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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
27 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly compassion by another, encouraging a deeper level of investigation. An instance when a forceful approach may be skillful is when it is consciously used in the context of established forms of practice, such as in certain lineages of Zen. To me, it seems important that teachers who use forceful methods have peers and are part of a respected Buddhist lineage, and that the context is understood by the students as well as the teachers. For the student, trust in the teacher and in the lineage is essential. In the Theravada tradition, the con- cept of compassionate or skillful wrath does not exist. The orientation in the practice of insight meditation is that it is the student’s responsibility to explore their resistance. This implies an organic and non-induced readiness to awaken out of self-delusion. When this readiness is present, ideally the teacher is there to meet the student where they are and to help them to see the next step. In this process, there is mutual respect and an expectation that the practitioner be will- ing to take responsibility for their own awakening. As I see it, the expression of force- ful energy is potentially harmful when a student has a history of trauma. In my experience as a teacher, when a stu- dent has been subjected to violence in childhood, a potential danger exists of establishing a pattern in which one con- tinues to subject oneself to provocative situations as an adult, with the deluded view that these situations may do one good. Even if the student realizes that what’s happening is not really helping them, they may put up with it, think- ing they’ll eventually get something out of it. It isn’t possible to be sure of anyone’s motivation—all we can see is a person’s actions. If you are unsure of the situa- tion, there are a couple of things you might consider: Is secrecy involved? Or is there the freedom to question? Talk to the teacher involved if possible. Talk to your fellow students. It’s important to feel both safety and trust in your in- teractions with your teacher in order for real learning to take place. www.festivalmedia.org THE BEST BUDDHIST CINEMA ON DVD PHOTO©MARIONSTALENS AT RETAILERS EVERYWHERE—SEE THE TRAILER ONLINE Matthieu Ricard THE DEVOTION OF NOW ON DVD “The happiest man alive.” – TIME MAGAZINE A FILM BY George Schouten AND Babeth M. VanLoo