Training to teach and learn the Dharma

The Shambhala project is worth pursuing. So say the cadre of Portland’s authorized Shambhala teachers and almost a dozen members of the Portland Shambhala community who are beginning a teacher training program.

Why is this important?

Although we are a meditation center, teaching and learning are at the core of Shambhala and a Shambhala center’s activities.  What we teach and learn about is not just intellectual: what we learn through meditation is more about what’s going on in the moment — about “how to be”.  Ethics and bravery are core elements.  And learning is not solitary: we learn in community. For example learning to listen deeply to each other requires practice and commitment from both  speaker and listener.  

Teaching anything Dharma-related is always an act of bravery.  We inevitably ask ourselves, “Is what I’m saying really true?”, and, “Do I really know what I’m talking about?” It’s quite humbling.  So preparing to teach requires extra self-reflection and study, both inward- and outward-facing. Teaching and learning are thus intertwined and both move the Dharma along in our world.  

The bravery of teaching and learning is an investment in our community, in our future, and in our capacity to speak the truth as we understand it.  That applies to existing teachers and to people who are being trained to teach.  It applies no matter what the future brings to Portland Shambhala, to Shambhala as a whole, or to our society as a whole. The fruition of all this cannot be known in advance.  We only have the present moment. 

Here’s a pep talk and summary from the first session in the teacher training series:

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