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How Does One Become a Vessel for Learning?

One who is non-judgemental, mindful, and unaffected by the position of one's own standing or that of others, is referred to as a Vessel for Learning. Of all the qualities vital to being a true Vessel, the single most important one is that of being non-judgemental; for one cannot discern reality while prejudice affects the mind.

Prejudice is the result of one's attachment to subjective view and one's aversion to any clarification which does not fit within the perimeter of one's relative understanding. Thus those who approach learning with pre-conceived prejudice will fail to perceive reality as it truly exists even if reality manifests before their eyes. To compensate what they perceive as a slight to their pride and to evade the acceptance of their lack of understanding on the subject, they often dismiss the significance of the explanation by various means of exaggerated aversions ranging from reciprocating kindness with insult, to holding on to false views as if they are real.

Apart from being non-judgemental, a true Vessel must possess bright intellect and conscientious aptitude which enables them to differentiate between worthy and unworthy explanations before implementing their findings into practice. Moreover they should always approach the teacher and the teaching in a manner which embodies the trinity of reverence, humility, and gratitude. The functional dynamics of this trinity of actions are many fold. Reverence, the first quality, is more than just being respectful, its presence in one's psyche enhances one's attentiveness and mindfulness, thus enabling one to receive the transmission of teaching in its entirety without added embellishment or missing of contents due to lapse of attention. Humility, the second quality, is the approach of not-knowing: whenever one approaches the absolute without pre-conceived ideas or expectation, one is in the most ideal position to receive the full measure, in its entirety, of what there is to be given. To be humble is to enable one to make room in one's psyche so that one has the capacity to receive. Gratitude, the third quality, is a mode of appreciation we express whenever something we deem as valuable has been given to us. The gratitude we express signifies how appreciative we are of the preciousness of what we have the privilege of receiving. Thus we will subconsciously take note to preserve this gift so that it will not be misplaced. Likewise, when we apply the same attitude to learning, we will perceive the teachings as precious jewels and take care not to misplace them. Thus we will be able to retain what we have learned.

Those who possess the qualities of a Vessel for Learning will have no difficulty in recognising the good fortune and benefit of having the presence of an Authentic Teacher from whom they can seek guidance. Thus they will develop a clear systematic comprehension of the teaching without fear of hidden obstacles and other imperfections of insight. While the transmission of the teaching may be authentic, if the learners lack the necessary qualities, they will not recognise their own defilements but will consider defilements as wholesomeness and wholesomeness as defilements. As a result, the advancement of their potential will suffer.