Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Buddha Also Taught
It is Teachers’ Day tomorrow. It is also the 83rd birth anniversary of His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo. It is a day to remember those who paved the way on which we walk, jog and ride our lives in relative comfort today. Forgetting to remember is another human want, but then we are Bhutanese, where such luxuries cannot be entertained. If it did, it would indeed become a day of mourning. Having said that, if there is one thing we hold dear it is our kings, and if there is equally another thing we treasure, it is teachers.
The fact that the birth anniversary of the father of modern Bhutan is celebrated as Teacher’s Day says a lot about what the Third Druk Gyalpo means to us and what he bequeath us, even as he tragically passed away at the young age of 44, and a reminder as to how we should observe this happy anniversary.
Traditionally, the teacher has always been held in high esteem by the Bhutanese. It is said that in times gone by, if you were a Dharma student and went in search of a master, it would take years before the master accepted you as a formal disciple, or as a student, and that the teachings itself would take another indefinite amount of time before you were taught the treasures of the Dharma formally.
But one thing is certain, they were always teaching, and that was the secret method.
Today it is different scenario. The traditional form of teaching exists but with a lot more leeway than was the custom. The modern education system has also come a long way, and in the coming observation of tomorrow’s twain celebration, one thread holds everything dear – the tribute that must be graciously offered to teachers everywhere in the country. There is no such thing as a bad teacher, for in the profession of the teacher, as it is with everything in life, the total sum and part of the teacher, his personality and his very being, are the same and adjudged as such: they are the manifestation of learning itself. The difference is we go about our work with subordinates, colleagues, peers and bosses. They are teachers around the clock and all their body, speech and mind, together with their action, displays the essence of the occupation they have chosen – that of teaching and being a teacher.
Thus tomorrow is a special day. A day to ponder the pros and cons of what teachers do, and perhaps, for one day, spare the scathing criticisms that have come their way off late and just be positive and respectful.
For what they give is far more than what you can ever receive. Knee-jerk reactions that have cropped up recently does not bode well, and as the Minister of Education rightly put it, we have no business pulling their morale down if that is all we are interested in. Perhaps, this one day could be the beginning of another chapter, another contemplation of the path and the practitioners in it. Look at the positives, the accomplishments, the sacrifices and the sheer moral baggage that teachers everywhere have to carry – that of teaching and epitomizing the right outlook towards life, in and out of the classroom.
For in the end, you and I walk into an office full of adults. The qualities of those adults are being determined right now in thousands of classrooms across the length and breadth of this country – by teachers who are often wrongly maligned.
This coming day, let’s join in and celebrate that noblest of profession: teaching and teachers. His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo would be proud of that, and proud that his legacy still endures, exemplified by the teaching profession and the quality of education in this country, no matter how flawed.
For today’s school children are tomorrow’s teachers, nation-builders and leaders.