Sunday, June 7, 2009

Why should we trust a teacher? How can we discern the truth of the teachings?

I'm still listening to a great Dharma talk:
"Faith, Doubt, and Wisdom" by Andrea Fella.
(I'm on about my third listen ...:)

It's #6 from top on this page:

(It's fresh! Recorded just 3 weeks ago.)


How do we know which teacher to trust?
How do I know which teaching is true?

The Buddha offered some guidelines:

Don't believe something just because of it's lineage.
Don't believe it because of hearsay, or rumor.
Don't believe it just because it's scriptural or tradition.
Don't even base it on your own reasoning!

No need for faith!

Just try it out for yourself, and see!
Use your own body, mind, and life experience
as a crucible for experimentation,
and verify the teachings yourself!

And if it works to make you happy,
remove your suffering,
and it does no harm... keep doing it!

I also like this talk because Andrea Fella's life
paralles my own. She says:

"I was desperate. I was doing whatever I thought I should be doing,
but I was miserable. I didn't know what to do to get out of my misery,
so I began a search. 'Has anyone an answer to this kind of suffering'?"

That's when she found a tape about meditation,
which said that if we just notice our emotional state,
just this act of observation sometimes changes the emotion.

Also she describes how "the story" often encourages
certain emotions, often by habit. They feed each other.

Just becoming mindful of the story,
mindful of the emotions as they arise, and
mindful of our bodies
and the sensations associated with the emotions...

that just this act of noticing often breaks the
which leads to suffering and despair.

I believe this is one way of expressing
the central teaching of Buddhism.

Bill Huston
Binghamton NY
Phone: 607-321-7846

Email:  WilliamAHuston at gmail

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