Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system?

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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby oushi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:54 pm

“You think I can make you enlightened – that’s why these forty-two years have gone by and you have not attained. Perhaps after my death, within twenty-four hours you may become enlightened. For these forty-two years there was a hope that I would do something. Nobody can do anything. Be a light unto yourself.”
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:38 am

oushi wrote: If you don't know about something, you do not suffer from it.


If ignorance is bliss, then why practice dharma?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:56 am

oushi wrote:
no one else can tell you about your suffering, because it is your experience and you will not achieve anything by lying to yourself about it.

Sorry, but his is all jumbled nonsense.
It is true that your suffering is your own experience, yours and yours alone.
But that doesn't mean that nobody else can tell you something about it that you don't know,
or teach you how to end it.
Otherwise, the Buddha wouldn't have done that.
Furthermore, just because someone else gives you the tools you need
or helps you to use the tools that you already have
to end suffering
doesn't mean that you are lying to yourself about it.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby etinin » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:40 am

I was a little skeptic about empowerment and the need of a teacher. All doubt faded once I actually got empowered by a guru I trusted and started practicing the respective saddhana.
--Karma Rigpe Wangchuk

"Meditation brings wisdom. Lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back."
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby ground » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:53 am

Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system?


If the idea of needing a teacher arises in the affirmative and refering to felt self, how could this idea rightly be called "control system"? :sage:
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:16 am

:smile:
Not necessarily .... but sometimes it is used as a control to get people started in the right doreection.
Everyone is different .... they have different needs and desires.
A good teacher has the experience to see what a beginner needs and start them out well.
When I worked in Turkey there were Cranes that lived in nests on the local telephone and electric poles around the area.
The parents fed and cared for the young chicks, until it was time for them to learn to fly.
The parents would help the nestlings exercise their wings .... showing them how to flap their wings until they became strong enough with their wings.
When the paents thought the nestlings wings were strong enough, they would no longer bring food into the nest for the nestlings.
Instead they woulf leave the food for the nestlings on a nearby branch of a tree, so the humgry nestlings would have to fly to that nearby branch to eat.
Once the nestlings got good at flapping their wings just to get to that nearby branch, the parents would move the food a little furher away.
That's how the parents taught their nestlings to fly.
Funally, one day, the parennts no longer brought food to the nestlings ... if the nestlings were hungry they had to fly off with the parents to hunt food themselves.
Good "Teachers" do the same thing.
You can fly, so eventually you'll have to be flying yourself, you see.
Teachers are just there so you can learn that fact.
:smile:

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Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby rob h » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:37 am

Anders wrote:
    Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help. If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn’t need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you’re so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you’ll understand.


Am totally familiar with that quote, as it's stuck in my head over the years whenever I've thought I could go it alone, and probably rightly so. Liked the part about you learning to sit for 60 mins at a time too, something I don't think I've done before yet, (maybe around 40-45 mins, but definitely not 60.) should definitely give that a try and might do over the next few days, so thanks.

Am going to get a clock (I've never often checked the time until after I've been done.) and try it shortly anyway.
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby tobes » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:03 am

jeeprs wrote:
Tobes wrote:Who's doing that work? What is being worked upon?


That's the question! think that in Buddhism, in particular, 'what does the work' is 'insight'. It is the very process of 'seeing things as they are' that is the factor of liberation. In the Vipassana schools, it is taught in terms of dependent origination, whilst in the Mahayana schools, it is taught in terms of Śūnyatā.

So it is true that the processes being learned about are 'internal' but they are in a sense also unconscious or not fully disclosed to conscious introspection. There is a barrier to overcome in order to really 'get' that insight. And I think that's where the role of the spiritual teacher (mentor, director, guide) is indispensable.


Well I suppose the distinction you're pointing to might be more related to whether the tathāgatagarbha is considered to be innate or merely a signifier for potential.

If it is the former, then we are in the domain of already having enlightened mind within us, which is concealed and must become unconcealed. I think it is true to say that the many Mahāyāna traditions which hold that view, also hold that a teacher is necessary (or at least, an easier way) to make that transition.

But if it is the latter, then I don't think there is much difference with the vispassana schools. Śūnyatā and pratītyasamutpāda are two sides of the same coin: this implies a causal path to awakening, which I think, implies the psychological logic of the Abhidharma. That is, insight is not something to be revealed by someone else, or unmasked, or unconcealed - it is something to be developed, cultivated, grown over time.

