A week ago Chong Go Sunim, our monk-correspondent in Seoul, wrote about the annual Teachers’ Day in Korea …
… when people go to pay their respects to those teachers who’ve had an impact in their lives. Seeing a group middle-aged men, made up of sun-burnt farmers in cheap suits and manicured business men all laughing and joking together, everyone passing by knows they were once fellow students, now come together to greet their old teacher.
My thoughts went to the teachers who’ve made a difference in my life. Several came to mind immediately: my Grade One teacher (Herr Sommer, kind teddy bear of a man, who drove one of the first post-war cars so tiny as to barely contain his large frame) and my doctoral advisor (Carl Leggo, poet from Newfoundland and professor at UBC who, by example, showed me how to write from the heart). And many others in between. Some of them nasty (such as the one we addresses as “Yes, chef!”, the one who had his hands full beating his apprentices whether they’d made mistakes or not) and many loving (such as Chozen and Hogen Bays, my monastic teachers for the last ten years, who’ve nourished my Buddha Nature with such patience). May they all be blessed for their intentions and efforts. May they be happy.
Which teacher do you remember?