So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby tktru » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:45 am

So this has been a situation I've been wrangling with for months, wondering whether or not I should even be vocal about the dilemma I've been placed in. I've been a practitioner of Shingon Buddhism (as some of you may know) for nearly three years now. At least I still THINK I am. Obviously I am aware that Shingon practice is rare outside Japan, so it is a given that having entered this path it would indeed be a difficult path to tread. Also, I do not have many Shingon practitioner mentors or teachers to talk to that would understand my matter.

The last time I spoke with my teacher was over a year ago and since then my calls have remained unanswered, my emails unreplied. These several instances have caused roadblocks on my path and training and at this point I am at a dead end. My wish is to eventually become fully ordained in the future, and that I need to work hard to improve myself in practice, but how can I do that when my teacher is refusing to even say "hello" to me? Will it make a difference if he even replies?
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Ayu » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:54 am

Did you have e-mail-communication before? I heard, that many buddhist teachers reject the possibility of e-mailing.

Is there not something like your "inner guru"? Means: a mental connection within deep meditation?

Sorry, I don't know anything about Shingon. In tibetean Lojong-Teaching it is recommended to use obstacles for the path. Means: one better learns to use his legs by climbing a hill than by beeing pushed in his back all the time.
Or: if there is never anyone who annoys me, how can I train on my patience?

"(3) When the environment and its dwellers are full of negative forces,
Transform adverse conditions into a path to enlightenment
And instantly apply to meditation whatever I might happen to meet.
The supreme method entails four actions to use."
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... ition.html
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:06 am

Is visiting your teacher an option?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby tktru » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:17 am

I wish. We formerly exchanged emails regularly. Usually my teacher was still up around midnight (operating under Japan time) and he would answer emails then. I do admit that around 2011 our relationship became very chilly when we both had a mutual disagreement, but in my mind I thought we were still cordial. From what I have heard, his number has not changed. I could just visit him at his center/residence at any time but I wouldn't feel right just going up to his place one day and risk intruding on private property. I am feeling rather despondent at this point, feeling as if my efforts the past two years in placing my full faith in the Shingon teachings were for naught. (Once again, obviously I am aware that Shingon practice is rare outside Japan.)
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Lindama » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:31 am

It's clear that this relationship with your teacher is not working, why do you persist. Look at that and your disappointment. Then move on. How can reality be wrong? This maybe the best lesson of your life, it will take a while to move beyond. If you think that much of your former teacher, consider that they took the appropriate action. One day, you will bow down with gratitude, but not too soon! It will well up, you need do nothing. I was deeply betrayed by my teacher, gratitude is all that is left. And, I am free. I thought I would die before I got over it... complete illusion! It took a few years in my case, but I had more face to face before the split.

many blessings,
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Berry » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:31 am

I agree with Linda.

Let it go and move on. Free yourself from unnecessary stress.

Wishing you well,

Berry
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"Don’t burden others with your expectations. Understanding their limitations can inspire compassion instead of disappointment " ~ Chagdud Tulku
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby philji » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:08 pm

Couple of options.
1. Go knock on his door and to hell with it...just see what happens..could be something you haven't considers..is he sick?
2. Explore other options within Buddha dharma that don't lead to so much stress.... :meditate:
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:34 pm

[quote="Lindama"]It's clear that this relationship with your teacher is not working, why do you persist. Look at that and your disappointment. Then move on. How can reality be wrong? This maybe the best lesson of your life, it will take a while to move beyond. If you think that much of your former teacher, consider that they took the appropriate action. One day, you will bow down with gratitude, but not too soon! It will well up, you need do nothing. I was deeply betrayed by my teacher, gratitude is all that is left. And, I am free. I thought I would die before I got over it... complete illusion! It took a few years in my case, but I had more face to face before the split.

many blessings,
linda[/quote

" Its clear that this relationship with your teacher is not working "...

