Advice to Pemako Teachers and Instructors
I'd like to offer you some advice for your dharma teaching activities. These are few simple advices that come from my years of teaching. They describe in brief how a good teacher should be. However, as no one is perfect it is expected that sometimes you make mistakes. That is OK as long as you're learning from them.
I wish that you excel as teachers and benefit many beings by teaching them the dharma of the buddhas and mahasiddhas.
Your job is to teach the dharma. Let people know that this is all you are expected to do as a dharma teacher. That's all. At the same time, you should be yourself in doing this and not change yourself in whatever way when teaching. Be yourself and find your own way. Encourage others to do the same.
Dharma teachers are not entertainers or comedians, even if events are enjoyable and a lot of fun. Don't forget why you and the participants are there. You are not there to make jokes or to keep people entertained.
Your job is to teach the dharma in the form of explanations and taught practices that can help the participants to remove their self-delusion. This is the sole purpose of dharma.
Be honest about your own lack of understanding and personal difficulties in practice. Don't give the impression that your knowledge is perfect and that you wouldn't have problems like everyone else in samsara, unless you have attained buddhahood and no longer have these issues. If you don't know something, be honest about it and admit it. It feels good to say, ”I don't know” because that is an expression of truth. People will feel that honesty and there will be healthy honest foundation to your relationship. If you start making fairytales, that is a severe problem for both teachers and practitioners. Reality is expressed through truthful action, delusion as lies that don't fit or make sense.
Remain open and understanding to people's issues and problems. People come to you because they expect that you could help them through dharma. Understand that this is a leap of faith on their part. Handle that leap of faith with integrity and respect.
Remain open and vulnerable, even if you had anxiety and had to use coping strategies. Be understanding on yourself for still being unfinished in your own training. Again, remember why you are there and what is it that you are to accomplish.
Don't try to impress people with complex theories, foreign terms or by name dropping. If people don't understand you and yet you keep bombarding them with verbal acrobatics that only you can understand, they will want to turn away from dharma. Teaching dharma means serving people by helping them understand themselves. You cannot accomplish that if you create distance between people and the teaching by making it too complex and not understandable. First and foremost, Pemako teachers need to teach from their own firsthand experience, not from books or hearsay. The teaching is not difficult.
Focus on what is most important in dharma: emptiness realisation. There are all kinds of out-of-this-world miracles and displays of miraculous powers in the legends of yogis but all these, whether they are real or not, are inferior to emptiness realisation. Don't lead people astray by telling them about miraculous stories. There is no greater miracle than to remove self-delusion of a samsaric being.
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