Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 12/31/2012

My Teacher

English: Main Buddha from the Chithurst Dhamma...


I had my annual interview with the teacher who I feel most indebted to for introducing me to the lineage I practice in and for encouraging me to take up certain practices (he was the first to acquaint me with the uposatha). Still, things haven’t always been that rosy.


I had been bouncing around the Zen and vipassana scenes for awhile and not really finding anywhere that inspired me to stick around. One night at NY Insight my soon-to-be teacher was giving the Dhamma talk and leading the meditation. I recall that during the question period I gave him a sketch of my practice and he told me that I needed to pick a tradition and go with it. So, I picked his group and have been practicing on and off with him for years.


Call it youth or just plain arrogance but I was quick to pick apart his Dhamma talks and even offer my own barbed questions. Eventually, after several years I became disenchanted and, with another friend from the group, split off to do our own thing. We really had quite a high opinion of ourselves and held a low opinion of the group. I hate to admit just how proud and deluded I was at the time. I was so ready to find fault and judge everyone that I almost can’t believe I thought I was practicing the Dhamma.


Over time my friend and I drifted apart and I believe he has drifted away from the Dhamma completely. Then, suddenly, a good kalyanamitta of mine was suddenly killed and my teacher called to let me know. The whole experience of coming back into the fold and being with the community again in the context of the death of our dear friend snapped me out of it for long enough to realize that I needed to make my way back.


Almost two years have passed and though there have been some bumps and hiccups I feel more indebted than ever to the man who I consider my first teacher. Where before I couldn’t forgive him for being human and imperfect today I understand just how hard it is to be those things and still aspire to practice and teach. I truly owe him a debt that it will be hard to repay in this and many a life to come.  May we dwell often on the gifts we have received from our teachers and be ever ready to repay their kindness.




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  1. Thank you for having the courage to share your human journey with us. Thanks for the reminder that to live in spiritual awareness takes great courage and perseverance. And thank you for acknowledging the gratitude you feel for the teachers who bring you back in spite of the obstacles that the mind creates. I look forward to reading your blog and sharing in the journey with you!

    • Sukh hotu! May the New Year bring you every good blessing!

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