October 3, 2009

Teaching Imperfections

A post by Brad Warner touches on the notion of imperfect teachers, including his experiences with his own teacher.
I guess it had to do with trust. I knew the old man wouldn’t steer me wrong. By then I knew full well he was no saint. I saw the old man’s students bickering with each other. I saw the old man himself do things I didn’t entirely approve of. I heard him express opinions I could not agree with. I was there when he burped and when he farted. I knew he sometimes – gasp! — fell asleep on his cushion during early morning zazen.

But I trusted him. I knew that whatever else he did, he always told me the truth. And that’s what counted. I knew him more than as a teacher. I knew him as a friend.

On the Dangerous Harvests blog, Nathan expounds on these thoughts with some of his own experience. I’ve touched on this topic before, and it’s one that’s important to reflect on in any and all Buddhist groups. Odds are that our teachers are not perfect, most especially if they claim to be. So how do we practice with imperfect teachers? If you do your due diligence, you’ll find that there are already a good many answers out there.

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