Simon E. wrote:
listen to your heart
Extremely bad advice. Listen to a teacher. At least for the first 25 years.
i think the context here to what i said this was quite similar to mine. there is no teacher nearby. you rely on books and look for a teacher. buddhism without a teacher was the thread's name. so it is saying there is no teacher. so how can you listen to a teacher if you dont have a teacher. i agree that the right way to go is to have a teacher and listen to him, a master disciple relationship, that is a key factor of the path.
this advice is personal experience. that you need to listen to your heart cause that will guide you to your teacher. that is ultimately the place where youre teacher is.
of course you should listen to the teachers advice in your books but you will also have to feel and agree in your heart. contemplate, meditate and analyze the teachings. and accept them in your heart when you agree and find them accurate, truthful and beneficial.
this advice was to a person who is not in close contact with a resident lama in a center or has not met any lama, allthough i think listening to the teachers advice is the most essential thing to do in that kind of situation.
but then again i think the context is here that we are talking in real life living being contact to each other. not books.
so i.e i have the chance to move to another city where there is a nyingma lama Rimpoche living there. i havent met him yet and im going to his center when i have the chance. in anycase i dont like the city where i live. so i have to make sure the karmic connection is right and he is the right lama for me. and to do this i have to listen to my heart.
in my case i am a little yes and no about changing cities, currently my practice is going well seeing rarely rinpoche's on empowerments and teachings. so you have to be ok with the toll it takes for you to be close to a teacher if the karmic circumstance is not not all flowery in everyway. you have to feel also in your heart that what feels the most beneficial way to practice dharma.
personally i think that in the first 2-5 years from starting the path of BuddhaDharma ( vajrayana ) you will do just fine meeting rinpoche maybe once in a year or so. what i think is essential is your own effort, determination and devotion to Dharma. your effort counts. the teacher has very little to offer if you dont work with yourself. and personally i think even the teacher for me would be very helpful, for me, it is the best thing to do to prepare and make myself as pure of a vessel as i just can in the time im in no contact with a teacher. again i think a lama, teacher , a rinpoche is very essential to vajrayana. but you still have to do the work. in our modern age you can learn most of the teachings of vajrayana mahayana and hinayana and even some teachings on mahamudra and dzogchen. but still i think the in life contact teacher becomes only really essential and a necessity when you are well on your way through ngondro practicing anuttara yoga tantra and mahamudra. of course you need instructions for your practices. this is essential.
i notice in my own experience that it would be nice to have a teacher as to be my support and comfort but this is lazyness and showing not enough devotion and determination to the path of Dharma.
you can do it just as well up to some point if you dont have a teacher close by. by listening and applying to the teachings, and listening and feeling your heart. or should i say intuition instead of heart.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....
In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….