That is in fact far from clear. It may be working exactly as it should.
The teacher/pupil relationships within Buddhadharma may not conform to norms outside of Buddhadharma.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:37 pm

philji wrote:Couple of options.
1. Go knock on his door and to hell with it...just see what happens..could be something you haven't considers..is he sick?
2. Explore other options within Buddha dharma that don't lead to so much stress.... :meditate:



The relationship with a real Buddhist teacher may involve all sorts of mental states..including a temporary INCREASE in stress..
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Berry » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:53 pm

Simon E. wrote:
That is in fact far from clear. It may be working exactly as it should.
The teacher/pupil relationships within Buddhadharma may not conform to norms outside of Buddhadharma.


The relationship with a real Buddhist teacher may involve all sorts of mental states..including a temporary INCREASE in stress..


It may also conform exactly to norms outside of Buddhadharma, in which case encouraging someone to try to accept increases in stress could be harmful.

Who decides who is a "real" Buddhist teacher anyway ? I'm sorry if this offends anyone but gullible people can get brainwashed by all the hype they hear at some Dharma centres .
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:16 pm

You have no means of knowing that tktru is a 'gullible' person.
Or that his teacher is a fraud. Neither you nor I know the dynamics of their relationship.
So to leap in and hand out advice would be precipitous.

The fact is that at various points in a Buddhist student/ teacher relationship the teacher may withdraw for a while . It happens. I don't know that this is the case here.
And neither does anyone else apart from that teacher.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:16 pm

It depends on how deep the relationship is with your Teacher. Do you see him as your Guru and have you made a personal commitment to the relationship and to see him as an enlightened being in your own heart? If so, then you should never abandon this relationship even if he seems to abandon you. There are clearly some obstacles and it's best to see it as purification. If you read the story of Milarepa, his Guru Marpa deliberately mistreated him in order to purify his obstacles and negative karma from killing 36 people at the request of his mother. Mistreatment from the Guru can be seen as a part of the spiritual path. The other options are, maybe he is sick or very busy? Is he at a Temple where you can write and find out how he is?

In any case, you can view what is happening as purifying your inner obstacles to developing deep realisations of Shingon teachings. You can also engage in some purification practice of negative karma such as Vajrasattva or prostrations in order to remove any obstacles or inauspiciousness that may have been created in your relationship. You can make requests to your Teacher in your heart to help and care for you. If you create many auspicious causes through sincere faith and purify any obstacles, your spiritual practice will progress anyway. Perhaps this non-response from your Teacher is an encouragement to do these things.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Ayu » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:06 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:It depends on how deep the relationship is with your Teacher. Do you see him as your Guru and have you made a personal commitment to the relationship and to see him as an enlightened being in your own heart? If so, then you should never abandon this relationship even if he seems to abandon you. There are clearly some obstacles and it's best to see it as purification. If you read the story of Milarepa, his Guru Marpa deliberately mistreated him in order to purify his obstacles and negative karma from killing 36 people at the request of his mother. Mistreatment from the Guru can be seen as a part of the spiritual path. The other options are, maybe he is sick or very busy? Is he at a Temple where you can write and find out how he is?

In any case, you can view what is happening as purifying your inner obstacles to developing deep realisations of Shingon teachings. You can also engage in some purification practice of negative karma such as Vajrasattva or prostrations in order to remove any obstacles or inauspiciousness that may have been created in your relationship. You can make requests to your Teacher in your heart to help and care for you. If you create many auspicious causes through sincere faith and purify any obstacles, your spiritual practice will progress anyway. Perhaps this non-response from your Teacher is an encouragement to do these things.

I agree, thank you. Didn't find the right words myself.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Berry » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:29 pm

Simon E. wrote:You have no means of knowing that tktru is a 'gullible' person.
Or that his teacher is a fraud.


That's not what I said.

In general, I think its a mistake to imagine all teachers are like Buddhas and all centres are like Pure Realms, otherwise why would we get so many scandals emerging with teachers in more than one tradition , Tibetan Buddhism and Zen being the first that come to mind, as well as squabbles over practices and hierachy etc.
That's not to say that there aren't genuine people around of course, but sometimes I think its a good idea to keep one's feet on the ground and one's head out of the clouds, in order to connect with them successfully.

