/10/five-styles-for-authorizing-soto-zen-priests-in-north-america.html
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: How do teachers become teachers?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 02:17:01 am »
The Diamond Sutra kind of explains how teachers become teachers, but of course the problem is always how do you tell the great teachers from the ordinary, and from the charlatans? The easiest is to follow the lineage, especially for something like Zen. For the beginner, I'd read around a lot before trying some teacher out- get some basic ideas of what is going on, in terms of practice and the sort of language you'll be bombarded with. The more experienced of us will be able to see through anyone just blindly spouting something they have read about, or if they have deluded themselves into thinking that they have gained enlightenment and can therefore teach.

Unfortunately there are not to many great teachers out there. They may be authentic, but if they are spread out too thinly, they aren't much use to the vast majority of us. I think a place like this forum is good for getting a wide range of views and connecting with a lot of people who are trying to find their own way  forward through the confusion.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4455
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: How do teachers become teachers?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 08:35:49 am »
Quote
Edo Karura asked:  "So, how do Buddhist teachers become teachers?  If they're not monastics how do they attain their positions?  Are there training programs that they go through?  There are so many out there that I sometimes wonder if all you need to become one is a computer and and internet connection."


So, Buddha, while in Tusita heaven was asked to teach The Devas under the rule of a great Brahma, and later when duly impressed with Buddha's command of The Dhamma, Buddha was asked to be reborn in The Human Realm to teach us humans.  That is probably the best way to be asked to teach.  Yet, the only Brahma's I have ever seen were bulls at rodeos.  Personally never met either kind, though.

Teacher of the Devashttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html

Buddha asked his followers, Bhikkhus to teach villagers in exchange for their single daily meal placed into their single wooden bowl that they carried during their daily alms rounds.

Alms Rounds:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.08.than.html

Buddha and other attained Bhikkhus, those who achieved Arahant, where often asked to teach by local kings, and leaders of communities.  Sometimes those who were in need of assistance went to The Buddha himself and asked for him to help.  During these times Buddha responded with life-changing lessons in The Dhamma.  Here are three such examples, which are my favorites:

Kalama Sutta:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html

Angulimala Sutta:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html

Skinny Gotami & the Mustard Seedhttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/noncanon/comy/thiga-10-01-ao0.html

In some traditions, mostly Mahayana traditions,  it is not necessary to become a Buddha, or an Arahant in order to teach.  Monks and sisters are first "ordained" and then teach.  In communities like ours, both online, and brick and mortar, practitioners share what they have learned from study and from experience. 

So, as you can see, there are many ways which can lead to becoming a teacher.  My favorite way of teaching I learned as a parent, where I learned it is best to teach by example.   Your children then teach you by their accomplishments and behavior whether or not you are a competent  teacher  :r4wheel:
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 12:52:15 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal