Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:34 pm

Without a doubt! :lol:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:35 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Image

WARNING: Operation players are NOT real doctors!

:lol:



Without a doubt! :lol:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:59 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:I am going to try a meditation meeting at a local zen-center under Thich Nhat Hahns order. But as much as I think I would enjoy mmeting the man himself, I worry I'll feel alienated among the followers. That happens quite often, even with the most well-intended people.


Just take it one step at a time. Try to relax and enjoy the experience, don't worry about finding a teacher etc at this stage.

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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Bhavana » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:37 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:Hello all,

I have a problem. I have come to understand that many consider it a bad idea to try the buddhist path without a teacher. However, the number of teachers in any given order are very few here. My problem is I have difficulties connecting with other people and often feel uncomfortable or distressed in the company of strangers. It's very rare for me to find somebody I feel I can trust, and from what I gather this is absolutely essential when choosing a teacher.

I think it may be diccifult to understand for someone without my condition (I have Asperger's, a mild form of autism). But given what I've told you, what would you suggest? The reason I find it difficult to trust people is mainly that it's difficult for me to detect when someone is insincere and I have difficulties understanding hidden agendas. But more than that, I am both physically and mentally repelled by most people. I prefer them from a distance, I often feel invaded by others. Since meditation practice and following the buddhist path would open up the very core of me, I am afraid I would not be able to handle ending up with the wrong teacher. In fact, just the process of visiting local centers and talking to teachers makes me break into a cold sweat,


I feel the same way as you do - mainly because I am just one of those antisocial loner types. I prefer to be alone, with my animals...the things l like to do are mostly things I can do alone - I have very few friends, and have to force myself to go out and spend time with other humans. I could go weeks without leaving my house, and it wouldn't bother me in the least. So yeah, social settings and people - especially lots of people - can be stressful.

I don't have a teacher, and don't even know yet what direction i am going in. Just taking it day by day right now. I did hear about a local get together and I am going to try that in a few weeks. It seems very low pressure, and i am looking forward to it. Maybe you could try something like that.
Good luck to you.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:38 pm

At ZFI I was adviced to keep looking for a teacher, meditate for stillness only and be careful about reading without the guidance of a teacher. This is a nbit demoralising for me. What do I do then? How do I keep my motivation for meditation without reading?
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:04 pm

I'd have to disagree, reading will help you understand the practice.
Also it will help you find a tradition that you feel is for you.
If everyone waited to read until they found a teacher then what would be learned and where would you ever find an idea of what you're wanting to experience.
I've found the people here to be extreamly helpful in explaining things I have read and don't understand.
Get a simple book, like Buddhism for Beginners. And it will help you understand things better.
I wouldn't suggest getting books that are deeply written about the Sutras or other more "involved" books as they may overwhelm you, trust me there lol.

I hope this helps a little bit.

Kindest wishes, Dave
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One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:08 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:At ZFI I was adviced to keep looking for a teacher, meditate for stillness only and be careful about reading without the guidance of a teacher. This is a nbit demoralising for me. What do I do then? How do I keep my motivation for meditation without reading?


I disagree. If you want to read a sutra, go right ahead. However, find a good commentary on the sutra that explains the meaning behind it.

However, as I said, it's good to at least go for a 1 or 2 day meditation retreat in the tradition you're interested in to learn meditation properly. If you can't do that, then set up a meeting at a center where you can go there for an hour or so to receive instruction.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Fruitzilla » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:15 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:At ZFI I was adviced to keep looking for a teacher, meditate for stillness only and be careful about reading without the guidance of a teacher. This is a nbit demoralising for me. What do I do then? How do I keep my motivation for meditation without reading?


Hi AF,

I find everyone is to some extent afflicted by the "I did it this way, and it worked for me, so everyone should do it the same way" syndrome.
If I were you, I wouldn't take too much notice, and go on exploring, asking and trying out. I bet you'll find a way that suits you.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mojo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:34 am

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:At ZFI I was adviced to keep looking for a teacher, meditate for stillness only and be careful about reading without the guidance of a teacher. This is a nbit demoralising for me. What do I do then? How do I keep my motivation for meditation without reading?


