This article came about because someone with considerable public statue with whom I am connected on the facebook asked a question and at times all it takes for a huge discussion to start is but one question.
Here is paraphrase of their question.
In their opinion it can be important to actually mention or so to say “list” where have you received your teacher training. As they said to see more and more teachers of raising prominence that do not list any teacher training however do list their meditation training. One of the parts of the question mentioned something like: “Should persons without teacher training actually teach?” -Paraphrasing this question I am attempting to write it in a “wider” way, to open it up a bit and while the original poster may have had a very well thought through answer it is obvious that my answer either not as well thought or just different and it is the reason why I am writing this into a more extended post.
On with the show,
It seems that ever and even more today no one wants to be a student, no one wants to start anything. Everyone wants to “be done already” to obviously have a result attached to their effort: “at the end of this course you will be teacher”.
And it is good, what is the point of wasting time on this learning? If as a student one could leap-frog all that directly to the elevation of becoming a master. It in some way would equate to the idea of a “quick learner”.
However there are several issues that will present themselves. One is over-objectification of the goal of becoming a teacher. This title of Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa’s book that points to the idea of the whole path, it is: “Journey Without Goal”. In a way the goal is “no goal” and when one is able to embody that it is then that they are getting closer to the point where they are more like a teacher. So in the beginning one may want a journey with a goal and the goal is to enroll as a student and graduate at the head of one’s class. But the goal of no goal, is the goal.
The situation that we have, that is very common it is:
The so called teacher training courses are more popular then just regular courses.
It is no more then traditional American ego stroking and snake oil salesmanship. The best result guaranteed (at this point read the fine print of: “past results not guaranteeing future performance”), -no experience necessary, -apply now!
It’s really a shame that I have to write something like this about something as wonderful as some one wishing to become a Buddhist Teacher, a Buddhist Master, a Leader of Beings to the ultimate liberation. The general rule of the thumb is that you should be able to teach anything that you yourself have learned from some one, then practiced and accomplished. Some teachers actually at times say: “I have received these instructions from such and such and now I am giving them to you”.
Also, Buddhist path is not a path replete with certifications because it is all on the inside, within. And at some level if there is some one who has accomplished something then the reaction can also be “good for them” and then: “let me see where I am, myself at”.
At this point, ultimately if you are while armed with your current, limited starting knowledge are able to locate a teacher who you understand to be realized, and possibly not even learned, then you are in luck. Because they do embody these teachings that you want to get yourself, they have that first hand experience with these teachings that keeps Buddhist transmission alive all these years. And such a teacher will be able to teach from that fresh, first hand experience, rather then from the notes of courses that they may have taken in the past.
As it is also known to say in the title of another famous book: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” In this instance it again does not mean one can not be a Master, however it is important to have an open mind of a beginner to start on anything and obviously, pertinent to this discussion put the instructions into practice, embody them in your experience, mature in that experience to the point of realization. -Which is only possible with an open mind of simplicity of a beginner. Not some one training for a certificate of a teacher.