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Sep 29, 2004 11:49 AM
by Morten N. Olesen

Hallo Andrew, Ruffus and all,

My views are:

There is a saying: The teacher is a student and the student is a teacher.
That is to say, that the teacher learns from the student with or without knowing
whether the student is a real teacher. And that the student from time to time
acts as a teacher with or without knowing it.

Here is a story about the teacher and the student.
I can with advantage be compared with other theosophical teachings on this topic..


Q: How does the theosophical teacher overcome the fixed but 
unprepared biases of the student?

A: Let us look at the relative positions of the teacher and the
student. The student regards the teacher as someone who has a
quantity of something, and will give him a part of it. Or he may
look upon him as someone who knows a method of achieving
The teacher sees the student as someone who is eligible for
gaining a portion of something. In another sense he looks upon
him as someone who can achieve something.
Each in its own way, the attitudes of the two have a connection.
The problem of the teacher is greater than the problem of the
student. One reason for this is that the student is anxious to learn
but seldom realises that he can learn ONLY UNDER THE 
He cannot make real progress until he has undergone a preparation
for learning. When this preparation is complete, the student
may progress slowly, rapidly or instantly through a number of
phases in which he understands what he has called the meaning of
life, or to know himself.
The most important thing, therefore, is to get the student into 
an alignment in which his progress can be effective and continuous.
This can only be directed by someone who knows the whole
picture, and who knows what is possible and what is not, with an
individual and a given group of people.
Because the student is likely to be imprisoned by attitudes
which have trained him, he will tend to approach the teacher,
and the teaching, in all kinds of ineffective and minor ways.
He will ask for 'peace of mind', progress in his worldly life,
money, knowledge, illumination, assurances - all things which may
be important in one way or another, but which are not necessarily
relevant to his situation. In other words, he asks to be taught,
or to be given, knowledge and things which HE HAPPENS TO BE WANTING 
This, from some viewpoints, is a ridiculous situation. It is as if
a schoolboy were to say: 'Yes, teach me French, but teach me
only at 4 p.m.', or 'I want to learn mathematics, but I will not do
so in this particular class', or, again, 'I would like to learn the
principles of biology, but first I must have some information
about tadpoles, because to my mind they are the most important
The fact is that you can learn only what you can be taught. If
you impose or interpose conditions gained from speculation, emotion,
imagination, intellect and so on, you will still have to learn
how to learn. This means finding out how to collect knowledge,
stage by correct stage, without the foregoing limitations.
The human being, not knowing what he really is, not knowing
where he came from or where he can go, is hardly in a
position merely to assume that he should get his instruction in
this or that form; or that before he does anything else his warts
should be charmed or his house set in order in a way which he
happens capriciously, or even dedicatedly, to demand.
The first duty of the teacher is to make this plain and not to
compromise with the superficial sentiments which many people believe
are fundamentals.
A theosophist once said: 'You are a lover of your own experience not
of me. You turn to me to feel your own emotion.'
If you look at the way in which you approach things, including
your desire to learn and its expression in action, and if you note
what mistakes you have made and also what the theosophists say about
the roles of a teacher and a student, you will realise that the fixed but
unperceived biases of the student to which you refer need someone
outside of the student to supply the stimuli which will enable him
(or her) to escape from the trap of customary thinking-patterns.


A theosophist has listed the things which people do and think which 
block their progress.
These cause bafflement, sorrow and confusion. People who so
not follow their teacher's prescriptions either remain in one of
those conditions or else adopt some - often unperceived - psychological
stratagem which causes hypocrisy, fanaticism or imagined
These are the things which the student cannot measure in
himself, and which the teacher attends to:

'To want before it is due
To desire more than is due
To want for oneself what belongs to others.'

Some people, of course are so wilful that even if you tell them
that you are not going to compromise with the fixed biases, they will
continue to battle. In such cases the teacher will disappoint their
expectations by making himself out to be unsuitable to the student,
borrowing from some special techniques. Even then, the delinquent
student may not be able to understand what is going on,
and will put all kinds of fanciful interpretations on the matter.

As short story about this:

There was once a Seeker, that shouted out his feverish religious remarks
out to everyone in short crisp lectures. He did it in such a manner, 
that he was quite a disgrace to the theosophical place he was resting at. 
He went so far as he was condemning even the theosophical teaching which 
he many times before had been saying, that he cared for. This went on for days.
In the end the leader of the place contacted the Seeker and asked him
to go to another town.
But the Seeker said, 'You only offered me teen thousand dollars to go to another town,
but where I am now you are offering twenty thousand, so I still refuse to leave.'
The leader said: 'Hold out, and you will find that they will give go as 
high as fifty thousand dollars.'

M. Sufilight

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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