Traps

Is a Teacher Necessary?

In response to a question regarding issues of a student-teacher situation:

I have been ever so grateful for people like Francis Lucille and others. They don’t reject the term ‘teacher’ as they have benefited from their association with their teachers. Sure, for some, teachers are unnecessary, and in those cases, teachers may feel like crutches you don’t need. If that is the case, it may still be nice listening to them to enjoy their unique expression without seeing yourself as a student. ‘Kill the Buddha when you meet him’ would perhaps represent your point of view.

The opposite ‘See that there is essentially no difference between you and any teacher or anything else’ is the other, equally valid statement. To be on the mission in favor of or against teachers is not on my plate. I don’t mind teachers but heard many in favor of no teachers, starting with J Krishnamurti who was supposed to become the world teacher for the Theosophical Society. I met him several times in the 70’s, and his words were filled with the freedom you are speaking of.

I have one very simple rule of thumb: As long as people identify with a separate person, they may benefit from following pointers that show them that their assumptions are imagined. A good teacher will just do this. Having realized this, there is no need for teachers. Sailor Bob starts his ‘Spiel’ with the statement, that he can’t give anything to anyone, and nothing can be gained from him. This is a statement of a true teacher, and in that statement is a true teaching because it can evoke insight in the listener. A good teacher may pull every support from under the feet of the ‘student.’ Nisargadatta Maharaj was very good at this, for example. Teaching is not necessarily aimed at fueling divisions, but as you have said, it often goes that way. Even if it often goes that way, I can’t claim that I could know that something is right or wrong.

Guilt


Guilt is one of the strong tools for the bonded mind to reinforce bondage as guilt appears to be a virtuous feature, and it is often considered a prerequisite for salvation. As Paul says, guilt (self-blame) goes hand in hand with a need for forgiveness. What a relief to see that salvation is the freedom from selfing, that, among other things, thrives on the activities of blaming and forgiving.

Identification with a tool

To improve skills and to make homes look better is not in opposition to our subject of realizing freedom. Skills are tools, and we can enjoy these skills and improve them without compromising freedom. The identification with a ‘me’ that believes it is not good enough is the problem. You don’t identify with your hammer, and in the same way you don’t identify yourself with any skill, no matter how advanced they are. They are beautiful tools in the hands of the infinite. In fact your hammer will hit the nail more precisely if the identification with the ‘me’ has been dropped by just observing it when it pops up without judgement.

In response to a comment by Gavin.

One could call this a ‘method,’ the most shunned word in the world of advaita. Pausing, facing whatever is perceived could be called ‘the recipe.’ ‘Pausing’ is another word for ‘not doing anything.’ Therefore, the words ‘method’ and ‘recipe’ are inadequate as they usually imply some doing such as favoring, rejecting, changing, achieving, avoiding.