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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby rob h » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:05 am

Anders : thanks! Just managed to sit through my 1st hour at the 1st attempt, but it was not easy. The last 15-20 mins didn't involve much meditation because it involved extreme levels of pain in one of my legs as I approached the hour. The only thing that got me through it was the thought "Do you want to sit through this all over again as you try to approach 60 mins for the 1st time?" That thought alone made me focus more than freaking out about the pain and it worked.

One thing I wasn't expecting though was the levels of fear as I tried to remain still (didn't shift my hurting leg, left it as it was.) through the pain. Was in a state of shock for the first min or so after finishing, but laughing shortly after. A learning experience though and something I expected I'd have to face eventually, so thanks again. :namaste:
Last edited by rob h on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby tobes » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:06 am

dorjeshonnu wrote:
tobes wrote:the process of moving from moksha to nirvana involves arriving at your own insight;
not precisely

this involves arriving at a jina's insight
while such a thing may await some seeker
in its event it appears as a particular instance
as a phenomenon it is not some thing that is owned

taming your own faculties; harnessing your own mental processes; developing your own understanding
victory requires hearing and putting to use

without receiving a buddhist view
there appears no arena for taming
no bridle for harnessing
no process for developing

Factors of absorption, faculties, path factors, powers, wholesome and unwholesome roots...
each resulting from causes

Who's doing that work? What is being worked upon?
aggregates

external things may be necessary conditions to facilitate that transition
while this point seems to have been acknowledged as an afterthought
it does not seem integrated into the statements quoted above

content of teachings, the skillful means of teachers - but the processes are really internal processes.
these are processes of relation, not merely interiority


Sure. I agree with everything you say here. But what are the most important processes of relation?

I think it is pretty clear in the Abhidharma that they are the internal processes.

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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby oushi » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:52 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
oushi wrote: If you don't know about something, you do not suffer from it.


If ignorance is bliss, then why practice dharma?
.
.
.

Because they are no two. If ignorance is not selective, it becomes detachment. Practicing dharma is not about gathering knowledge, as it is only description, so the source of delusion in the first place. But because communication is done through the media of knowing, dharma is like a thorn used to pick up a thorn or suffering.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby muni » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:30 am

Where is all that needing and not needing other than in my idea, caught in apprehended habitual dreaming system? That is what one can trust, habitual eyes can see it!

I love Jeeprs' words so much: "the history of ideas" A bell. Ding ding ding!

Anyway I am going to shoot all phenomena-teachers appearing wrong in my mind, out! How dare they appear like that!

Maybe "one" need to suffer a lot before little clarity is seeing the nasty suffering control of ego, which is the control.

Maybe then that little clarity will bow in devotion for the compassion of the awaken master/awaken nature (own nature), and see that how phenomena seems to appear is not how they are.

:namaste: Thank you for yours kindness.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby muni » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:29 am

My ego cannot help to awaken beings.

A view of a right teacher is difficult to describe but 'one dominating others' is not a teacher.

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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:40 pm

rob h wrote: The last 15-20 mins didn't involve much meditation because it involved extreme levels of pain in one of my legs as I approached the hour. The only thing that got me through it was the thought "Do you want to sit through this all over again as you try to approach 60 mins for the 1st time?" That thought alone made me focus more than freaking out about the pain and it worked.


You can combine sitting meditation with walking meditation, 30 minutes of sitting, 5 minutes of walking, alternately. This way your legs and back won't get as stiff and uncomfortable. You have to train your bones and muscles.
Then, you can have a nice session of meditation lasting for hours and hours and hours!!!!

That may sound unimaginable. But people do it. To teach in Tibetan Buddhist traditions, you (usually) have to have finished at least one 3-year retreat. That's a lot. It also helps to weed out those who are perhaps not as qualified to teach others.
It is amazing how much our minds demand to be entertained, to be "doing" things. One really begins to see how much movement there is in the mind, and how it takes a lot of practice to bring the mind to a point of stillness, of letting it just rest in awareness. Just to sit and basically do nothing (although it seems that a lot of people do that) is really a hard thing to do at first.

It is natural for all sorts of things to come up in meditation...physical, mental, emotional, and a lot of questions arise. This is where a qualified teacher can really help, because they have been through these things before, not only through their own experiences, but with so many other students. Even though everyone is different, a lot of the same issues keep popping up over and over again. Thoughts that won't leave, various fears, and so on.

Often things come up that we feel are huge obstacles, because of our perspective, because they are emerging from our own minds. For example, sometimes people feel a little panic attack, because the mind is feeling like it's starving, and they start to freak out a little. Or, people experience a little bit of clarity, some level of calm mind that they have never felt before, and in their minds they make a big deal of it. The think maybe they have just become enlightened. It's sort of like a toddler learning to walk. These things turn out to be very minor issues and they pass.

