My Teacher

-- Tan Chade Meng

Everybody hates my teacher. He is strict, unkind, unfriendly and unforgiving. He never hesitates to give anybody the most severe, and often it seems, the most unfair punishment at precisely the worst time.

He is, at the same time, about the best teacher I've ever had. He has taught me everything I know about dukka (unsatisfactoriness), about attachment, greed, hatred, and all my other defilements. During those quiet moments when we're alone, he also taught me about myself, my mind, my cultivation, and how I can help myself. Simply, he taught me salvation and gave me constant encouragement to walk the path.

If and when I ever get Enlightened, he probably gets most of the credit.

He is, of course, Pain.

Pain is a very powerful teacher. When one maintains mindfulness, mental stability and clarity in times of pain, one's own dukka and nirvana reveal themselves without reservation. The insight one gains is tremendous. The key to salvation can be found there, within the insight, within the pain.

Whoever said that, "Nirvana is Samsara, Samsara is Nirvana" had obviously understood that insight.


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