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Talent and fast progress make shitty teachers? (The mini-bodhisattva vow!)

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Sometimes I have difficulty remembering what sensations looked like, and what my relationship was to them, before one path which was pretty simple and spontaneous for me. Similarly, because I experience piti and sukha very easily, even when my concentration is pretty low (as measured for example by the Asanga stages), my way of approaching concentration is relatively non-standard. I imagine that, if I were a teacher, what are cool skills for myself might actually prove to be obstacles to helping others effectively, when they are facing problems which I have overcome easily and with non-standard, not easily reproducible techniques.

On the other hand, my progress is stagnating in many other areas: I imagine that, if and when I overcome these obstacles, I might be pretty good at helping others with what right now are my greatest difficulties.

What do you think of this? What is your experience?

For those of you who "have" MCTB fourth path, is it difficult for you to look back on the dual side of reality to help those that are stuck there? Is it a required skill?

To put it in extreme terms, might it make sense to take a mini-bodhisattva vow? Something like: "For the sake of some beings, I will try not to rush through the jhanas and nanas and paths." Is this silly? Or am I on to something?

- I think that in general people who haven't had difficulties both in life as well as in practice might not make good teachers. People, seekers, often go through hard things in life so a teacher who doesn't have the same or similar battle scars just cannot relate well.

>For those of you who "have" MCTB fourth path, is it difficult for you to look back on the dual side of reality to help those that are stuck there? Is it a required skill? 

- It is not difficult to me. Sometimes when someone is asking a question it's like I first have to understand what the person is saying but then the memory how it has been for me comes back, and from there it is easy to answer. But it's all based on the lived experience, right. I don't think one can be much of a teacher without this ability. Connection needs to be there.

>To put it in extreme terms, might it make sense to take a mini-bodhisattva vow? Something like: "For the sake of some beings, I will try not to rush through the jhanas and nanas and paths." Is this silly? Or am I on to something?

- I think you are onto something. I think it is good to be both in a hurry but not rushing too much because in too much hurry one misses a lot, the details. On the other hand to think that "I will keep it slow because..." is just mental elaboration which will become a barrier as all vows do.

- Getting the basic principles, the essentials, down takes years and years of consistent work. And one doesn't become a teacher, in the real meaning of the word, overnight either.

neko:
Sometimes I have difficulty remembering what sensations looked like, and what my relationship was to them, before one path which was pretty simple and spontaneous for me. Similarly, because I experience piti and sukha very easily, even when my concentration is pretty low (as measured for example by the Asanga stages), my way of approaching concentration is relatively non-standard. I imagine that, if I were a teacher, what are cool skills for myself might actually prove to be obstacles to helping others effectively, when they are facing problems which I have overcome easily and with non-standard, not easily reproducible techniques.

On the other hand, my progress is stagnating in many other areas: I imagine that, if and when I overcome these obstacles, I might be pretty good at helping others with what right now are my greatest difficulties.

What do you think of this? What is your experience?

For those of you who "have" MCTB fourth path, is it difficult for you to look back on the dual side of reality to help those that are stuck there? Is it a required skill?

To put it in extreme terms, might it make sense to take a mini-bodhisattva vow? Something like: "For the sake of some beings, I will try not to rush through the jhanas and nanas and paths." Is this silly? Or am I on to something?

Good questions - I suspect that one of the reasons Daniel's book is so thorough and clear is the length of time he spent observing the cycles in detail. Being a good teacher is hard and requires the ability to look at things in many different ways and offer many different techniques, standard or non-standard.

I rushed through the paths, making a lot of vows to get the thing done as quickly as possible - that's just how it happened. After each path it was very hard for me to remember or understand what it was like before. (People don't really like to hear that or be asked about what it's like to not be enlightened - it can come off as arrogant, I guess.) It feels like my life before was a dream and I feel very disconnected from it.

Here's an analogy I like a lot: the hidden tiger. Can you spot the hidden tiger? http://www.grand-illusions.com/opticalillusions/the_hidden_tiger/

After you see it, can you really get what it's like to look at it and not see it?

I don't know that being able to look back and remember what it was like is a required skill, though. More important is to be able to figure out where each person is and what will help them most.

I think if you really want to be a teacher, it might make sense to spend more time in review rather than move on as quickly as possible.

Although I don't claim MCTB 4th Path, whose name necessitates Daniels definition. I did get thru a different 4 path system in 2 years.

I connect with OP.  Most ppl aren't willing to off cushion note continuously in daily life.  Most ppl don't have the bandwidth for this and already have too many responsibilities to make that work.  They also probably don't have constant, nagging mood disorder symptoms that make this use of attention a small sacrifice for the promise of permanent relief.

The best meditation advice is what works for most ppl, which is pretty boring and standard:
-Observe your reality in a clear, continuous, concentrated, nonreactive way.  Adjust techniques occasionally to maintain this course.  Know the maps exist, understand them intellectually, then forget about them and practice well.

Hi neko,

Similarly, because I experience piti and sukha very easily, even when my concentration is pretty low (as measured for example by the Asanga stages), my way of approaching concentration is relatively non-standard

Same for me. emoticon

Regarding your question about the Bodhisattva Vow, when I trained as a Zen priest, I recited it but didn't think much about it. After I started practicing vipassana/jhana, I was at a jhana retreat and just stood up from a meditation session, about 4 days into a 10 day, and it sort of ripped out of me, completely uncontrollable, like it was some kind of force or something: "As long as samasra exists, may I be reborn to benefit beings!" It left me totally shaken. Even now, when I think about it, I can't help wondering what happened. That strong sense of bodhichitta has pervaded my practice ever since.

To put it in extreme terms, might it make sense to take a mini-bodhisattva vow? Something like: "For the sake of some beings, I will try not to rush through the jhanas and nanas and paths." Is this silly? Or am I on to something?

I don't think its silly. Making vows helps in clarifying intention and focusing effort, though sometimes causes and conditions get in the way of achieving what the vow is directed at.

The primary issue is that most people who come to meditation practice don't have the intention nor the right conditions in their lives for hard core practice. Remember that practice consists of three trainings: morality (or ethics), concentration, and wisdom. Most folks need the morality and ethics training, and are looking for mindfulness to reduce stress because they've heard about it in the popular press or their doctor has advised them to try it. Arguably, experiences coming out of A&P, DN and ReOb increase stress, so they are definitely not looking for that. My Zen teacher mostly taught the morality training and mindfulness. Teachers like Milarepa and Dogen usually had a few hard core students who were interested in exploring everything that meditation and the mind had to offer, then lots of students who were more or less interested in practicing but not in a hard core way, then the lay folks who didn't do much meditation practice at all.

I know there are some teachers, like Shinzen Young, who believe enlightenment is for everyone, but I've never had the sense that everyone who comes to meditation is looking for that. The problem, up until recently, is that most meditation teachers assume nobody is looking for it.