It took me years to realize that esteeming or not defaming Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha could mean among other things, not teaching or training every person that asks. Over the years, I was taught and trained to protect the teachings, from the not entirely sincere, because some would use them for any number of unhealthy reasons that are too many to specify. On the other hand, there are those who collect a great number of people, using that to signify their relevance and power. I was once scolded by my own teacher, that to do so is an incredibly shallow marker and verifies our own lack of understanding as to what our True purpose is, and firmly told: "Please do not be a contributor to the catastrophe."
So when someone asks to practice with me, sometimes it's better, for the person and myself, for me not to answer. Maybe they just needed to go through the motions of asking. A lot of times they have no idea what they're asking for anyway. They've read too many books, with too much of a mishmash of what I call "Dharma data," in their head. They're not connected to the direct realities of real day-in-day-out practice which can be rather anticlimactic for the ego. To the ego, not much can be said of cleaning the bathroom, running the floors with rags, pulling weeds from the garden, or being instructed... "You're practice for today is to see if you can leave each encounter with others like a pond that hasn't been disturbed by your skipping stones on the surface for your personal entertainment." That doesn't seem like sitting toweringly like the Buddha, as imagined.
People "Asking for the teaching," are "Thinking," too much, rather than embodied in their authentic nature with the completeness of feeling. So many are ridding around with thoughts that aren't even really their own, which are dominating their True Self without their awareness. In truth, they don't notice they were asking themselves rather than me, anyway. The process of not answering when asked just kinda lets them get it out of their system. By doing so, I see many go away. There's no harm and no foul. There are plenty of people out there looking for "People as projects." That's not me. If they don't go away on their own, and it doesn't energetically intuitively feel like "Yes," I simply give them a firm no, keeping it moving, maybe suggesting someone else or remaining silent on the matter. Karma and Dharma... Cause, effect, and Grace matter.
Candidly I must admit, caught and captured by thinking at the time, I've gone against my intuitive nature on occasion. I've had front row seats and seen how doing so on my part contributed to not esteeming Buddha, Dharma, Sangha... and surprisingly appreciation and gratitude for what I've been given through the totality of practice. Those instances of failing the face of my teacher, have been lessons for me. They were an unnecessarily painful way to learn directly what was meant when I was cautioned otherwise. Pity and compassion are not the same things. Testing hot stoves can teach important lessons about accepting the reality of the temperature setting. Knocking an unripe apple from a tree doesn't make it ripe. These are not merely slogans or catchphrases. They are reality as Reality.
The above said I've learned to apply these same principles to recovery when people asked me to sponsor or mentor them. It's an act of kindness, though it's not always perceived as such at the time, to say no when intuitively it's no, and yes when it's intuitively yes. Later though... ahhhhh... wow... okay... I get it. Thank goodness.
What is the point of my sharing this? As always, that's up to You. I'm just living my life, sharing slices of experiences. You are living your life... making choices with the best of intentions. The only real question is who's... Buddha or what is transacting through Your authentic nature.
一We Are the Practice Itself