The Master-Disciple Relationship Revisited -
by Alireza Nurbakhsh. The relationship between a master and a disciple has often been characterized in Sufism as that of unwavering trust, where the disciple . /) defined Sufism as adab and warned his disciple of the grave consequences that . The master/disciple relationship thus came to play a dual role. traditional concepts of Sufi ethics and of the master-disciple relationship. To this . He asserts that when the origin of knowledge has been verified, its contents.
Thus one who knows God is also hidden. The Hoopoe embodies the belief that to be a Sheikh, to teach other people of this path, you must have returned to Kesret. On the other hand, for the Buddha the state of Enlightenment is constant, and he teaches his mendicants while he is still in the highest state. This is because, for the Buddhist, the idea of Salvation is not in some other plane of existence but in the world right now, in Present Moment Awareness — and thus the Buddha can communicate with the medicates, because he is experiencing the now.
Thus while the Sufi master must fall to a lower level of Enlightenment to impart his teachings, the figure of the Buddha speaks as a Buddha — and this is why the Hoopoe is not evidentially a teacher, while the Buddha is.
Another large difference can be seen in how the Masters teach their students. According to the Buddha, narrative is a construct which takes attention away from Present Moment Awareness.
Thus the Buddha denounces poetic language. We can see this lack of poetic language very clearly in the text, which is written to the point and lacking any embellishments. In Sutta 11, one of the shorter Suttas, we can see this clearly: The text is a guide-book above all, and in fact after Sutta 15 the text dissolves from stories into simple lists. James version of the text has metaphors that have become idioms of the English language.
Sufism in turn is based in allegory, using it as its main tool of communication about the incommunicatable experience. After the experience has ended and their selves are restored once more, Attar writes: As we can see, this is an experience above the logic of humans Mantiq which is what one uses to speak, and thus after experiencing Enlightenment the birds cannot explain what has happened to them.
Another reason for the many allegorical tales can be seen in the history of Sufism, which was spent mostly underground and hidden from mainstream Islam. As we can see, the Master-Disciple relationship in these two traditions is in heart is extremely similar.
Moses couldn't follow Khizr in pursuit of Divine knowledge. Perhaps he relied on himself and his mode of understanding first and foremost before relying on Khizr.
Perhaps the justification of an action for Moses was more important than following Khizr in the performance of the action. Whatever the reason, fundamentally Moses couldn't follow Khizr because he didn't have the unwavering trust in Khizr needed on the path. Unwavering trust in Khizr would have meant that despite Moses' ignorance of the true consequence of Khizr's actions, Moses should have followed Khizr without raising any questions or objecions either outwardly or inwardly.
Trusting someone is not an event that happens immediately. It usually takes us years of knowing and interacting with a person before we come to trust him or her.
We need to ask questions and examine the person's behavior before reaching the point of trust. When it comes to the master-disciple relationship, it would be quite unusual for a disciple to reach the stage of unwavering trust in the master upon being initiated into the spiritual path.
It takes years of perseverance by the disciple and a great degree of patience from the master for the relationship of trust to develop.Sadhguru Story - Sufi Master And Laymen
During this period of acquiring the quality of unwavering trust in the master, the disciple's expectation is for the master to behave in accordance with the disciple's familiar rules and conventions. It would be similar to the relationship between Khizr and Moses, where Moses expects Khizr to follow the conventional rules and laws.
However, once the disciple acquires unwavering trust, the relationship between master and disciple will be transformed to a new level, which goes beyond the world of regulations and conventions and the realm of justifications and reasons. They are reference points for the travelers of the path, in them they find a guiding light and refuge.
Sheikh (Sufism) - Wikipedia
This essential principle of the Sufi pedagogy is a reoccurring theme that resonates like a bell from the master-disciple relationship. The soundness of the stations of those who have attained to the spiritual stations through their ethical conduct with God — Most High — is that their bodily members are constantly in motion in His service and in accord with His commands to the extent of their abilities. For God — the Exalted — spoke: Whoever, then should apply his abilities to other than being mindful of God has squandered its equivalent [in worthy deeds].
The Prophet — May the peace and blessings of God be upon him — said: They were only commended to serve and worship God sincerely [al-Bayyina: Stratton Hawley, in Saints and Virtues, ed. John Stratton Hawlew Los Angeles: The writings of formative Sufism articulate clearly that this development takes place within a context of individual reorientation or a process of spiritual transformation.
Transformation and change are an inherent process to the human state, within the Islamic context however, some participation in this process is generally assumed to be a necessary facet of religious life.
The mentors and exemplars of Sufism, as interpreters of the Quranic and Prophetic models, have from the earliest times, provided their communities with practical guidance. The most dynamic aspect of Islamic spirituality is the process of individual transformation or personal reorientation of the ego-self that accords with the foundational sources of the tradition.
The degree to which a person was a participant in this process was reflected in the degree to which they were contributing to the ethical discourse that was the mainstay of this process and in turn of Islamic society itself. The aspirations of Islamic society from its outset in seventh century Arabia centered on the establishment of an exemplary community that commanded the good and forbade evil, ethical conduct was the active principle that animated this society.
Postscript 25Ethics has been the central thread of traditional scholarly discourse in the Muslim world for over fourteen centuries. This discourse has not been specifically centered in any one region or time period, rather it has been the shared heritage of the multi-faceted cultures that make up the Muslim world. It is not, however the centuries of scholarly discourse that lend ethical discourse its relevance today. We live in a time when the ethical values that have traditionally been the foundation stones of our societies have come under question.
In the eyes of many these values are in need of re-evaluation. Globalization, political activism and radical religious ideologies have forced upon many people today a view of the world in which the only ethical options offered are a choice between secular humanism or a pragmatic ethics of survival. This dilemma is not unique to one faith tradition over another, or to one historical period over another.
Given, however, the clear-cut nature of the framework from which Islamic culture has traditionally drawn its ethical inspiration, i. I believe that making the works of Sufism accessible to a broader reading-public could have a positive influence in the present discourse.
Notes 1 The educational implications of the study of Islamic law and the social impact of the institutionalization of these legal and theological schools in the madrasa that arose across the Islamic world has been studied in depth by George Makdisi and others.
See George Makdisi, Rise of the Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West Edinburgh: Studies in Memory of Professor George Makdisi, ed. Stewart, and Shawkat M.