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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Hello everybody, I'm new on this forum and to Buddhism as a whole! :)

Currently I'm dealing a bit with Theravada Buddhism though I must say I feel more connected to Vajrayana! I've read that in Vajrayana a teacher or Guru is absolutely essential, is that true?? I mean my problem is that I suffer from pretty bad Social Anxiety (I get physical symptoms around people) and I'm having a problem dealing with people in general. I'm not saying that I will never look for a Guru but I don't know if I would be able to search for one at the moment.

My question would be if there are actually people who practice Vajrayana without a teacher? And if that's even possible, at least some easy practices?

I'd really appreciate your help and looking forward to some answers :)

Thanks alot

and regards


PS: Sorry for my bad English :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Daniel83 wrote:

My question would be if there are actually people who practice Vajrayana without a teacher?



No, there is no such a thing. Everyone who practices Vajrayāna does so having received transmission from a Guru.

M

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:39 am 
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Vajrayana without a guru? How do you practice guru yoga without a guru?

Sounds to me like trying to win the Indy 500. On foot.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:18 am 
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Quote:
. . . that I will never look for a Guru but I don't know if I would be able to search for one at the moment


You have to start from where you are. Not from where the guru you are unable to connect with and his senior manifests decide is required . . . :smile:

Some practices such as Chenrezig, Tara and quite few others are complete paths, dependent on your sincerity.
There are many transformative vajra or wisdom practices at the inner wheel or hub of dharma. We all start as a small cog in a big wheel of dharma :yinyang:

Quote:
My question would be if there are actually people who practice Vajrayana without a teacher? And if that's even possible, at least some easy . . .


The question is one of feedback and advisement.
There are many who practice vajrayana and go on to Zen or Theravadin practice. It is not where you start. It is where you finish.

The Buddha did not start an esoteric tradition. However priestly witchcraft is always the final kaliyuga type power complex that requires a Maitreya (few hundred years to go yet) :woohoo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya
My teacher never minded whether I practiced Buddhism or not. How he taught would not even be regarded as teaching.
If you work from within your constraints, you may transcend your limitations. That is the plan.

I will put in a good word with the head of my lineage, which just happens to be you as a future Buddha. :bow:
OM YA HA HUM

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:48 am 
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:smile:
Just out of curiosity lets just change the actual question slightly.
let's make the question this:
Is it possible to start a practice of Vajrayana without direct personal one-to-one contact with a Guru?
Or more concisely...could such a practice be done with a sincere and dedicated student through direct on-line communications...the student and Guru not having to be physically being present in a room together?
To be clear, I' don't intend to be that student....I'm just asking the question.
I presume also, that would require a Guru also willing to try the experiment.
:smile:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:44 am 
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Quiet Heart wrote:
:smile:
Just out of curiosity lets just change the actual question slightly.
let's make the question this:
Is it possible to start a practice of Vajrayana without direct personal one-to-one contact with a Guru?
The Sutra path (renunciation, bodhicitta etc), yes. Deity practice and the like, no.

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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:20 am 
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What Konchog said. A lot of Vajrayana is built around the presence of a teacher, and is dependent on him. Not that I'm an expert, of course. Not even well read on the subject. But ask anyone, really. Well, anyone who has done the practice.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:58 pm 
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lobster wrote:

Some practices such as Chenrezig, Tara and quite few others are complete paths, dependent on your sincerity.



Without transmission from a guru, these are not paths at all.

M

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How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:11 pm 
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A path that is no path at all . . .
Sounds ideal . . .

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:16 pm 
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lobster wrote:
A path that is no path at all . . .
Sounds ideal . . .



Krishnamurti, etc., is aisle three, under Eastern Philosophy, along with the Eckhart Tolle, Adhyashanti and pop Zen books.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
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-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:54 pm 
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You can practice whatever path you like, but it is not Vajrayana just because you attack that label to it, and more than my clapped out car becomes a Ferrari if I stick the badge on it. Nor does it become a 'complete' path by the same logic.

In terms of the OP, social anxiety need not be a barrier. Some Gurus give teachings and support online, others will see you alone or in a small group. Ask around locally at first, and check out the threads here about different teachers.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Not that I think that I intend to disagree, if you mean what I think you mean.. :) But probably most Tibetans don't have a guru and It's not uncommon to think that access to a guru is something only for the rich or powerful, Westerners, etc. So unless the aim is to exclude a lot of Buddhist Tibetans from Tibetan Buddhism and then I thnk it's best to clarify exactly what is meant by 'practicing' Vajrayana, and perhaps 'guru' as well.

Best wishes
Lars


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:40 pm 
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zangskar wrote:
Not that I think that I intend to disagree, if you mean what I think you mean.. :) But probably most Tibetans don't have a guru and It's not uncommon to think that access to a guru is something only for the rich or powerful, Westerners, etc. So unless the aim is to exclude a lot of Buddhist Tibetans from Tibetan Buddhism and then I thnk it's best to clarify exactly what is meant by 'practicing' Vajrayana, and perhaps 'guru' as well.

Best wishes
Lars


I agree about the definitions.

I don't know about 'most Tibetans' but many simply revere and respect HHDL. If some TIbetans do not practice Vajrayana with a Guru, it is not a logical conclusion that we should follow suit. Anyway, I hope you have sound statistical evidence for your assertion that 'probably most' have no Guru and practice Vajrayana without one.

One of my teachers told us that whilst attendance at teachings is low, an empowerment would attract hordes of Tibetan followers on the basis of the fame of the Lama. Tibetan behaviour is not necessarily a good example to follow.

I don't think that what some Tibetans do alters the basic requirement of a Guru for Vajrayana practitioners.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:08 pm 
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thanks for your replies, guys, they've been very helpful, well maybe Vajrayana is really not for me, or maybe I'm not yet ready for it :) Thanks anyways


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Hi lobster,

You mentioned you have a teacher in a lineage. Would you mind specifying who your teacher is, or which lineage? that may help us understand your comments above.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:12 pm 
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I doubt there is any statistics about that. What I wrote is just a uneducated guess based on the people I have met. But my intention was just to note the existence of this population not argue about it's possible size. By 'guru' I meant personal teacher, that's what I think Daniel83 means too. Malcolm stated "transmission from a guru", as a requirement for Vajrayana, that's more precise, but then others were talking about gurus without specifying exactly what is meant. But maybe it's just common knowledge to everyone what it means to have a guru and I'm the only one who's confused.

Anyway,I did not make claims about what people should do or not and I'm not looking to argue with the orthodox point of view, sorry. I was just asking for some clarification about details that I didn't think were spelled out properly. :)

Best wishes
Lars


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:26 pm 
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zangskar wrote:
I doubt there is any statistics about that. What I wrote is just a uneducated guess based on the people I have met. But my intention was just to note the existence of this population not argue about it's possible size. By 'guru' I meant personal teacher, that's what I think Daniel83 means too. Malcolm stated "transmission from a guru", as a requirement for Vajrayana, that's more precise, but then others were talking about gurus without specifying exactly what is meant. But maybe it's just common knowledge to everyone what it means to have a guru and I'm the only one who's confused.

Anyway,I did not make claims about what people should do or not and I'm not looking to argue with the orthodox point of view, sorry. I was just asking for some clarification about details that I didn't think were spelled out properly. :)

Best wishes
Lars


it's fine. :)

Vajrayana has specific requirements in a Guru, hence a 'personal teacher' is not the same thing. Every Vajrayana practitioner has a Guru who is accepted as such within the Vajrayana. Otherwise, it is not Vajrayana. The OP now seems to understand this. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Daniel83 wrote:
Hello everybody, I'm new on this forum and to Buddhism as a whole! :)

Currently I'm dealing a bit with Theravada Buddhism though I must say I feel more connected to Vajrayana! I've read that in Vajrayana a teacher or Guru is absolutely essential, is that true?? I mean my problem is that I suffer from pretty bad Social Anxiety (I get physical symptoms around people) and I'm having a problem dealing with people in general. I'm not saying that I will never look for a Guru but I don't know if I would be able to search for one at the moment.

