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The Right Teaching

Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)

Once, there was a renowned monk who lived in a beautiful monastery with many of his pupils. His teachings were known to be very effective and many of his students grew up to become great masters themselves.

One day, one of them was caught stealing from his fellow students and they reported him to the monk. But he took no action against the boy.

A few days later the same boy was again caught stealing. And again, the head monk did nothing to punish him.

This angered the other students who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief. They threatened to leave en masse if the boy was allowed to stay in the monastery.

The teacher called a meeting of the students. When they had assembled, he said to them: “You are good boys who know what is right and what is wrong. If you leave, you will have no trouble joining some other school. But what about your brother who does not even know the difference between right and wrong? Who will teach him if I don’t? No, I cannot ask him to go even if it means losing all of you.”

Tears coursed down the cheeks of the boy who had stolen. He never stole again and in later life became renowned for his integrity.

Moral: The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery

The simplest of stories can provide profound insights if we spare a meticulous look into them. The story about ‘The Right Teaching’ speaks about a monk helping his student overcome the seemingly simple vice of stealing. However, the approach adopted by the monk can be imitated by us to overcome our vices. Here’s how we can be our own teacher and gradually defeat our shortcomings:-

Identify and Admit

The first step to discard our vices is to identify and acknowledge them. This might not be as easy as it appears as we are often unaware of the nature of our vice. For example, watching television might seem harmless until it starts to swallow time that we could have spent studying, meeting friends, or pursuing our hobby. The world created on the TV can be highly captivating and so it can be challenging to understand and admit that we have been wasting too much time while binge-watching it.

Gauge the Impact

Once you choose to discard your vice, it is important to provide yourself with a changed perspective. Avoid defending your vice and choose instead to analyse how it has been impacting your life. Sometimes, it is helpful to use humour to your aid. It can relieve you of the guilt associated with your vice. Admitting by being brutally honest and funny that you choose ‘internet over friendship’ or ‘TV over hobby’ can help you elease the grip of your vice quicker.

Have Faith

As we start to give up on our vices, we might occasionally get possessed with chasing them again. However, if such a scenario occurs, try to stop yourself by taking five deep breaths and then making a conscious decision. Punishment is not always the right way to deal with our vices. Just as the monk had faith that his student would become better, we as our teacher must have faith in ourselves and believe that we will overcome our vice gradually and not overnight. You can even discuss the matter with your parents or a responsible friend who would motivate you when you are discouraged to continue.