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Spiritual Teaching: How it Works

Amir Freimann Interview with Stephen Fulder on 20/10/2015(Edited)


Amir: Let's start with Stephen as a student – who were your teachers and who do you still consider as your teachers today?


Stephen: In the Theravada tradition that I've been practicing and involved with, the principle of a single primary teacher (Root guru, or ‘Satguru’) is not relevant, and so I've had plenty of teachers. My first teacher was S.N. Goenka, but the relationship with him was impersonal, as he was teaching thousands of students. In Goenka’s tradition, based on a Burmese lineage, the teachers teach the practice rather technically and don't really relate to you as an individual and to your issues or your life. They are masters at passing on to you a technique and motivating and encouraging you to practice intensively.


Amir: But even though you say there was no personal relationship with Goenka and he was just communicating the teaching in a technical way, there was something about him that made him a better vehicle for the teaching than many others in that tradition. There was a reason why you went to see him and not hundreds of other teachers. There must have been something about the person that is an important factor in the transmission of the teaching.


Stephen: Yes, I only did one retreat with Goenka himself, who is charismatic and inspiring, and after that I did about a dozen with Sayama. She c