Session twelve, the name we chose is called, “misunderstanding how I met my teacher.” We’re going to be doing a meditation. We are going to explore the dependent origination of my teacher and the emptiness of my teacher. So, what does that mean? In the meditation, we’re going to picture our teacher in front of us.
You know, we’ve been picturing the teacher knee-to-knee, but for this meditation I’m going to ask you to put your teacher up a little bit higher, which is traditional. Like they’re sitting on a teaching throne, they start about here. We’re going to think about “how did I meet this teacher?” Then we’re going to explore emptiness and dependent origination.
So let’s start. By the way, the picture here is a dinner. This is called Thanksgiving dinner; it’s traditionally a very important holiday in America. We have a dinner with the people we love and we thank them.
Let’s start the meditation. So please get comfortable. If you’re not comfortable at the beginning of the meditation, I guarantee you, you will be uncomfortable during the meditation. If you’re super comfortable at the beginning of the meditation, you will only be a little bit uncomfortable during the meditation.
Okay, let’s start. Close your eyes.
Nice, small, gentle smile.
The eyelids are closed softly.
Please come to your breath … we’ll do the normal ten breaths—it helps to stop the busy mind and start the meditation mind.
Here we go.
Long exhales. At the end of the exhale, please breathe out a little bit extra.
Here we go.
Now picture your teacher in front of you. They are sitting on a teaching throne—the place where their body meets the throne is about the height of your chest. Take a few moments, get the picture clear in your mind—it’s a real person.
Now I’d like you to think back, how did you first meet that teacher in this life? I’ll describe my own case; I first saw that teacher at a Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house, and she was invited to come to my mother’s house.
If you ask me how did she come there? I can clearly imagine—I can still remember the color of the car, what kind of car, I can remember the teacher getting out of the car. I can imagine the car driving across the streets to my mother’s house. I know what those streets look like—I can imagine those streets. I know the home where my teacher was living. Later I visited that home.
If you ask me, how did you meet your teacher the first time? I can remember my mother cooking the Thanksgiving meal. I actually remember I was working on a car—I was fixing a car. I remember the teacher driving up in their car. In my mind, I have a clear picture of how they got in the car, how they came, drove in the car across the streets to my house.
So now look at this teacher again. I want you to try to remember how did you first meet this teacher? Where were you? What was the first few minutes like? Can you imagine how the teacher got to that place? Do you remember how you got to that place?
Let’s spend a few minutes, thinking about “how was it that I first met my teacher?”
Try to make as much detail as you can … some of it, you have to guess.
Now please come back to the present moment. “That teacher is sitting on a teaching throne in front of me.”
Now I’d like to have some fun. Move that teacher a little bit off to the side on the throne. Now bring a second teacher who looks just like the first one. Now it’s kind of fun because on the teaching throne there is enough room for two copies of my teacher to sit comfortably next to each other.
Now I’m going to ask you again: how did you first meet this new copy of your teacher? Now you’re going to use your third eye to check about the answer to this question. And we’re going to think about real dependence.
If I use my third eye, which is the eye of wisdom—it’s not a real eye, okay. The eye of wisdom when it’s a baby, it’s a kind of logic—what’s logical. When that third eye gets stronger and grows up, it becomes a direct perception of the past.
So let’s open up the third eye in the middle of our forehead. Let’s look at this second teacher, the copy of my teacher. Where did this teacher come from? How did they come to the place where I first met them, like the Thanksgiving dinner?
Well, that’s now a different question! Maybe in a past life, I was taught something about these topics, like the Wheel of Life. I learned it pretty well. I studied it, I listened to the video, I watched everything and I read the books and I got to know it pretty well. Then I met a friend of mine and they asked me, “Could you teach me a little bit about the Wheel of Life?” And I did. I shared what I understood.
I know it wasn’t perfect and I didn’t understand everything but I shared what I could with a good heart. Each time I taught them a single word of the ideas of the Wheel of Life, I planted good seeds in my mind.
Then maybe I died, I went to the bardo (BAR DO) and I was a golden color. And then I was born into my mother’s womb in this life. And then I grew up in my home. One day, the seeds in my mind from sharing the Wheel of Life in my past life, one-by-one, suddenly in succession, one after another, those seeds opened and I saw my teacher getting out of a car, because the seeds opened to see that. Then the seeds open to a picture of my lama coming into my house. Then the seeds opened for me to first see my lama and first talk to them.
So now if you ask me, how did you really meet them? My seeds created the house where they used to live. Then my seeds created the roads in the city which came to my mother’s house. My seeds created a car which drove from her house to my mom’s house. Then my seeds created the kitchen and the dining room next to the kitchen. Then my seeds opened into this beautiful person.
Ever since then, 65 times per second, those many good seeds from sharing the Wheel of Life, have been opening into this teacher who is with me now. So now if you ask me “Where did this second teacher come from?” They drove from the past life in the car of dependent origination from the day I shared my understanding of the Wheel of Life.
Now if I tell you, you have to choose one of these teachers, who is the real one? Is the real teacher that first one who came in the car along the road and walked into your mom’s house? Or is the real teacher the one who came to you because you taught someone the Wheel of Life in your past life?
“Oh, now I understand that’s the real one.” That’s actually the dependent origination teacher. Well, who is the other teacher? The teacher that I met because someone built a road, and someone built a house, and someone built another house, and someone made a dinner.
Nice translation, thank you.
“Oh, now I realized that’s not the real teacher.” Does it look like a teacher? Yeah, that’s why we call it apparent teacher—looks like a teacher, deceptive teacher.
“But now I understand—that’s not the real teacher.” That’s the person who seems like the real teacher but not the real teacher.
I suggest we cancel that teacher. Let’s let the dependent origination teacher sit on the throne. And that other teacher can disappear, into thin air, just disappear. Because they are empty. They don’t exist and they never existed. It was never true that that was my real teacher.
It felt like that, but I was wrong. Let’s cancel that teacher. Then we come to the emptiness of the wrong teacher. The state of mind that thought that was where my teacher came from—those roads—that’s link number one in the Wheel of Life—the blind man—misunderstanding.
The teacher that misunderstanding thinks is the real teacher doesn’t exist at all. And that is emptiness.
Yeah, the state of mind that believed the teacher drove to my house across those roads—that state of mind was misunderstanding. That state of mind is link number one. That state of mind will get me in trouble.
So now we understand link number one—misunderstanding. We understand it about our teacher and where our teacher really came from. And again as we learned in the other meditation this teacher is coming from me. Let’s stop misunderstanding how I met my teacher the first time.
This is a very great meditation to do, because if you find out really why you met your teacher the first time, then you can keep your teacher and you will never lose your teacher, because you understand that your teacher is coming from the seeds that you plant, when you teach someone else the best you can.
So let’s finish the meditation. Enjoy this real teacher sitting in front of you. Enjoy understanding where they really came from. Enjoy knowing that you can keep them with you now.
Just keep planting the seeds, share what you understand as well as you can. Nobody teaches perfectly, but the best you can.