My question would be if there are actually people who practice Vajrayana without a teacher? And if that's even possible, at least some easy practices?

I'd really appreciate your help and looking forward to some answers :)

Thanks alot

and regards


PS: Sorry for my bad English :)


You can do some practices, like Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Padmasambhava, and Shakyamuni's mantras. Have the intention to benefit all beings. You can also pray to your teacher to come to you. You can't really do vajrayana practices until you've connected with a teacher in person, but you can start where you are. If you feel inspired by another teacher from the past, e.g. Milarepa, Padmasambhava, etc, you can also pray to them. Ask for the proper path to be shown to you, and for all obstacles to be removed and positive circumstances arise.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Daniel83 wrote:
Hello everybody, I'm new on this forum and to Buddhism as a whole! :)

Currently I'm dealing a bit with Theravada Buddhism though I must say I feel more connected to Vajrayana! I've read that in Vajrayana a teacher or Guru is absolutely essential, is that true?? I mean my problem is that I suffer from pretty bad Social Anxiety (I get physical symptoms around people) and I'm having a problem dealing with people in general. I'm not saying that I will never look for a Guru but I don't know if I would be able to search for one at the moment.

My question would be if there are actually people who practice Vajrayana without a teacher? And if that's even possible, at least some easy practices?

I'd really appreciate your help and looking forward to some answers :)

Thanks alot

and regards


PS: Sorry for my bad English :)


I know you said you have your answer, Daniel, but I want to chime in anyway. This is specifically about your obstacle. I don't know whether your symptoms are provoked by being around lots of people, or one or two people, and I don't know what country you are from. But I want you to know that some excellent lamas do not have dharma centers or large groups of people around them. Some prefer to keep things small, or have an allergy to self-promotion. I know several qualified and excellent highly respected Tibetan lamas in the Nyingma tradition here in California who it is pretty easy to visit alone, or with only one or two people present. It sounds like you are not from the U.S., but there might be similar "hidden yogis" where you live.

Also, I used to have a lot of anxiety, and it's not an issue for me since I applied myself to the foundational practices of my tradition--even after a couple of years of practice it was much better. It's individual, but there is a lot of hope that practice could help this.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:07 pm 
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Blue Garuda wrote:
zangskar wrote:
I doubt there is any statistics about that. What I wrote is just a uneducated guess based on the people I have met. But my intention was just to note the existence of this population not argue about it's possible size. By 'guru' I meant personal teacher, that's what I think Daniel83 means too. Malcolm stated "transmission from a guru", as a requirement for Vajrayana, that's more precise, but then others were talking about gurus without specifying exactly what is meant. But maybe it's just common knowledge to everyone what it means to have a guru and I'm the only one who's confused.

Anyway,I did not make claims about what people should do or not and I'm not looking to argue with the orthodox point of view, sorry. I was just asking for some clarification about details that I didn't think were spelled out properly. :)

Best wishes
Lars


it's fine. :)

Vajrayana has specific requirements in a Guru, hence a 'personal teacher' is not the same thing. Every Vajrayana practitioner has a Guru who is accepted as such within the Vajrayana. Otherwise, it is not Vajrayana. The OP now seems to understand this. ;)

I think OP was thinking on the lines of personal teacher, thus - usually - requiring some personal/social interaction. Anyway only Daniel knows.

Anyway I'm surprised you didn't mention Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. :) I did only follow one webcasted teaching from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche but in those 3-4 days, especially on the last day there was probably 10-15 different practices given. As you know I could hardly even manage to write the names of all of them down. :) Anyway it would seem like a solution for someone with social anxiety. The cost of membership and purchase of instruction manuals would probably be less than travelling anywhere in the physical world as well.

Best wishes
Lars


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