When A Spiritual Teacher Calls Students Lazy

This shows a lack of understanding on the part of the teacher, and says more about them than about the student.

If a student doesn’t ‘get it’, then it’s up to the teacher to show the way so that they do ‘get it’. The student must be able to reason and be interested – and so must the teacher – but this is not the same as just following a pattern and becoming enlightened. If such a pattern worked, we’d all be enlightened, but we aren’t, are we?!

In the recognising of what it is that obscures our true nature lies the very recognition of our true nature. Being happy with that is enlightening enough. Believing in some form of ‘extra-omniscience’ is hearsay; nice idea, but it keeps us dissatisfied and needy.

Learning a worldly subject requires repetition of a sound method, but in a spiritual context, the method has to be personally investigated and felt. Spiritual teaching is about why I am, how I am and what I am. It is not a mechanical subject, as it is personal, spiritual psychology. Instead of being told something, it is we who are investigating, by using reason: the more we become interested, the closer we become to realising that we are the truth that we seek.

If we appear to be lazy or jaded, there has to be a reason. We became a student to find the truth about ourselves and the world around us, and then to make an effort to clarify for ourselves by practising what is taught. If the teacher is alert, they should, in turn, adapt to the situation to make the teachings clear and practical. They must show the way: it is not just a matter of following their light. The teacher lights our lamp, and then we can see that we do know.

The teacher has to understand the peculiar cultures in which we live, as these have a heavy influence on our behaviour. Unfortunately, teachers do not always realise that they have a style – a culture – that is different from that of their students. The student is expected to follow the teacher’s style: this can have a psychological effect on us, by splitting our reasoning. As a result, we either fawn over the teacher through a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection and thereby create an inner circle, or we find ourselves, through necessity, on the outer perimeters. It’s not easy for everyone to conform. Some can and some cannot; it’s not that they don’t want to, but it’s just not in their nature or education.

The teacher may call us ‘lazy’, but this could be their misunderstanding of our apparent lack of outer enthusiasm. We may have become bored, because we either think that we know it all or we find that the teachings aren’t sharp enough. As a result, we’ve lost a sense of urgency, and are perhaps not aware of the harmful influences that distract us.

Or, could it be the way in which the teachings are taught that is the problem?

‘Jaded’ means being bored or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something … too much cake! Could it be that too much teaching takes the initiative away from the student? We may do as the teacher (guru) says, but our heart may not be totally in it. Doing 4 x 111,111 practices of the Ngondro mechanically in order to be able to do Vajrayana practices – and just accepting that is what we have to do – can dull our mind, when it is actually suppose to create merit. We’ve just given our mind away to someone else.

Our spiritual welfare depends on us taking responsibility – it’s quite simple 😀 All we have to do is be aware of what it is that’s stopping us from realising our true nature … and that is our own mind!

Don’t give your mind away.
You are not lazy.
Just distracted.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Really insightful. I will share with my educational leadership.

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