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Are you a student?

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited May 2015 in Philosophy

When we go to school or are with a learning environment such as a cushion, temple, retreat or sangha inspired forum, what do we learn?
A little more than the ostensible aims and subject matter. A little more than information.

It is the secondary capacity of the learning experience that is based on our processing and digesting that is often important.

So for example my teacher rarely talked about spirituality. It was something he embodied not something that was just information presentation.

To me 'beginners mind' is about this perpetual capacity to be a student, to learn, to expand awareness and potential. To share and celebrate rather than assume we have only to expand our little personal wheel. What? Another dig at the Hinayana? Tsk tsk, when will we ever learn not to be so serious ... o:)



  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Are you a student ?"

    Yes, a life long one, I'm enrolled at the University of Life, for life....

    Professor, teacher, student, dunce, head boy, head girl, genius, village idiot, school dux ...The way I see it, is at times we can all be the finger pointing at the moon but if ones focus remains too long upon the finger they could miss the opportunity to learn...

    I learn something 'new' everyday (be it about my self or others) and more often than not,( where and when possible) I put what's been learnt into practice...There's no time like the there 'now'....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    If I have any major attachments in life, it is that of the identity as a student.
    My grandma used to always tell me, "What do you need all those books for? Everything you need to know is within you."
    She was a very simple woman and believed in living life, not reading about how to do it. I used to think she was crazy. I'm not so sure anymore.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks gals/guys, B)

    I feel the importance of teachers always assumes we are able to learn, ready to learn, prepared to learn. Often we are just keen to join an institutional hierarchy, too lazy to digest the food and nutrition of wisdom in books and modern media. We expect a teacher to lead us to a cushion, sit with us, interpret our arisings, entertain us with wisdom and lectures.

    Of course no one here is like that, would not presume to expound about experiences that expose ignorance rather than knowledge ... but then ignorance can teach us many things ...

    As someone who is pleased to be a Hinayanist Buddhist, I feel my first responsibility is to my own education. I must engage my 'beginner/student/study mind'.

    This is why I aspire to be a student of the Mahayana Life. Maybe the labels are too tight. ;)

    Sometimes we learn from those willing to show us a way without confines of dharma, life, mind, heart, spiritual, religion etc. That would be a good lesson ... <3

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The challenge I often find within myself is to avoid bringing an already-full cup to the table....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.
    Some people display all the academic credentials but can't function properly in daily life.
    They know, but they did not learn.

    Wisdom is the ability to transmute, digest, as you said, lobster, all the things one has learned -and learns... it never ends- to lead a functional life, and hopefully help others along the way, for the price of one.
    Knowledge makes sparkling conversation in certain Buddhist forums, all that sutra bashing, but wisdom is that minimal zen exchange that actually helps others see.

    @DhammaDragon, I once read something along these lines, which rings true ....

    Knowledge is the firewood collected and wisdom is the match to 'light' it....

    Some people go about collecting heaps of firewood enough to burn and keep them warm throughout the cold winter's night, but if they fail to find the matches, they are left with a heap of useless firewood...

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    One cannot "have" Mahayana without also working on oneself. I think there is more of a focus there of working on both at the same time, or, of working on oneself as you work with others. Obviously, if we had it all perfect, we wouldn't be here anymore, lol. So while I totally agree that one has to take care of ones own stuff before they can help others do the same, I think the helping others is a good way to work on your own stuff, too. As long as you can be skillful in knowing how and when to do so, and when you need to put down the work of others to work on yourself. Sort of a "if you wait until the perfect time, it'll never come" because we are a constant work in progress.

    I find it unfortunate there is an aire of negativity surrounding people comparing different paths. There is a suggestion that Theravadins only care about themselves, which of course isn't true. But then there is sometimes a suggest from them that Mahayana practitioners hide behind others and don't take care of their stuff. And then suggestions that Vajarayana is a waste of time or silly or whatever. Why can't people just be glad for that path they are on, respect the different paths of others without comparing? Comparison is the thief of joy. I love that quote so much. It is true in everything. I'm not saying anyone here right now is making those comparisons. But I have seen them suggested here and elsewhere many times.

    We (humans) like to understand. But sometimes we take it too far. We demand that someone explain their difference to us so that we can claim to understand them. We blame them for not adequately explaining their beliefs or views rather than accepting that they don't have to explain themselves and we can just accept them for who, and how, they are no matter what. At what point is trying to understand just another ego trip that solidifies us in our own perceptions and beliefs?

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Am I a student?

    I try to be. I imagine a difficult one at times, hahaha.
    I cuss alot, but try to never embarass my Teacher or the establishment.

    AFA people around me...I try to be. Some days I learn so much my feels like it should explode...other days I feel like an infant.

    I still have the thirst/determination/diligence to I'm going with yes...I am a student.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    On a good day I can remember to empty my cup...

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited May 2015
    Different people need different teachings at different times.

    If the wheel fits, let it roll.

    If I ever lose my beginners mind it will be time to begin again.

    I will always be a student as long as there is experience.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @ourself said:
    If I ever lose my beginners mind it will be time to begin again.

    Exactly so.

    Thanks guys.

    As we know 'Beginners Mind' as opposed to the 'cup overflowing mind' of the terminally Dharma Adept that @Will_Baker alludes to, needs to be maintained or should that be unmaintained ...

    Have Mind, will erase opinions for Dharma

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 2015

    I would say a mahayana teacher is not fooled by samsara. The structure of the arisings is still apparent. Things (appearances) arise with a fine structure via dependent origination. But from the point of awakening arisings are not grasped to as in the 12 links/nidanas. The realization of the Bodhisattva is that we cannot attain a state of peace while turning our backs on suffering beings.

    I'm not convinced that the mahayana is saying what other schools are NOT doing. Rather I think they are more interested in what they themselves ARE doing.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Good post @Jeffrey, we do I feel appreciate the wealth of the three jewels that are the potential of:

    Buddha - the ideal
    Sangha - the example
    Dharma - the interaction

    In the simplest form they are external and separate and increasingly internalised.

    In other words the Hinayana is the form with a Mahayana center and the Mahayana are centered around the internal Hinayana.

    :) They are the same Muggle to Middle Way. B)

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