Buddhism without a teacher

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby lobster » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:22 am

Koji wrote:Years ago I read in a Tibetan book called the Blue Annals that the best teacher is your own mind. :reading:


:smile: I wouldn't trust my mind to take such excellent insight . . . :oops:
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby avisitor » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:46 am

My advice is to start where you are now and continue as far as you can go.
It is like when people want to learn how to play music.
Some people have so much talent that they pick it up and play great in just a few hours.
Others need help and a teachers guidance and discipline .. along with a few years.
Nothing wrong with learning on your own.
But, in the end, music is to be played so others can hear
And so it is with Buddhism ... hahaha
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:12 am

If you think about meditation like any other skill, from a practical perspective you can only get so far with books. In addition, books become exponentially more useful once you have the experience of a live teacher to monitor your progress, answer questions etc.

So really, if you were going to learn to cook, you could get a certain amount done with docs etc. on the internet, but eventually you would need to talk and be around other cooks (sangha), and hopefully have a relationship with a senior cook or Chef (a teacher) to further improve.

So, why not look for a teacher?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:38 pm

listen to your 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….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby LastLegend » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:40 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:listen to your heart


Good advice
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:26 pm

This practice is more like brain surgery than playing music. Sure, there may be some who are so talented they can just pick up their brains and go to town without reference to a guide or supervision or quality control. I can only speak for myself when I say that a mere mortal like me, someone who got interested in spiritual life largely because I was so miserable, confused, and capable only of making others unhappy that I positively had to make a change, is not well served by the Jus Start Choppin' option.

avisitor wrote:My advice is to start where you are now and continue as far as you can go.
It is like when people want to learn how to play music.
Some people have so much talent that they pick it up and play great in just a few hours.
Others need help and a teachers guidance and discipline .. along with a few years.
Nothing wrong with learning on your own.
But, in the end, music is to be played so others can hear
And so it is with Buddhism ... hahaha
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:58 pm

LastLegend wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:listen to your heart


Good advice

Au contraire.
Extremely bad advice. Listen to a teacher. At least for the first 25 years.
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:13 pm

Almost no one can pick up an instrument and "just start playing". At the very least it requires a ton of listening to music and learning to reproduce it, which liekly would go all the better when it involved listening to some kind of teacher or mentor.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:24 pm

Simon E. wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:listen to your heart


Good advice

Au contraire.
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….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:32 pm

In my experience 'listening to the heart' is usually a romantic notion.
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:56 pm

well, i didnt mean it as a romantic notion, but thanks for giving me the time and place to clarify what i meant. and why i meant it and how i meant it.
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….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby avisitor » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:37 am

Jikan wrote:This practice is more like brain surgery than playing music. Sure, there may be some who are so talented they can just pick up their brains and go to town without reference to a guide or supervision or quality control. I can only speak for myself when I say that a mere mortal like me, someone who got interested in spiritual life largely because I was so miserable, confused, and capable only of making others unhappy that I positively had to make a change, is not well served by the Jus Start Choppin' option.


Each person can see Buddhism in many different ways.
Each person comes to Buddhism from different points.

Anyway, I am sure that Buddhism without a teacher isn't the worse thing to happen.
It is still a beginning. Which I believe is the important part. Just starting ... 4 noble truths ... 8 fold path ... years of practice ... maybe awakening.
Who knows ... one may still find a good teacher along the way.
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:59 am

avisitor wrote:
Jikan wrote:This practice is more like brain surgery than playing music. Sure, there may be some who are so talented they can just pick up their brains and go to town without reference to a guide or supervision or quality control. I can only speak for myself when I say that a mere mortal like me, someone who got interested in spiritual life largely because I was so miserable, confused, and capable only of making others unhappy that I positively had to make a change, is not well served by the Jus Start Choppin' option.


Each person can see Buddhism in many different ways.
Each person comes to Buddhism from different points.