I will make a wild assumption, and that is that most (but not all) who have strong objections to having a teacher do not practice meditation with any regular consistency, or for any long periods of time, and that their understanding is thus more observational and academic, rather than as a result of practice. I am not saying that's a bad thing in itself, but it is not the same thing.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby rob h » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:43 pm

There's so much I agree with in your post Padma that I'm not sure where to start. With the combining meditations, yep, have known of that for a while and one thing I've often liked doing is going for walks late at night and trying to hold concentration and so on. I know you can do it in quiet places during the day and all, but night around here (it's a village.) is great for getting a peaceful walk most of the time so have done that often, even if it's not been as good as the way people can be trained to do it.

One thing I had to do with that hour though was drag myself out of my comfort zone. With not having a teacher, if you're not taking yourself out of your comfort zone I don't think you're doing it right at all. You have to often try to imagine the levels of discipline and training people are getting with teachers and then use as much of your awareness as possible to work out how to instill that type of thing in yourself. (Or of course, just get your own teacher! Something I'm increasingly seeing as the better option after all this time.) I'm not going to pretend I've been great at it consistently, and I know consistency really is key with meditation, but I've often seemed to progress well in short spaces of time by really trying to push myself. So for instance if I've not been consistent, I'll eventually get my focus back most of the time and try to meditate several times a day to kind of catch up and regain that focus, etc. But yeah, even though I've been very aware of the importance of consistency, that's one of the key areas I've also failed in, and that has to be sorted out if I'm ever going to truly be able to get to any type of decent place with what I'm doing.

Mainly though with that hour it was the thought of failing and then having to go through it all again! So I sat in pain for the last 15 mins, which might not seem like much, but it was kind of bad because I wasn't aware how much the pain would get to me as I tried to force myself not to move my legs at all. It's also great because now the idea of sitting for 20-30 mins (my usual time when meditating properly.) is kind of funny! What I'll try at now is to sit for 30 mins each time, which will be way easier after the 60 mins, and gradually push myself to 45 mins at a time if possible. Then, if I decide I want to try to push to regular 60 min meditations, there's only that last 15 mins, and as you know, if you get settled with a certain time it's not so hard to sit for that extra 10-15 mins.

It's kind of baffling that I didn't try this earlier, but that's what you get for not having a teacher I guess! Am now thinking that as you increasingly learn to sit for longer amounts of time, you start to understand the relation between mind and matter, (even though any division isn't actually "real.") and how your mind can overcome that type of pain and so on. Also how it's often the mind and the hindrance of restlessness and anxiety that causes it in the first place. The main problem, along with the pain, was the near constant inner dialogue about how the pain was there, which made it get worse each time. Once I settled my mind in places to try and concentrate again, it did actually pass a little. Obviously with regular meditations like that it seems like the mind can really learn to control those types of things in many areas, and that's partly what meditation is about.

Just so any posters know too : I do realise now that the opening post in the thread has several errors in it, and it's already kind of daft thinking about it. I suppose I was at a down point with my own practise and this was a strange way of getting back here to talk to some of you and learn some more... The importance of the Sangha really hits home at times like this.

And yeah, to finish, agreed that many of the ups and downs of meditation are often looked back on as delusion or nowhere near the problems they appeared to be at the time. That also helps when going through current issues too, as a reminder that they're probably not as bad as the mind, or the conditioned mind, makes them out to be.

edit : Oh and a 3-year retreat, now that is training! Whenever I have meditation problems I should really try to remember those people, it'll probably make my own issues seem very comical most of the time.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:49 pm

The more a persons moves out of their comfort zone, the bigger it becomes!
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby rob h » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:59 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The more a persons moves out of their comfort zone, the bigger it becomes!
.
.
.


Haha! That's pretty awesome.
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:38 pm

I got nothing to add here except to encourage rob h in his practice of Dharma. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby dorjeshonnu » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:54 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:It is true that your suffering is your own experience, yours and yours alone.
not entirely correct

samadhi built upon the rupa-skandha as pratyaya can access an experienced series of moments

note that without explicit permissions such an activity can be considered incredibly rude
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Re: Is the idea of "needing" a teacher just a control system

Postby dorjeshonnu » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:54 pm

tobes wrote:Sure. I agree with everything you say here. But what are the most important processes of relation?

I think it is pretty clear in the Abhidharma that they are the internal processes.
google this:

"the notion of a cut off or private (acausal) interiority is essentially meaningless"
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