dyanaprajna2011 wrote:I consider myself a Zen Buddhist. I know that Zen is big on the student/teacher relationship, and some even say that you cannot properly or actually practice Zen without a teacher. However, I live well over an hour away from the nearest Zen center, and have no real way to get to either of those places. Is it possible for one to practice Zen without a teacher? If so, what's the best way for one to go about doing this?
With modern communication it's obviously very easy to get in touch with a hundred or a thousand teachers in order to ask questions. Having no teacher nearby need not be an obstacle in all ways.
My advice would be to start researching teachers that interest you, and take your time doing so. In the meantime it may be possible for you to learn a foundational practice - like breath-counting - from someone, and so start actually practicing on your own. Practice a lot. Once you choose a teacher (and assuming he/she chooses you back) go meet face to face as soon as your situation allows and start to practice according to the instruction you receive.
As experiences and issues arise, you'll need to check in with your teacher however it works to do so: many will make themselves available by email, even skype and so on. Of course ideally you should meet face to face as often as possible. But my point is that it might not be necessary to meet in person that often, especially during the foundational stage of your practice. There are many possibilities depending on your particular situation, capacity, obstructions and so on.