Nature of Bodhi Academy [2016-05-17 11:33]
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Exam in 5 minutes

The five-minute sharing during the class collective study is a kind of torment for some fresh Dharma brothers, who suffer from it every minute. Whereas, for some other Dharma brothers, who are articulate and willing to share, five minutes are too short to fully express what they want to say. Therefore, for a facilitator, what kind of sharing can be considered as a real “collective study” - how to guide the Dharma brothers to make a good use of the five minutes ? How to express and what to talk about? Based on my experience as an facilitator, I’d like to share what I’ve learned

Some inarticulate Dharma brothers may fix their eyes on the notebooks, and recite the written text, word by word, breathlessly and blushingly. This isn’t rare in the first several months of the Co- Delight Class. During this period, the facilitator could mainly praise or encourage the Dharma brothers, and not deliberately ask them to speak without text, but write down the gist of the speech. Thereby, during the 30-minute discussion, the facilitator may invite them to participate by questioning, inspiring them to think and break the mindset of “completing task" , so that the engagement of the discussion can be improved. Meanwhile, they can get the chance to realize that “Actually I don't have to read the prewritten text, such discussion is also a kind of sharing”. Thus, they will build confidence gradually, and be able to speak without notes.

For the Dharma brothers who speak overtime, the facilitator should remind them of controlling the time, and analyze why it happens. Whether they use too much time to summarize the teachings, or give unnecessary details by talking about the cases, or diverge out of range?

The sharing session in the collective study of class is carried out based on fully prepared individual study and group collective study. Therefore, the shared content should be focused on the latest teachings. The following three parts should be emphasized in the share of the class collective study: 1. Understanding about the latest teachings; 2. To integrate the teachings into the personal practice as well as the daily life, and share the apperception by applying; 3. Raise questions. Generally speaking, overtime sharing would occur in the second part. For example, the uncollated apperception is like a fresh wood, which still contains some water. In the process of applying teachings, we are likely to make a lot of emotional ups and downs like a battle between human and god, and there is still some background information to explain when we retell the whole event to other Dharma brothers. If everything is covered during the class collective study, 5-7 minutes is far from enough. On the other hand, telling the story with every details will easily lead the mind of other Dharma brothers into the state of “listening and talking about gossips ”.

Hence, we should begin with what have happened in our briefing first, and emphasize how to deal with it on the whole process? On which point did I apply the Buddhism teachings? What kind of effect did it work on me? Did I handle it with dharma wisdom mindfully from the very beginning, or ignored the application of Buddhism teachings until affliction arose? Or just being wise after the event?

During the process to eliminate affliction with dharma, did I fully follow the teachings? Or did I ever confront any inner struggle? How to adjust and eliminate them? Such sharing can be regarded as necessary essence. For the sharers, it’s also a dominant condition for practicing.

In order to help our Dharma brothers to make a better use of the 5-minute-sharing, facilitators may deal with it skillfully by promoting the methods and significance of sharing, but not to comment on any Dharma brothers’ sharing in order to avoid dampening his passion. In the meanwhile, facilitators should inform Dharma brothers that the 5-minite-sharings is to keep us mindful, it’s a training as well as a meditation. The Three-Level-Learning cultivates talents of preaching Buddha Dharma, therefore, to express effectively in the limited time is helping us to build the ability of altruism.

The Master told us, any kind of mental fabrications is formed from doing it deliberately to apply it skillfully. Our spiritual world is full of wild fancy, and it takes a long process from the swirling of thoughts to the right mindfulness, so do all the facilitators. They have ever practiced in the same way and still on the road. The only difference is that they started the Three-Level-Learning a little bit earlier than the other Dharma brothers. So facing the Dharma brothers’ sharing is also a test for themselves, which will boost their own study and practice.

Thanks for the methods of Three-Level-Learning, which give us more chances to reflect ourselves as an facilitator, and to grow up together with our Dharma brothers.