ATs are People Too

One major obstacle I’ve heard from several meditators is their disconnect with their assistant teacher. They voice that the teacher couldn’t answer their questions or seemed inadequate is some other way and this turns them off from Vipassana. I’ve had a wide variety of experiences with these teachers, but my take away was different. Instead of looking to the teachers to answer all of my intellectual questions, I accepted the most common advice to just keep meditating and discover the value of this practice myself. As an thinker, it was a challenge to temporarily discover my inquisitive mind, but the opportunity to discover a deeper truth for myself helped me to continue.

Over the years I’ve gotten to know more and more teachers, and I’ve grown to appreciate how human we all are. We all have plenty of room for growth and a great deal to learn about absolute truth. The massive diversity of people drawn to this tradition makes it very difficult for any teacher to relate to everyone, but the beautiful thing is that they don’t need to.

While this organization continues to strive toward pure dhamma, there is no question of its imperfection, but this takes nothing away from the wisdom of pure dhamma. By teaching us a path to discover truth, it seems to me that the organization is acknowledging that they don’t know the deepest answers. They are simply trying to help you discover a technique that helps you discover the truth for yourself. Hopefully we can all allow the assistant teachers the time they need to learn how to become great teachers while we give ourselves the time to develop into great meditators. Time to meditate.

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

One thought on “ATs are People Too

  1. I fully agree with your views. We should not expect too much from ATs. They are also learning though placed at a better stage than us. They are not teachers but assistant teachers. We can find answer to all our quirries within ourselves. We only have to keep on practising.


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