Teachers and Simplicity

There were 2 things that really stood out to me in the reading this week. The first being who teachers are, and Buddha’s teachings.

Buddha taught that all people in all places are teachers that can help you achieve enlightenment. I like this belief, because it doesn’t restrict learning from one or only several sources, but allows a wide variety of knowledge to be drawn from. With this, it also implies that you are also your own teacher. You are able to learn for yourself if put into the right circumstances. Buddha helped put the woman with the deceased child in the right circumstances to learn and accept that death is a part of being human. He didn’t force her to learn this, he simply pointed her in the right direction so she learned it herself, which is an extraordinary way of teaching.

Another radical thing that I learned is that during its formation Buddhism broke a lot of social norms for its time. People of the lower caste were preached to, which is not something that was done, because the higher, religious caste took care of their spirituality for them. The lowest caste members weren’t even allowed to proclaim in beliefs of the caste religion. However, Buddha made no such distinctions that the caste system did, and taught to all, and taught that all can obtain enlightenment.

In addition, Buddha also allowed women to be laypeople and even nuns. This was revolutionary because women at that time and place were viewed as lustful and a distraction to religious achievements. Buddha again saw no distinctions such as male and female in regards to who he taught and was capable of enlightenment.

I find this to be a great precedent. EVERYONE is worthy of being taught. EVERYONE is capable of enlightenment.

The stories of Buddha’s teachings all had 1 thing in common: they were so simple, yet so profound, that nearly everyone who listened to them wanted to be his follower. It happened time and time and time again until he had thousands of followers. I think it is important to retain that simple teaching. Streamline it, really deconstruct it to the bare-bones. This way the teachings are like a skeleton, and the meaning they apply is like the meat on the bones. After that, they will want to hear more from those that are teaching them.

Nuggets from this week’s reading:

  • Everyone’s a teacher, everyone’s a student
  • You teach you
  • Enlighten everything