The Function of a Teacher

When we are young it is a delight to be alive.

To hear the birds sing, the water sparkling down the river.

To see the grand mountains, the rocks shining.

To feel the wind blowing fresh and cool.

To smell the sweet flowers.

To rejoice the beautiful morning with a full heart and a clear mind.


We lose this feeling when we grow up,

with worries,

anxieties,

quarrels,

jealousies,

fears,

and the everlasting struggle to earn a livelihood.


We spend our days in battle with each other,

liking and disliking,

with a little pleasure now and then.


We never hear the birds,

see the trees we once saw,

the dew on the grass,

the shiny rock on the mountainside...

We never see all that when we grow up.


Why?


We caught ourselves in habit; a pattern, a routine.

We go to college,

get married and have children,

responsibilities,

earn a livelihood,

and then grow old and die.


We have lost this extraordinary feeling of beauty.

We have lost the quality of fullness.

The feeling of being alive.

The quality of living.


We become self-concerned.

To be occupied with oneself,

with what the neighbors think of us,

whether we are someone important,

or be thrown aside by society.


We are always struggling at home,

in the office,

out in the fields...

Wherever we are,

whatever we do,

we are always in conflict.


In the effort to get out of conflict

we create the image of a perfect state,

of heaven,

of God,

of some imaginative deities.

Out of this confusion, one cries, prays, chants.

One may find an answer, but the answer is the echo of self-pity, in its separation.


We have become second-hand people.

Second-hand artists, learners, teachers...

Take the image of others, then copy it.

In other words, followers; conformers.


We are all in the same boat.

Some leave the boat and wander endlessly and die.

Some seek some peaceful corner of the earth and retire.

Some join monasteries, become monks of various kinds, taking desperate vows.

Some seek churches, gurus, philosophies, ideologies, religions.


Where is the religion without superstition?

Where is the religion without extremists?

Where is the religion without violence?


Is there a universal religion that is concerned with deep integrity and profound wholeness of life? Does such religion exist?


We lay ourselves to authority.

Governments,

politicians,

lawyers.

Does not dependence breed fear?

And does not fear cripple intelligence?


Where is the teacher who teaches the student to be free from all these trivialities?


Where is the teacher who helps the student find out what he loves to do instead of the petty bourgeois mentality?


Where is the teacher who is not concerned with competition, aggression, ambition, ideas, beliefs?


Where is the teacher who helps the student free himself intelligently from all these conditioning influences so that he will be able to meet life deeply and fully, without fear, without aggressive discontent?


What is the true function of a teacher?


Is it to impart knowledge to the student?

To be an example to the student?

Prepares student to earn a livelihood?

Help bring about a better social structure?

Or merely condition the student to get good grades?


The word teacher comes from the root word which means to guide.


To guide the students towards a better and nobler life.

To be a pointer to truth, not a giver of truth.

To help students discover and examine problems by awakening their awareness.

To teach “how” to think, not “what” to think.

To awaken the students to explore themselves, both internally and externally.


Really, to guide, one must know.


One must have a sensitive mind with great flexibility.

Without prejudice, conditioning, system.


Is there such a teacher?


If one is incapable of this, then why be a teacher?

This question has meaning only if teaching is a mere career, a job like any other.

For I feel that nothing is impossible for the true educator.