Callie Justice, GUIDING Teacher
In teaching, I try to distill the richness found in the early Buddhist texts (EBT) so as to provide a clear set of practices which people can learn and develop at their own pace and in their own ways. I also seek to help people learn to discern which practices are most useful to them for any given time and circumstance.
Learning to teach the Buddha’s path is like learning most things of depth and substance. It takes a long time and requires plenty of help. There must be time to walk the path yourself: to go down side roads long enough to learn that they eventually peter out, to run into obstacles and more obstacles and still more obstacles, and to learn, learn, learn from the things that ultimately do not work as well as from those that do. Finally, the things that work begin to come together and to form a whole. A whole path to walk. And a whole path to teach.
For help with developing my own practice and the teaching that I offer, I rely on regular study and contemplation of the discourses of the early Buddhist texts. For help in understanding what I find in the EBT I look primarily to four teachers: Bhikkhu Sujato, Bhikkhu Analayo, Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and draw much that is helpful from many others as well.
After over twenty years of practice, I find developing the Buddha’s path to be an always evolving, always beneficial way of living my days. Sharing this path with others deepens my personal practice and is a lot of fun. Here are a few reasons why:
I enjoy the challenge of looking for ways to communicate the practices and teachings of the early Buddhist texts that will speak clearly to people today.
When I teach, I get to know people who want to learn about what the Buddha taught. Seeing how each individual makes the Buddha’s path their own is inspiring and beautiful.
In teaching, I try to stay open to feedback from all participants, using their experiences to make what I teach more helpful. This gives me additional motivation to study and practice, so that I will continue to have benefits to offer to others along with the benefits for myself.
While much of the life of practice relies on the ability to find joy in stillness and seclusion, the challenges and the nourishment that come through involvement with other people are also a needed part of developing the Buddha’s path for me. I am especially grateful for close friends and family, for the clients who have worked with me in my psychotherapy practice over the past thirty-plus years, and for the many friends on the path I have found through participating in the Eno River Buddhist Community at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for the past twenty years. Special thanks to those who helped to create the Dharma Friends Community by participating in the small groups that form its foundation during the last six years.
The Guiding Counsel is responsible for overseeing the needs of Dharma Friends Community. Members of the Guiding Counsel are also are current participants in the Practice Deepening Groups. Together with Callie, they meet monthly to reflect on how to support the development of Dharma Friends.