The Three Ways Of Listening

Lesson Plan

The Three Ways Of Listening

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Summary This simple lesson about the three ways of listening, based upon the classic "Three Defects of the Pot" teaching can be adapted for students of many ages as a playful way of exploring the connections between attitude and learning.
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This lesson explores how notions and attitudes can open or close the door to meaningful learning. The three ways of listening are based on a classic Buddhist teaching about the three defects of the pot, which says: 1) Not listening is like being a pot turned upside down; 2) Not retaining what you hear is like being a pot with a hole in it; 3) To mix your own preconceived ideas or negative emotions with what you hear is like being a pot with poison in it. This framework has been taught over the centuries to help bring awareness to the obstacles we might bring to our practice. The goal is to encourage mindful listening in order to fully receive what is being shared. This teaching can be found in the book Words of My Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche, and in other classic texts. Illustrations by Alicja Żmigrodzka for Middle Way Education.

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