Friday, October 9, 2020

How to teach others (Ajahn Chah)

Ajahn Chah ( via Ven. Sujato, Ellie Askew, Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
If we teach people but they can’t practice properly, we shouldn’t be getting angry with them. Don’t do that. Don’t criticize them. Rather, keep on instructing them and leading them along.
Whenever their faculties have ripened sufficiently, then they will want to do it.
It's just like when we are selling medicine; we just keep on doing our business. When people have ailments that trouble them, they'll come buy. Those who don’t see a need to buy medicine probably aren’t suffering from any such conditions. So never mind.
Keeping at it with this attitude, these problems will be done with. There were such situations in the Buddha’s time, too. We want to do it right, but somehow we can’t get there yet. Our own faculties are insufficiently mature. Our perfections (pāramī) are incomplete.
It’s like fruit that’s still growing on the tree. We can’t force it to be sweet: It’s still unripe, it’s small and sour, simply because it hasn’t finished growing. We can’t force it to be bigger, to be sweet, to be mature: We have to let it ripen according to its nature.
As time passes and things change, people may come to spiritual maturity. As time passes the fruits [of their practice] will grow, mature, and sweeten of their own accord.
With such an attitude we can be at ease. But if we are impatient and dissatisfied, we'll keep asking: "Why isn’t this mango sweet yet? Why is it sour?" It’s still sour because it’s not yet ripe. That’s the nature of fruit.
People in the world are like that. It makes me think of the Buddha’s teaching about the four kinds of lotus.
  1. Some are still in the mud.
  2. Some have grown out of the mud but are still under the water.
  3. Some are at the surface of the water.
  4. Some have risen above the water and blossomed.
The Buddha was able to give his teachings, the Dharma, to so many various kinds of beings because he understood their different capacities and levels of spiritual development.
We should think about this and not feel oppressed by what happens here. We can just consider ourselves to be like someone selling medicine. Our responsibility is to advertise it and make it available. If someone gets sick, they are likely to come and buy it.

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