This is part of the problem, actually: the capacity for people to find ways to misdiagnose themselves and essentially believe their own B.S. It's true that there are many ways to do Buddhism and do it well. I'm all for pluralism. One thing all Buddhist traditions have in common is refuge. What does taking refuge mean? For starters, it means admitting to our own shortcomings and incompetence. It means coming to grips with the fact that we're not able to do it ourselves, and we need some guidance. The three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are structured in such a way as to provide that guidance. That's the beginning of real practice. Until then, you're studying, you're getting interested, and that's great, but in terms of practice you haven't even started and you may well be turning around in circles.

Yes, I'm speaking from experience here (that is, speaking as one who tried for a period to practice solo).

Anyway, I am sure that Buddhism without a teacher isn't the worse thing to happen.
It is still a beginning. Which I believe is the important part. Just starting ... 4 noble truths ... 8 fold path ... years of practice ... maybe awakening.
Who knows ... one may still find a good teacher along the way


Sure, there are worse things you can do, but what kind of measure is that? If you have the opportunity to do something really great, reject that and settle for something that is not entirely horrible? Why engage in years of self-directed "practice" on the off chance that one may find a competent teacher with whom one can only then get started, when it's entirely possible to actually make a start of it now? <--rhetorical questions

Life's short and uncertain. Let's not waste time or opportunity.
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby avisitor » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:40 am

Jikan wrote:Sure, there are worse things you can do, but what kind of measure is that? If you have the opportunity to do something really great, reject that and settle for something that is not entirely horrible? Why engage in years of self-directed "practice" on the off chance that one may find a competent teacher with whom one can only then get started, when it's entirely possible to actually make a start of it now? <--rhetorical questions

Life's short and uncertain. Let's not waste time or opportunity.


Well how does one know whether one has the opportunity to do something really great??
And, life is not simple. We all can't be like Buddha and leave their wife and child to go off looking for enlightenment.
Mainly cause not all of us are destined to become Buddha and benefit the world.

Years of self directed practice??
Not everyone who starts on this path will experience awakening in this life time.
There is no guarantee. It isn't like a college course where If one sticks it out til the end then one will get the degree.
Yes, life is short and uncertain.

Listen I don't disagree with you but let us not knock someone cause they haven't found a teacher or the opportunity to find a teacher ...
It isn't wasting time when one practices meditation.
It is a learning process too. And with practice comes opportunities.
It is not practicing and not starting that is a waste of time.
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Re: Buddhism without a teacher

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:58 pm

Jikan wrote:
Sure, there are worse things you can do, but what kind of measure is that? If you have the opportunity to do something really great, reject that and settle for something that is not entirely horrible? Why engage in years of self-directed "practice" on the off chance that one may find a competent teacher with whom one can only then get started, when it's entirely possible to actually make a start of it now? <--rhetorical questions

Life's short and uncertain. Let's not waste time or opportunity.



the thing is in my experience and opinion that the teacher can do you only so much. not all. and without being a pure and proper vessel there is really nothing the teacher can do. basically youre just leeching onto him waiting for him to solve your problems. this is not the case for all people but i think it really depends on the person. for me my devotion is stronger when farther away from each other and my determination and practice much stronger.

i dont feel the need to hang around with my vajrayana teacher alot necessarily because everything has its downside,. you can start seeing flaws in your teacher, judge him and make samsaric opinions and start to regard him as a normal human being. then you have no guru, no teacher, even if you see the teacher every week.

it is very circumstancial but from my experience our karmic situation is exactly what we individually ''need'' in order to develop in Dharma.


and we are talking on a very large scale of situational or circumstancial relationship. are we talking about a close relationship that you visit your dharma center few times a week or long distance guru disciple relationship, vajrayana , mahayana , theravada. all have different approaches, and also in point of view of vajrayana from my experience it doesnt really matter at all if i see my teacher once a week or once a year. its all up to me. my devotion, my determination, up to me if i open my heart for the blessings, if i have the determination and the blessings to connect my self deeply with the gurus heartmind or not. as in tilopa and naropas case, naropa had to be ready, be prepared for the transmission of mahamudra.

its an illusion to think that if you have the chance to see a teacher every week or more that it will just wipe away all your karma and troubles, mind poisons and samsara. close or far its up to you and you gotta be willing to do the work.
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….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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