The need for a teacher

What makes a 'good' teacher? If they are human, you can Dharma-battle with them to try to gauge their understanding and suitability... But is not all the whole of the Universe our 'good' teachers? This cat in a bowl... when my heart is honest and open, what does this cat in a bowl not teach me? Nothing to teach, nothing to learn, just a cat in a bowl and the Universe is complete. Now I think my cat heard something about cooking blackbird pie and is trying to get into the action! lol

What makes a ‘good’ teacher? If they are human, you can Dharma-battle with them to try to gauge their understanding and suitability… But is not all the whole of the Universe our ‘good’ teachers? This cat in a bowl… when my heart is honest and open, what does this cat in a bowl not teach me? Nothing to teach, nothing to learn, just a cat in a bowl and the Universe is complete. Now I think my cat heard something about cooking blackbird pie and is trying to get into the action! lol

The Buddha said to be your own guiding light. This was his last teaching as he died. So, where does having a spiritual teacher fit into this all then? I mean, on the one hand, if you listen to the Buddha, you may decide to have no teachers at all! Quickly, or not so quickly perhaps, one realizes that, well, if you took the Buddha’s advice, as your teacher, then well, you already failed! lol.. Hey, who said Zen came from Nepal to China via Bodhidharma! Buddha already was a Zen master! lol. Okay, now lets give the Buddha the benefit of the doubt, after all he is the ‘origin’ of Buddhism, so, well, if anyone has a say on what Buddhism is, he gets top authorization! lol. So, the importance of a good Zen teacher, or any Buddhist teacher, has been made clear over the centuries… It is said to be near impossible, sometimes it is said to be totally impossible, to realize your inherent true nature (ie. Enlightenment) without a proper teacher to guide you, to coach you, support and nurture you.  Well, one may quickly realize, or maybe not so quickly, that hey, the Buddha did it…. he didn’t have a teacher to help him!! Yes, he had teachers prior to his Enlightenment, but not ‘Buddhist’ teachers…He had to create Buddhism, or rather discover it. But, again, we may give him the benefit of doubt, so to speak, and say, well, ok, he is an exception… But if we do that, what does that mean? It means we already place the Buddha above us…. We already have failed then. We are all Buddhas already, just as much as Buddha was… we are too. That’s what is so wonderful and beautiful and powerful about Buddhism…

Anyhow, getting back to the importance of the right teacher…. I can not really say…. I never had a direct relationship with a Buddhist teacher, though I have some personal interactions with some Zen teachers. Maybe I need a really good teacher.. maybe not…. Either way, I feel, if one decides that a good teacher would help them, then that’s great! But be careful! A student must attack their teacher! Attack attack attack!! lol… Dharma attack that is…. test them, attack them, see if their wisdom, their clarity, shines directly into your heart… Do they help open your heart? Honestly? Not just opening your heart.. but opening up your honesty… That’s the crux of it all… when we are 100% honest with ourselves, truly, wholly, completely, totally honest, we are no different than the Buddha. Honesty is where it’s all at. Sometimes being honest with ourselves hurts. No one ever said Enlightenment is full of happy fluffy bunnies!!! lol….. well….. when we are fully honest, even if it hurts deeply to our core for whatever reason(s) (ie. past traumas, guilt, etc), we find liberation, relief and unbounded joy at this discovery of pure honesty. Perhaps ‘honesty’ isnt the best word… hmm…. but it really fits so well!!! lol. Well, I suppose one can become very attached to their own honesty, which would be a hinderance… but I do wonder if attachment can thrive, or even exist at all, when one is in complete honesty…. As in complete honesty is complete openness, and that openness is open to, well, attachment, and being open, attachment has nothing to attach to! lol.

I don’t know. Maybe I need a good teacher to read this and hit me with their keisaku!!  lol.

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Your brain is smarter than you!

Is this gorilla's brain smarter than you?!

Is this gorilla’s brain smarter than you?!

Our brains are amazing things… lots of activity happening even when we are not thinking about anything at all… Well, we might think we are not thinking, but our brains don’t think that! lol.

I was talking with some friends recently and I said “your brain is smarter than you”!

What does this mean? lol. I didn’t mean ‘Your brain is smarter than you realize‘… I meant, quite literally, that ‘your brain is smarter than you‘! lol.

It means that we tend to think,think,think, about the past, about the future, about 10 different things at once, it is what defines who we are, in a way. But, that’s just who we are…. our brains, however, are much smarter than all that noise. They quietly chug away, processing, making connections, finding solutions…. making hypotheses and testing them… all behind our backs! They care not about who we think we are, they just keep on chugging away… being much smarter than us.

Our hearts have neurons, our noses have metal in them, so we can tune into magnetic North… and our lungs can ‘smell’… what we think we know about ourselves sometimes isn’t complete and can limit what we realize…

Many decisions we make are already made by our brains before we think we make them! lol

So, what does this all mean? Who are we really? The facade of who we think we are making our decisions, or the brain behind those decisions, working away in ways we could never fully grasp through thinking? Of course, we can say it is the dance between the two, our conscious selves and our unconscious brain work-horse. Of course, then comes the question, who is the true master?

In the end, can we not just put all these thoughts down and realize who we are is nothing more, nothing less, than the collection of many things? Does this not expand to things outside of the body? We see a powerful ape and this triggers a release of chemicals inside our brain, which transforms our thoughts, and these thoughts transform our actions…. Where does ‘who we are’ stop? Can it stop?

Dropping these thoughts and simply returning to deep questioning, with an honest and open heart… who are you? Who am I? When we delve deeply, we may realize that the question itself doesn’t actually make sense.

When in evolution did 'we' slip from outside of our own brains?

When in evolution did ‘we’ slip from outside of our own brains?

New you! Do you have a choice?

Is this old car not new again today?

Is this old car not new again today?

“New year… New you!”

Of course, the marking of a new year is an invention, so the true significance of a new year is minimal. That said, the cultural influence of the marking of a new year can be quite powerful…. So, just like many Buddhists meditate in groups, focusing on improving our lives through New Years resolutions has extra power.

Completing this circle of thought, we can make every day a new start, a ‘new you’! In fact, going deeper, we have no choice but to start each day with a new you.

So, lets embrace today’s ‘new us’, garnishing the collective cultural power for support. You can do it!