THE BIRTH OF THE LION -PART II- TEACHER AND STUDENT IN THE TEACHING OF NO-TEACHING
Abridged Version (24 % of the integral text)
How do you define a spiritual teacher? Is there a difference between a teacher and a master?
This is merely a question of terminology. I lean towards the terminology Poonjaji used, which is that of teacher and priest. According to that terminology, a true teacher essentially has nothing to teach. Teachers who declare themselves true teachers but who teach concepts, Poonjaji called preachers.
There are many teachers, I would say almost all, who teach on diverse levels of understanding and, as long as they “teach,” I would also call them preachers. They can be teachers that teach in different traditions, they can be teachers that don’t teach traditionally, they can be therapists; it doesn’t matter. There is no general rule about it. By some very good luck, I personally happened to meet a teacher through whom the final knowing was transmitted. Teachers through whom the final knowing is transmitted are as rare as a needle in a haystack. It doesn’t matter whether a teacher claims to be enlightened or not. People who claim to be enlightened are not enlightened anyway, and people who don’t claim to be enlightened, aren’t either.
A preacher teaches concepts; a true teacher empties concepts.
A teacher whose teaching is beyond concepts can, of course, teach within concepts temporarily in order to deal with the student’s limited level of understanding. Temporarily. The teacher always works with the student on the student’s level of understanding. Concepts can be useful to temporarily satisfy the thinking mind and then lead it to the next higher level. Don’t imagine however, that any level of concept is the ultimate level of knowing.
So, only somebody who has realized the ultimate truth can distinguish a preacher from a true teacher?
For the thinking mind, there is no ultimate possibility of distinguishing because the thinking mind can only see, think, and understand within its own system, its own framework of understanding. Anyway, the question of how to distinguish a true teacher from a false teacher is a question of the thinking mind and therefore theoretical.
When an authentic longing reaches the degree where it exceeds other longings and desires, this authentic longing will find its way to a teacher. So-called false teachers, or preachers, fulfill a perfect purpose at a limited level of recognition, an understanding that still mostly occurs on a reflective level within the structures of the thinking mind.
Can you describe what such a reflection looks like from your own life, for instance with earlier teachers?
Earlier in my life, I was not seeking freedom. I was seeking some distorted kind of power or magic, and this search manifested a teacher who worked equally with these powers. A teacher who, through his own false understanding, identified with powers, and who worked a lot with the misuse of power. Use and misuse are ultimately the same. I could go so far as to say that in reality there is no misuse of power, but in any case, it became very clear that this teacher was a reflection of the shadow of my own mind, mirrored by this relationship, and in that recognition was the possibility of going deeper.
Everybody finds the perfect teacher because what appears as the teacher is nothing but a reflection of the seeker’s level of understanding. It is a natural law that for each thinking mind, the teacher manifests in a form that in that moment is adequate and necessary to reach a certain level of understanding. If one looks at it this way, then it’s obvious that the whole question is theoretical and the search for the ideal teacher, the true teacher, is unnecessary. It is not possible to find the teacher by means of the thinking mind, but naturally and perfectly, the seeker always finds the teacher who is teaching on a level that in that moment is accessible to the student’s mind and corresponds to their prevailing level of purity. Or to put it another way, a level that corresponds to the seeker’s level of arrogance.