The Teacher as Student

I have been reflecting on my teacher’s death (or as the yogis refer to the passing of a master, his Mahasamadhi) after watching the 2010 David Grubin documentary on the life story, “The Buddha.” I think of myself as a student yearning for her teacher and realize that the teacher dies not as a punishment but as the ultimate teaching. Again and again in the more than 10 years since my teacher left his body, I have embraced and experienced his prediction that the spirit of his teachings would be ever more accessible. Why this wanting to weep now? Is it because I have not been fully content, lately, with my teaching life?

I struggle with a poem that seems to want to come forth against my wishes, appearing to point towards something I know not what:


The student yearns for peace

and peace retreats

to avoid harassment.


The student yearns for understanding,

and understanding dies

knowing it will resurrect.


The student yearns for love

and love falls asleep

so it may freshly awake.


I look out at the courtyard that is our winter jungle of weeds, wildflowers and fallen palm fronds. I see pockets of purple, orange, yellow, and white within a profusion of greens. I hear a bird calling and a mower mowing.

backyardYesterday, we burned one of the deadwood piles in the fire pit under the moist protection of fog. Today, gloom has dissolved; the sun shines once again. A lizard does pushups on the warm bench. A dove dive bombs at something I cannot see, and I do not know whether my questions have been, or even need to be, answered.


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