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2 weeks ago, our Lamrim class celebrated our 3rd anniversary of our class commencement. Time flies! It was once again our Lamrim lesson on 10.12.18 in the Chinatown district on this typical Monday.
However, it was going to be an impressionable lesson.

https://bwmonastery.org.sg/lr93b

The above section was our scope of discussion for that day’s lesson. It was going to be on the cultivation of compassion as the root of the Spirit of Enlightenment. It talks about a gradual training method…

Here’s an abstract…

Therefore, if you think, “Who can fulfill all the temporary and final aims of limitless living beings?” you will realize that only a buddha has this ability. Then you will develop the desire to attain buddhahood for the sake of these beings.
The gradual training has three sections:
1. Training the mind to be intent on others’ welfare.
2. Training the mind to be intent on enlightenment
3. Identifying the spirit of enlightenment, the fruit of the training
Training the mind to be intent on others’ welfare has two parts:
1. Establishing the basic for developing this attitude
2. The development of the attitude of being intent on others’ welfare.
1″ Establishing the basic for developing this attitude has two parts:
(a) Achieving impartiality toward living beings
(b) Having affection for all beings
I have previously explained the stages of the preliminary practices and so forth in the context of the persons of small and medium capacities. Practice these preliminary practices here as well and sustain your meditation.
From the outset establish an even-minded attitude, eliminating the bias which comes from attachment to some living beings and hostility to others. Otherwise, any love or compassion you feel will be biased; you will never feel unbiased love or compassion. So, cultivate impartiality.

SOURCE: 菩提道次第广论手抄稿:旧版第九十三卷B面

Having heard about the section on: “Establishing the basic for developing this attitude” ie. compassion and “cultivate impartiality”, I had an awakening moment of appreciation for the profession which I have served for about 16 good years.

Yes. I am an educator. It was not my childhood dream but I chose this profession as I wanted to doing something meaningful in my life as I drew close to the big “30”.

Though it started with a spirit to contribute and give to others. I think I have received much more in return on this journey of giving. I am not saying it was an easy journey. It has its fair share of happiness and pride as well as agony and frustration.

At the beginning of each school academic year, my teaching style is often to lay down the expectations. I call it my 3Rs. Not the 3Rs for environmental protection: Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. My 3Rs are: Respect, Responsibility and Response.

RESPECT is not just an expectation of the students. It included the teacher as well. The classroom is a place where we all respect each other. The students respect the teacher as a mentor and the teacher respects the students as a learner. Everyone in the class respects the classroom as a conducive learning environment. I would share with the class that I believe that they all have the potential to learn and experience success if they are willing to work hard for it. 

RESPONSIBILITY would also underline the expectations on the learners as well as the mentor. The students are reminded that they have to be responsible learners for their own learning, revision and put in their fair share of diligence. As a teacher, I too would promise that I will do my best in fulfilling my responsibility for their learning. We are partners and achieving satisfactory outcomes require both parties to play our part. I have always told my students that I too will learn from them as much as they will learn from me.

RESPONSE

generates interactive communication between learner and educator, closing the gap between the intended Key Learning Outcomes and the actual level of understanding achieved through the lessons.

Little did I know that this fraternity which I have been proud to be part of is also an excellent training ground for my cultivation of compassion as a buddhist practitioner.

Now, through the Lamrim, I finally go beyond the state of just “looking” but finally “seeing” with a special pair of lens, the beauty of this fraternity as a garden nurturing “my flowers of compassion” blossoming with each student that we:

1. cherish and treat impartially;

2. care in way that we want them to be happy and not suffer like we would care for our very own child and

3. help them when they face life challenges.

I am so grateful to all the students which I have crossed path with. They and the working environment: the school where I teach with all my colleagues are important favourable conditions for me to practice the essentials of the four causes/conditions of compassion!

 

With the special lens, I see a beautiful garden of blossoms!

Upon these reflections…I wrote the following two poems dedicated to all my students as well as my teachers. Thanking them for being my virtuous companions on this Bodhi path of cultivation.

To all my students who were delightful to teach… I thank YOU for giving me the confidence to teach.

To all my students who needed an extra helping hand… I thank YOU for allowing me to practice giving patiently and receive intangible satisfaction.

To all my students who were more challenging than your peers… I thank YOU for allowing me to be more compassionate and gain wisdom by trying to reach your heart through the process of understanding you. I have learnt so much through the process of finding ways to share virtuous values with you, beyond just the content of books.

🌻🌻🌻
~ Miss Irene Lee ~
Composed on: 10/12/2018

At the same time, I began appreciating my teachers who had been great role models.

To all my teachers who showed me what unconditional love looks like so that I can do the same…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers who showed me what it takes to respect others regardless of who they are…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers who taught me how to appreciate the people in my life, their love and kindness for me as well as all the things that I have in my life and not take them for granted…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers who taught me to pay it forward as a little kindness goes a long way…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers who taught me that it is fine to make mistakes but it is more important to pick ourselves up and learn from it…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers who taught me that I may not know everything now but I can learn and know a little more than what I knew yesterday…

I THANK YOU!

To all my teachers…

I THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!

~ Irene Lee CK ~
Composed on: 11/12/2018

THANK YOU SHIFU, LAOSHI AND ALL LINEAGE MASTERS FOR BEING TO LEARN THE WAY WITH OUR LAMRIM FAMILY!

Penned by Irene Lee of S15G027E

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Other sharing by Irene Lee:

MY TEACHER – MY ROLE MODEL @ BW MONASTERY 17.9.18

TO ALL TEACHERS: HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY @ 1.9.18

“BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND!” AND LET BUDDHA BE YOUR GPS! @ BW MONASTERY