Feb 072012
 

The other day, I was made aware of an unlucky mail exchange between two Zen teachers, posted in this blog. Usually I am not much interested in gossip and communication gone wrong, but this discussion rises the interesting question what qualifies someone to be a Zen teacher.

In addition to my earlier comments (“The Hidden Master”, “Teaching Zen” and “Licensed Pilots, and other Things”) on a similar topic, I will try to list some criteria I consider important. Hopefully, they will help you to find a good teacher, who…

  • … practised regularly Zazen for many years, and still does practise.
  • … has intensively worked with a good teacher for a long time.
  • … has gained teaching experience as student, helper and assistant teacher on many sesshin or seminars with a lot of different students.
  • … has received an o.k. (in a formal or informal way) from his teacher, that he or she is qualified to teach. 
  • … has developed a certain amount of compassion for his or her students.
  • … feels confident and happy to teach.

What I consider not sufficient, even not at all important to judge a Zen teacher’s qualification, is his or her…

  • … nationality. 
  • … success in the “Japanese Zen-Monk Look-Alike Competition”.
  • … monastic status or position within an organisation.
  • … teaching license, issued by some authority.
  • … title (such as “Master”, “Roshi”, “Sensei”, ….).
  • … business concept, driving the students into a ranking- and career system. 
  • … number of students.
  • … number of Zen-books published.

Don’t let you fool by shiny titles or a master-like appearance, judge yourself if the person in question is a real, authentic Zen teacher, worth your dedication, time and money!

Thank you for reading! If you liked it, why not share it with your friends? Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on Tumblr
Tumblr
Email this to someone
email