Diamond Sutra – Buddha’s teacher, Buddha land
Further to the early teachings of – There is no Buddha who attained enlightenment, and there is no enlightenment to be attained, this chapter explains that the Buddha did not obtain any teachings from his teachers, and Bodhisattva does not adore any describable Buddha land. For a teaching that can be obtained is not the ultimate teaching, and a Buddha land that can be described is not the real Buddha land.
Therefore, the Buddha recommends us to explore and realize the Mind that is free of (not devoid of) physical senses, emotional states, mental thoughts, and all concrete and subtle phenomena. I.e. the Mind beyond all things (and nothing). This is the real teacher that the Buddha learnt from, this is the real Buddha land that Bodhisattva adores.
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ADORNING PURE LANDS, TEN
The Buddha said to Subhuti:“What do you think.? Did the Tathagata obtain anything from: he Dharma, when in the past He was with Dipamkara Buddha?”
“No, World Honoured One. When the Tathagata was with Dipamkara, He did not obtain anything from the Dharma.”
“Subhuti, what do you think? Do Bodhisattvas adorn Buddha lands (by their moral actions)?”
“No. World Honoured One.
“Because this is not real adornment; it is (merely) called the adornment of Buddha lands.”
“Subhuti, this is why all Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas should thus develop a pure and clean mind which should not abide in form, sound, smell, taste, touch and dharma. They should develop a mind which does not abide in anything.”
“…the Buddha did not obtain any teachings from his teachers…”
Truly, the true teacher is within and the best instrument is a pure, uncluttered, and unattached mind. But does not the physical teacher play an important role in guiding one to cultivate this tool and to be receptive to the inner teacher?
What you described is half of the true teacher. Truth cannot be perceived as purely “inside” or purely “outside”, is both inside and outside, and is neither inside or outside. So is true teacher.
Think about it. When a physical teacher appears in your life, is it a external teacher? or is a phenomenon which an “external” teacher is perceived by an “internal” awareness? In reality, they are merely mental labels the self-mind set up to described the self-driven, dualistic phenomenon.
When seekers of truth see this mental process through clearly, the mind is transcended and is quiet. Otherwise, it would continue to chase mentally and dualistically for causes and labels like a cat chasing its own tail.
To summarize, true teacher is both within and without, neither within nor without. Is both pure and dirty, attached and unattached, and vice versa. Therefore true teacher can be physical or non-physical; using Confucius word’s, can be a good guy or a bad guy; using Laozi’s words, can be a sage or a layman.
道可道，非常道。名可名，非常名。…. is this the essence of what you are saying? The teacher is everywhere…. in and is everything?
Closer. This is a good way to look at teachers. But still in the mind.
Having said so, physical teacher can be a real blessings. Imagine what would happen if Buddha’s disciples have not met the Buddha?
A good way to perceive teachers is like seekers of the moon perceive pointers of the moon. Bare in mind that there are different types of pointers that could point you to different perceptions of the moon!