So the other day, I was having a casual ‘one to one’ session with someone and he mentioned that he aspires to be a Dharma teacher.
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While it is heartening that he aspires to be a Dhamma teacher, it is important not to become one for the sake of being a Dhamma teacher. Or simply put, not to give Dhamma talks for the sake of giving Dhamma talks.
Consider the Buddha. He did not go forth and become a monk because he just decided to become a monk. He did so, wanting to find the cause of suffering, and to put an end to it. When he finally did, and became enlightened, he did not just go around teaching. He first considered the capacity of the potential receipients of the teachings. His two earlier teachers had already died and so he then decided to teach the Dhamma to the five ascetics who were previously his companions in the ascetic training.
The Buddha gave talks and advices to point the way to enlightenment, so that the listeners can be enlightened. He did not give talks just for the sake of talks itself. So Dhamma teachers, monastics and lay alike, should take heed not to turn the Dhamma into a career, and to give talks for the sake of giving talks; but to give talks with the motivation or aspiration of showing the path, and
guiding others in the practise, onwards towards Nibbana, Final Liberation.
In a similar vein, listeners of the Dhamma, monastics and lay alike, should not listen to talks for the sake of listening to it. They should aspire towards understanding the meaning of the talk, and practising them. To strive towards enlightenment. To make enlightenment their goal when they listen to Dhamma talks.
For a start, read this blog with the right intention. Perhaps start with baby steps, and make it your aim to see how you can apply the Dhamma to your daily life. See if you can use it on trivial matters, then move on from there.