|Jizo of West Boylston|
I just received the following text from my beloved colleague Mike Fieleke, Sensei. It's from Joan Halifax, Roshi, and beautifully describes the stages of the student-teacher relationship. In my experience, as a student and as a teacher, all three of these stages are equally important. Thanks Mike Sensei and Roshi Joan!
"On considering a student's relationship with a teacher: I have often said that a student's relationship with her or his teacher can go through three phases. The first phase is the phase of idealization. Here the student's enlightenment is projected onto the teacher. The second phase is demonization – the student withdraws the projection of the ideal from the teacher, and projects her or his negative complexes onto the teacher. That’s usually when the student abandons the teacher. But, if possible, the negative projection is finally withdrawn and normalization begins to unfold, the third phase, where there’s a relationship that’s based on the realization of differences in capacity, and where there is affection and appreciation. In this phase, a phase associated with maturation, there’s intimacy, transparency, and love in the relationship. I have learned that it is truly beneficial for a student to understand this process in order to enter into a more realistic and less deluded and reactive relationship with her or his teacher."