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How often do you see your Teacher?
Several times per week 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
Once a week 8%  8%  [ 3 ]
A couple of times per month 8%  8%  [ 3 ]
Once a month 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
A couple of times per year 30%  30%  [ 12 ]
Once a year 23%  23%  [ 9 ]
Once every couple of years 10%  10%  [ 4 ]
Once every several years 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
My Teacher has died 13%  13%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 40
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:48 pm 
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I'm curious how often most students see their Teacher these days. So I've created this poll. Thanks for voting in it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Well, do you include webcast? Then, I see CNN pretty often. My other Lama is kind of stuck in Tibet and I haven't seen him in a few years.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:51 pm 
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When I lived with him, it was pretty much "at meals."
Now it's a few times a month, though sometimes it's a few times a week, depending......

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Answered couple of times a year, which it has been for the last 10 years. Moving to Kathmandu soon, so hopefully contact will increase _/\_


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:50 pm 
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My teacher has died ten years ago. Of course I see as many other teachers as I can, but nobody compares to him.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:18 pm 
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Here's the thing, I used to see him 2x a month at tsog.

But now in advanced years, he's semi-retired in semi-retreat.
So, we see him when we can, so that usually means attending
group retreats he leads 1 or 2 or 3x a year, and the occasional
public talk or wang.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Clarence,

No, I am specifically asking about f2f meetings where the Teacher can see your body language, hear the tone in your voice, and ask you questions. Of course, all those things would be mutual in a f2f meeting.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:36 pm 
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I usually only get to see my teacher for interview once or twice a year as I do not have the time/money to visit his monastery more than that. I would like to do it more but then I'd have to practise more to justify the interview request :(

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Interesting that this thread seems to have plateaued at only seven (7) responses.

Clarence, is your "other" Lama Adzom Paylo Rinpoche?

Ngodrup, is your Teacher Bhakha Tulku by any chance?

In any case, I'm wondering if the lack of interest in this thread is because this forum is so heavily represented by students of ChNNR.

The reason I posted this thread to begin with is because I have mixed feelings about how many people are studying Vajrayana these days. Lamas come to the U.S. (for instance) maybe once a year or even less. During those visits, there may be public "retreats" and teachings, but often the rank and file do not get to have face time with the Teacher. So there is not the give and take of a close, personal relationship, the kind of relationship Yeshe Tshogyal had with Guru Rinpoche, Naropa had with Tilopa, Milarepa had with Marpa, etc. It used to be that really serious students would live with their Gurus for years or even decades. Even in the U.S., back in the day, many, many students, (maybe even most) had long-term, on-going, f2f relationships with our Teachers. We saw our Teachers on an almost daily basis and interacted with them in all of life's activities. This was typically not easy if both the Teacher and the student were really serious about practicing the Dharma, but it was incredibly powerful. After some time, the student realizes the inner and even secret levels of the Teacher and such face time becomes, at least in my experience, less. Nevertheless, I always choose studying with a Teacher I can have a personal, f2f relationship with if possible. Perhaps I'm dense enough I need that constant kick in the pants.

In any case, I'd like to hear how younger students in the Dharma feel they are doing with the kinds of long-distance relationships so many seem to have with Tibetan Lamas these days. As the Tibetan saying goes, "The student needs to be close enough to the Lama to feel the heat, yet not so close as to get burnt."

Thanks :namaste:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:45 pm 
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pemachophel wrote:
In any case, I'm wondering if the lack of interest in this thread is because this forum is so heavily represented by students of ChNNR.

That makes no sense.

Quote:
In any case, I'd like to hear how younger students in the Dharma feel they are doing with the kinds of long-distance relationships so many seem to have with Tibetan Lamas these days. As the Tibetan saying goes, "The student needs to be close enough to the Lama to feel the heat, yet not so close as to get burnt."

I think it wouldn't make much difference in regards to my practice if I had more chance to spend time with my teacher(s) in terms of being able to ask them questions, receive clarifications etc. since I have no questions that can/should only be posed to the teacher. There's something about being in the teachers physical presence though, so if I had an opportunity and circumstances to spend more time with him I'd be thrilled. I think just by being near him one's experiences can increase and practice can progress. I think this also goes for some practitioners.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:58 pm 
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I see my teacher once a year, if really lucky, twice. I get teachings, and have been fortunate to just hang out with him in the downtime. Lots of good memories.

I can email him with any concerns. Usually I get a response. Good for me.

Would I love to see him more often, sure. Is once or twice a year enough, yes.

I go over my recordings, read books...and above all try and meditate, put the teachings I get into practice.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Interesting question you are raising Pema Chopel. I have been thinking over that too. Personally, I feel that it is important for me that my Guru a) knows who I am, b) has an idea of where I am in my practice and what I am doing, and c) is available to answer a couple of questions per year. Mileage varies of course, and I wouldn't be surprised if I would give a different answer a couple of years down the road.

Best Regards,

Jens


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Regarding my main Guru; Up until he wandered into mountain retreat last year, I saw him every year for around 1 month, when he came to the UK. I travelled and stayed with him during that time. So I was fortunate to spend a lot of private time with him, both receiving teachings and leisure time. Also I visited him in India.

When I first met him around 10 years previously, he was relatively unknown, and I got to know him well and get close to him. Later he became in 'high demand' and travelled a lot. So I think from then on it was very difficult for people to connect with him on that level. I feel very lucky to have made a meaningful connection when I did.

To be honest I felt a little 'lost' when he went into retreat, but with the advice of his brother, another Dzogchen/Mahamudra master, I realised that Rinpoche had given me everything I need to get on with my life and practice, and that despite the fact he is living life as a wandering yogi and completely unreachable, I am never separate from him.

