The Power of Students

A painting of Xi Chun demonstrating painting to her friend. This is from the rare book Beautiful Women by Hwa San-chiuen.


The Often Underestimated Power of the Student

Many of us have heard the quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." This has been credited to a handful of authors. In trying to trace the original source of this quote, DErnestWachter on WikiUniversity traces the phrase back to a passage in the Confucian Analects. This book is often referred to as the Chinese Holy Bible.

The original phrase is:
 “三人行,必有我师焉;择其善者而从之,其不善者而改之。

This can be loosely translated as: 
"three people are walking in the forest, at least one of them can be my teacher."

Different Ideas Based on the Original Phrase

Like all good pieces of wisdom this phrase can mean many different things to many different people. Here are some of my thoughts as it relates to all of us as a Chinese Brush Painting Extended Family

  • Teachers are all around us. What triggers our awareness of them is our commitment to self discovery and evolution. A dedication to constant and never-ending improvement turns every experience, every observation into a learning experience.
  • One of the most powerful ways of learning, is to teach. Don't ever shy away from an opportunity to teach.
  • You are constantly teaching through the clarity of your own example. Often just having a fun get together even virtually where you share painting time and make each other available for encouragement and feedback. We've worked with many successful teachers over the years whose main strength was being friendly, encouraging, and sharing the love of painting. Anyone up for a virtual painting party on Zoom?
  • The intention of the student is just as powerful as the intention of the teacher. In fact, according to the phrases above, it is the intention of the student that summons the teacher. Don't ever give up your power as a student. A good student can learn from the worst teacher.
  • Don't be afraid to try different teachers or ways of learning. So often as students, we are ruled by our comfort zone. Have the courage to seek more powerful situations for you to learn.
  • OAS is literally a vast treasure trove of materials, inspiration and instruction for Chinese Brush Painting but we understand some people may need a key to unlock this treasure trove. The key is self confidence that, through the time tested process of trial and error, you can learn anything especially when you have the support of the OAS Family to answer any questions.

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