Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Always question authority

(from an old forum post of mine) it reminded me of a high school teacher I’m very fond of. It was one of the best life lessons I’ve learned, and I remember to apply it regularly (samma sati). Mr J. was my European History teacher either my junior or senior year in high school. My J. had the desks in the room arranged in a circle (more like a rectangle), so that all the students could see not just the teacher, but each other. And he said this so often I don’t think any student of his will ever forget: Always question authority.
History was a subject that I really hated in school, (up until Mr. J’s class), so it was quite a revelation when I found out I didn’t actually hate history, I only thought I hated it because it was always taught in such a dead uninteresting way. Mr J brought it to life by critically examining everything, people’s motivations, why they did what they did, what worked and didn’t work, what we could learn from history, and whether or not we could even trust the source of our account of “history”. He also did this in an interactive way, engaging the whole class to discuss among ourselves instead of just spoon feeding us “truths” according to biased accounts of US historians.
May all Buddhists question their authorities and sacred texts to arrive at a better understanding of their own religion.
Wherever your are Mr. J, lots of metta to you.

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