PadmaVonSamba wrote:But whenever I see him, I still try to throw hard questions at him,
and he still throws harder answers back at me.
You just can't get that without a teacher.
So, don't deprive yourself of that opportunity, should it arise.
That's really cool, and one of the best incentives to actually hope I find a decent teacher at some point I think, cheers!
And shel, yeah, some of what you say there is what I was probably aiming towards with my first post, but I didn't feel right just coming out with it I guess. Maybe memories of being at E-Sangha and people getting into so many arguments back there made me think I didn't really want to open up a can of worms or something so I skirted around it and just hinted maybe.
But it's also cool, because now I'm starting to remember more of why it's probably important to have tradition, teachers, and even a control system of some degree. It just seems like if we didn't have any of these things, we could seriously risk losing track of what the real teachings are, having lines of teachers that are connected to the awakened ones of the past and present, and also just a basic watering down of what Buddhism actually is if there's not as many genuine teachers around to keep focus. Maybe Buddhism without the whole organisation behind it would just turn into some new-agey muddle of bits and pieces of what the real teachings actually are in the not-too-distant future and then we'd really be in a mess trying to wake up.
So even though I can clearly see that everything isn't perfect, maybe I should just be grateful that the "control system" that keeps the sutras and teachings intact is still here for us to learn from today. It would be cool if there was more acceptance that yes, people can learn on their own, and can be given more support to do that in a better way, but maybe things like that are really going against the idea of safeguarding the teachings and the teachers via the whole organisation, so that's possibly something for the future.
I'm not sure what actually possessed me to make the thread anyway, maybe it was partly that Mara had got me to participate in a wind-up session, (Maybe this emoticon sums that thought up :
) but I guess I also just wanted to see what type of answers would end up arriving. Maybe I'm just making up for my lack of a teacher and need people to talk to from time to time about these things too, but if that's the case I'll be more straight forward next time and just try to ask what's on my mind more.
One last thing for now :
It's clear that most Buddhists go along with the idea that you need a teacher to help you through tough phases during meditating, but is it possible that some type of thorough guide that lists as many of the pitfalls and solutions that can arise during meditation would be able to at least help in some fashion with that? And to follow that, is that maybe what texts/sutras like the Abhidharma tried to do in the past? Saying that though those texts are obviously really heavy, and checking through all the possible different experiences and problems seems like a maddening idea to say the least. Maybe it really is just easier to have a teacher to help with that, but it's still interesting to wonder what type of texts some teachers/meditators could come up with if that was possible to some degree. (I'm not saying any text would be perfect or even anywhere near as good as a teacher, just as a helpful guide for those without one. It'd probably be pretty dense though with quite a few lists!) But also, yeah, you then run the risk of people getting seriously
attached to words, lists, concepts, texts, and so on, and then mistaking the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself quite a lot more. Maybe a slap around the head from a teacher is just needed from time to time, lol. (even if it is mostly a metaphorical one.)
Anyway, I'm honestly starting to think I've about used up all my "without a teacher" and "control system" questions and problems, and have even kind of come full-circle and am actually seeing why it's there in the first place, so thanks for all the help and also putting up with me from the first post, when the responses could've probably been a lot harsher than they were.
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72