:namaste:
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Lindama » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:56 pm

Berry wrote:
Simon E. wrote:
That is in fact far from clear. It may be working exactly as it should.
The teacher/pupil relationships within Buddhadharma may not conform to norms outside of Buddhadharma.


The relationship with a real Buddhist teacher may involve all sorts of mental states..including a temporary INCREASE in stress..


It may also conform exactly to norms outside of Buddhadharma, in which case encouraging someone to try to accept increases in stress could be harmful.

Who decides who is a "real" Buddhist teacher anyway ? I'm sorry if this offends anyone but gullible people can get brainwashed by all the hype they hear at some Dharma centres .


This is the 21st century, we have seen this "blind trust" (sorry, I have to put some label on it) at the bottom of too many scandals to dismiss this.

As I heard it, there is no contact... that leaves one without a teacher. Pretty clear to me. It's not like there is a some process going on here. So, any other ideas are added on to the bare fact that there is no contact. As far as the teacher being sick, another excuse for bad behavior... any responsible teacher would announce a change in their availability. In these dangerous times, the last thing we need is to be taught dependency and to look the other way against our instincts.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:20 pm

Berry wrote:
Simon E. wrote:You have no means of knowing that tktru is a 'gullible' person.
Or that his teacher is a fraud.


That's not what I said.

In general, I think its a mistake to imagine all teachers are like Buddhas and all centres are like Pure Realms, otherwise why would we get so many scandals emerging with teachers in more than one tradition , Tibetan Buddhism and Zen being the first that come to mind, as well as squabbles over practices and hierachy etc.
That's not to say that there aren't genuine people around of course, but sometimes I think its a good idea to keep one's feet on the ground and one's head out of the clouds, in order to connect with them successfully.

:namaste:

Indeed,
But speculating about details in specific cases over and above the given facts is one variety of papanca. And papanca is incompatible with Buddhadharma.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:22 pm

Lindama wrote:
Berry wrote:
Simon E. wrote:
That is in fact far from clear. It may be working exactly as it should.
The teacher/pupil relationships within Buddhadharma may not conform to norms outside of Buddhadharma.


The relationship with a real Buddhist teacher may involve all sorts of mental states..including a temporary INCREASE in stress..


It may also conform exactly to norms outside of Buddhadharma, in which case encouraging someone to try to accept increases in stress could be harmful.

Who decides who is a "real" Buddhist teacher anyway ? I'm sorry if this offends anyone but gullible people can get brainwashed by all the hype they hear at some Dharma centres .


This is the 21st century, we have seen this "blind trust" (sorry, I have to put some label on it) at the bottom of too many scandals to dismiss this.

As I heard it, there is no contact... that leaves one without a teacher. Pretty clear to me. It's not like there is a some process going on here. So, any other ideas are added on to the bare fact that there is no contact. As far as the teacher being sick, another excuse for bad behavior... any responsible teacher would announce a change in their availability. In these dangerous times, the last thing we need is to be taught dependency and to look the other way against our instincts.

In the absence of facts that is all papanca. You are speculating about two people unknown to you.
In the absence of more detail than has been revealed you have no way of knowing that there is or is not a process happening.
Neither have I.
What is a fact is that in esoteric Buddhism processes may not be immediately obvious even when present.
Many of us have experience of that..
Last edited by Simon E. on Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby ngodrup » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:32 pm

You do the same as if your teacher has died.
You continue as you were, with guru yoga, and your practices.
The more you practice, the better you practice, the more you are
magnetizing the condition of receiving more teachings.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:35 pm

ngodrup wrote:You do the same as if your teacher has died.
You continue as you were, with guru yoga, and your practices.
The more you practice, the better you practice, the more you are
magnetizing the condition of receiving more teachings.

Exactly.
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Re: So what happens when your teacher stops talking to you?

Postby philji » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:58 pm

Simon E. wrote:
philji wrote:Couple of options.
1. Go knock on his door and to hell with it...just see what happens..could be something you haven't considers..is he sick?
2. Explore other options within Buddha dharma that don't lead to so much stress.... :meditate:



The relationship with a real Buddhist teacher may involve all sorts of mental states..including a temporary INCREASE in stress..

Yes I agree if there is a relationship.
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