The Teacher Is The Student, The Student Is The Teacher

Art of Bodhidharma

It has been said that when the Buddha realized his Enlightenment, the Enlightenment did not end. This is because nothing ever ends. For even in Enlightenment, the Buddha still had to teach others the wisdom that was known to him.

In this way, many came to him — curious of the knowledge he had. But, in truth, he had nothing they didn’t already contain. In what way can a teaching be had for someone with nothing to give?

There are many who may consider themselves teachers or students of any nature, but this is only a convenience in terms. For fundamentally, we are only a single conscious entity that has the illusion of a separated existence. If we can come to this basic realization, we can completely change how we interact with each other.

For a teacher to teach, may seem rather lofty. As though, they have something to lord over you, with their superior intellect or prestige. As well, a student taking on their role may be just as distorted, for it gives the appearance that they are not capable of the same knowledge, or have nothing of value to show anyone.

The reality is much more dynamic than these usual labels.

When the “teacher” teaches, they too, are learning. They are learning each individual’s unique way of seeing the world. In this, they have to learn how to reflect what that individual inherently knows as a conscious, intelligent individual. And for the “student”, they have to teach everyone their level of mastery. They have to be open to what they are capable of in the moment without hiding away or circumventing their insight.

Wisdom is power. Don’t be proud of your wisdom. Discourse with the ignorant as well as the wise. Listen to the knowledgeable as wisdom is everything. — Hermes Trismegistus

The Zen masters of old knew this intimately. Though, pointing it out is often troublesome. While, it was often understood that the master knew more than most, it was never out of the question to defy the master in many ways. In some monasteries the master was even the one who cleaned the toilets, just so everyone knew that there may be difference in our titles, and our appearance, but in the end, all is equalized in the highest way of perceiving things. This type of sacred play will be at the core of our spirituality in the future, when ideologies of all kinds, become dissolved in the presence of a great humor.

Far too often we may still set unusually high standards for people we deem as wise, and unfairly dismiss anyone who may seem otherwise. We may place on a pedestal those who command a type of authority in speech and behavior, and never truly listen to the knowledge they provide. This effectively defeats the purpose of the knowledge to begin with. The knowledge is the point of all of this. The personality is something that doesn’t mean much when we desire to remove our dissatisfaction.

If we trust ourselves more, we can see the equality behind any seeming teaching — disciple dynamic. That is, that we are all a subjectivity that is interacting with itself. Each individual merely reflects the knowledge that is already inherent within one’s own mind. Expressing as a consciousness that has no real boundaries or delineates distinguished ranks for those who display more spiritual wisdom. Instead, we may see everyone as the master and the guru. The teacher and the student. Or perhaps even better, we will simply see each other as friends. For if someone says something that makes sense, it remains up to our collective insight to determine that it is so, and if someone says something that makes no sense, than we may be secretly pulling an unconscious joke that must be revealed through the discourse of perspectives.

Now if you say that it is not this way, I won’t say otherwise. I write these few words just to highlight this point:

We are the same. You and Me.
Grand Master of the sky.
Turtle at the depths of the sea.

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