Also before he went into retreat Rinpoche's advice was to rely on his brother in his absence, so next year I am going on a 6 day Dzogchen retreat with him.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Pero,

It's not just the ability to ask questions and get clarification, although that's hugely important. In my experience, there are a number of other benefits of being f2f with a Teacher frequently over a long period of time.

1. You get to be in the presence of someone Who is skilled at and (hopefully) constantly in the View. This has a strong positive influence on one's own meditation, just as a stick lying in a sandalwood forest is said to eventually pick-up the smell of sandalwood. One gets "entrained" by the Guru's Wisdom Mind, sort of like "slip-streaming." You get pulled along by the Teacher's samadhi. If we call this blessings, then there are also the very real and powerful blessings of simply touching or being touched by the Teacher's body and partaking of a portion of the Teacher's food and drink. Even just seeing the Teacher is itself a huge blessing.
2. You get to see how the Teacher handles the whole range of human experiences and interactions with wisdom, compassion, and skillful means.
3. You get corrected on the spot (often in truly unforgettable ways) when you do something wrong. With a really great Teacher, it's not just your physical actions and words that may get corrected. My mind was like clear goldfish bowl. My Teacher always knew exactly what I was thinking and would often wryly call me on this or that lapse of Bodhicitta, morality, or even just basic mindfulness. Further, because the Teacher comes to know all your ego deceptions and bad habits, He or She can really zap the most important one's with laser-like precision for maximum benefit. In other words, the corrections are custom-tailored to your individual kleshas and karma.
4. Conversely, you (may) get immediate positive feedback and reinforcement when you do something right.
5. Hopefully, you hear lots of Dharma, receive lots of lungs, and get lots of ripening empowerments. If the Teacher has succeeded in bringing absolutely every moment of Their life to the practice of Dharma, the more time you spend with Him or Her, the more time you, likewise, will be practicing the Dharma as opposed to wandering about samsara.
6. You get lots of opportunities to make offerings to the Teacher, even if only a cup of tea, a glass of water, a single flower, etc., and to accumulate merit by physically serving the Teacher.
7. Whether it's trying to practice morality, develop one's Bodhicitta, or stabilize one's View, being in the presence of the Teacher helps you stay mindful (dren-pa) and aware of what you are doing at all times (she-shin).
8. You get lots of opportunities to see just how perfect your faith and your samaya are. Since we all begin with obscured mind, we inevitably experience wrong views about our Teacher. The more you are with a Teacher, the more of these opportunities arise. If we recognize these lapses in pure vision, we get the opportunity to correct them and thus sharpen the sword of our prajna.
9. And finally, in terms of asking questions, one may think they have no questions to ask. However, as soon as one goes into retreat, one typically immediately has questions about the details of whatever technique one is practicing. The ability to get these questions answered can save a huge amount of doubt and unnecessary discursive thought.

Truly the Teacher is a wish-fulfilling jewel. Hence the benefits of being in the Teacher's presence are far too many for me to even begin to enumerate adequately.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Stewart,

You are blessed by your choice of Gurus. I have no doubt that Mingyur Rinpoche will return. When He does, He will have set Himself apart from so many others of the Lamas of His generation. Mingyur Rinpoche has raised the victory banner of the practice of Dharma in the most wonderful way possible. He has torn a hole in the fabric of excuses we use to delude ourselves on why we cannot practice the Dharma the way the great yogis of previous generations have.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:40 pm 
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Thanks Pema,

I have tried to compose this reply several times now! Each time starting 'Mingyur Rinpoche this....' Mingyur Rinpoche that.....' but I cannot find the words to adequately convey his qualities and meaning to me. Sufficed to say that from my heart, I firmly believe he is an awakened master and I am honoured and humbled to have him as my Guru.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche told me it was essential to remember this especially whilst Rinpoche is in retreat, and to centre my Guruyoga on him.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:18 am 
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I usually see my teacher once or twice a week. But he's on travel for the summer now so I haven't seen him in a few weeks.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:03 pm 
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Tom,

You're very lucky in this day and age.

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Yes, you need a competent teacher. Someone who attempts to teach himself has a fool for a teacher.

My teacher is a fool. I am in the process of finding a new one.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:05 pm 
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pemachophel wrote:
1. You get to be in the presence of someone Who is skilled at and (hopefully) constantly in the View. This has a strong positive influence on one's own meditation, just as a stick lying in a sandalwood forest is said to eventually pick-up the smell of sandalwood. One gets "entrained" by the Guru's Wisdom Mind, sort of like "slip-streaming." You get pulled along by the Teacher's samadhi. If we call this blessings, then there are also the very real and powerful blessings of simply touching or being touched by the Teacher's body and partaking of a portion of the Teacher's food and drink. Even just seeing the Teacher is itself a huge blessing.

Why do you think it's necessary to be in the teachers presence for this though? IMO it's just our limitations/obscurations otherwise we'd be able to experience this all the time.

Quote:
9. And finally, in terms of asking questions, one may think they have no questions to ask. However, as soon as one goes into retreat, one typically immediately has questions about the details of whatever technique one is practicing. The ability to get these questions answered can save a huge amount of doubt and unnecessary discursive thought.

I did a short retreat and I don't recall any questions arising about what I was doing. IMO this depends on how well one is prepared before starting the retreat.
And in general I don't feel I have a problem with knowing what to do but with actually doing it...

Quote:
Truly the Teacher is a wish-fulfilling jewel. Hence the benefits of being in the Teacher's presence are far too many for me to even begin to enumerate adequately.

Yeah, I don't have any disagreement. But I think I also remember my teacher saying that if we want to be close to him we should do guru yoga and that there is no way to be any closer to him than that. So I think that for those of us that aren't so fortunate to be in our teacher's presence a lot of the time that's they way to go, lots of guru yoga. :smile:

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Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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