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Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:01 am


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David N. Snyder
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:28 am

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retrofuturist
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:50 am

Greetings Chris:::, all,

In taking refuge in the Buddha, I take him as my teacher... I take the Dhamma as the teaching, and the (Ariyan) Sangha as the exemplars of those who have used the Dhamma to achieve the results the Buddha taught.

I have been taught many things by many people on the Dhamma but do not have a student-teacher relationship with any of them. My relationships are predominantly in the form of kalyana-mittas (spiritual friends).

In time, I may come to have an actual "teacher", but I don't see it happening in the near future for two main reasons. The first, and most obvious one, is a matter of time and proximity. The second, is that I'm yet to encounter anyone with whom I'm completely in accord and in agreement with other than the Buddha himself. Inevitably I foresee a situation where this hyptohetical teacher says one thing, which I simply cannot bring myself to agree with because I believe the Buddha taught otherwise... an impasse would be reached. It wouldn't be fair to me and it wouldn't be fair to the teacher.

Thus, for the foreseeable future, the Buddha will remain my teacher, but I will be forever open to others shining the light onto the Dhamma and illuminating it in such a way that they focus my awareness onto salient aspects of the Dhamma, even though I am not formally their student and they are not formally my teacher.

On the other hand, I can potentially see a situation in the future where if I'm interested in furthering my meditation beyond a certain point, a teacher may come in handy... but that will be a case of meditation technique, rather than doctrine.

Metta,
Retro. :)

P.S. Thanks for the kind words Ben.
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dan74
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:16 am

A friend has a very similar attitude to yours, Retro, and I respect it 100%.

But on the other hand, I don't find it necessary that the teacher and I agree on every aspect of Dharma, nor that my teacher be perfect or even better than me in every way. In a way if I hold such high standards, I am unlikely to ever find a teacher, or find one I will not eventually be disappointed in.

Chogyam Trungpa was a teacher many here would shudder at having I guess. His ethics were very strange to say the least, he died of alcohol related illness, and yet he left an amazing legacy with Shambala, Naropa University, people like Pema Chodron and Judy Lief mentioned on the Death thread. These people's practice was profoundly transformed by Trungpa as was thousands of others.

Of course I am not recommending such characters for everybody. Just to say that when our conceptual framework is too tight, the practice will inevitably be shacked by them. And on the other hand a frustrating difficult teacher who challenges us may succeed in knocking us out of whatever rut we may have dug for ourselves.

Anyway enough :soap:

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:18 am

I think it's great that some people manage to make progress without live teachers. I think that I would personally have found that impossible. However, I'm confused about Retro's statement about disagreement. To me a key feature of live teachers that I trust is that they can point out problems with my practise or interpretations.

Metta
Mike

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:21 am

_/|\_

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:48 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby appicchato » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:19 am


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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:39 am

-An excerpt from an articled called "Good Company - Friendship in the Spiritual Community"-

There is an intriguing account of a conversation between the Buddha and his disciple Ananda, whose name appears frequently in the Buddhist scriptures. He was the Buddha's younger cousin, and the two must have known each other since Ananda's boyhood. In the last 25 years of the Buddha's life, Ananda was the Buddha's personal attendant, storing up the Buddha's words so that they could be passed on to later generations. We can also see from these accounts that the Buddha and Ananda were close friends.

At the start of the discourse in question Ananda approaches the Buddha, intent on sharing a thought. Something – perhaps the cumulative affect of day-to-day association with the Buddha – has suddenly made him realise that such 'lovely companionship' is far more crucial to spiritual progress than he had imagined. He enthusiastically declares, 'Lord, this spiritual friendship, spiritual companionship and spiritual intimacy is no less than half of the spiritual life.' 'Say not so, Ananda,' the Buddha replies. 'It is the whole, not the half of the spiritual life.'

The rest of the article is .

:namaste:


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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby christopher::: » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:43 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:02 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:37 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:59 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:08 am

Greetings Mike,

I'm pleased it's working for you, then.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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siaophengyou
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby siaophengyou » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:22 am


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christopher:::
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby christopher::: » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:16 pm

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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kc2dpt
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:23 pm

- Peter


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siaophengyou
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby siaophengyou » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:08 pm

Retro,

perhaps you haven't met a Teacher with a Great qualities which arouse your faith to practice just by seeing him. Only then you will realize that any intellectual or theoretical speculation is useless in the practice. Those Teacher indeed a real Noble Disciple of the Buddha.

with metta,

siaophengyou

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:43 pm

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retrofuturist
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Re: Sangha or Teacher: Which is Most Essential?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:09 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine


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