ZFI is targeted specifically toward Zen, which traditionally requires a direct student-teacher relationship. If you ask a question on that forum, especially in the Ask a Teacher subforum, you will generally be advised to seek a teacher. This is traditional Zen.

Based on what you've said, I'm not convinced you are looking to practice conventional Zen. You've indicated your interest in the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. And though he is a monk in the Zen tradition, I don't think he teaches traditional Zen, at least toward the lay community, though Zen is absolutely a part of him and therefore to taste his teachings is to taste Zen. I don't think his teachings require the one on one teacher-student relationship of traditional Zen. I think if you practiced what he taught in his books and never had a direct face to face encounter with a teacher or ever sat with a community of peers, you would still learn how to better touch and transform suffering. Perhaps later, when questions arise in your practice that you need help with, you can seek help from a teacher or group of peers at that time. Or not, and that's ok. =)

:namaste:
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:53 pm

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I have no intent of diving into complicated sutras about tantra and such. I'm solely focused on the eightfold path and mindfulness meditation. I will keep reading and see if any particular lineage appeals to me enough that I will go look for a teacher.

:namaste:
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mojo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:21 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:Thank you for your words of encouragement. I have no intent of diving into complicated sutras about tantra and such. I'm solely focused on the eightfold path and mindfulness meditation. I will keep reading and see if any particular lineage appeals to me enough that I will go look for a teacher.

:namaste:


I'm currently reading two of his books that I think go hand in hand on how to practice. One is about Buddhism a written recording of his talks at a 21 day retreat focused on mindfulness, "The Path of Emancipation". The other is "The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching". The first part is his explaination of The Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path. I loved this section. I'm still reading through the second half where he discusses many of the other important Mahayana/Zen concept - which is also helping me to understand the paradoxical, often confusing language of this school. So basically two books that seem to cover engaged Buddhist life on and off the cushion.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Angelic Fruitcake » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:49 pm

"The Heart of the Buddhas Teaching"


I'm reading that one too, for the umpteenth time. I have actually read quite a few books, more or less advanced. Several by HH Dalai Lama, but also Suzuki, Aitkens, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Words of My Perfect Teacher and a few more.

I'm waiting for my new books to arrive. More Thich Nhat Hanh and also Buddhadasa and HH Dalai Lama's book on Dzogchen. And some more Jon Kabat-Zinn. He's a delight.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:51 pm

Angelic Fruitcake wrote:HH Dalai Lama's book on Dzogchen.


If you have an interest in Dzogchen, definitely pick up "The Crystal and the Way of Light" by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mojo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:55 pm

My knowlege of Dzogchen as well as pretty much all of Tibetan Buddhism is completely superficial and probably wrong. For example, I'm under the impression that Dzogchen is just the evolution of Zen in Tibet and that all forms of Vajriana practice require devotion to guru, as tantric practices can be dangerous without proper guicance.

Like I said, I could be way off. I'm only going off some brief skimmings of wikipedia and a couple forum threads.

I ask and point this out because I was at the half-price bookstore yesterday and almost bought "Losing the Clouds, Gaining the Sky: Buddhism and the Natural Mind" which I looked up on Amazon and saw a review that called it Dzogchen-Lite, which scared me - probably due to my ignorant understanding of Vajriana - so I put it down.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:05 pm

    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:11 am

I feel much the same as the topic starter. I never felt like I belonged to this world, to American society, to capitalist society. I don't like the company of most other people. Since I discovered Buddhism in 2008 via books it made me change my life. It made me stop doing drugs, contributed to my going vegan and want to avoid other non-virtuous activities. It made me realize that most other people are toxic, negative influences. It is like they say in Buddhist teachings, humans have much more potential than to just seek pleasure and avoid pain, even animals can do that. However if you look at your immediate environment, unless perhaps if you are in a monastery, everyone just seeks out greed, hedonism and to avoid what is unpleasant. It is not a very inspiring example, it drags you down closer to their level even if you want to seek a more virtuous path you just get discouraged.

However I have done more bogarting, wasting time, reading books, than actual mediation. Partly because my life is more of an existential crisis than something immanently livable and I have lots of negative sub-conscious beliefs, discomfort, and a bad environment. I can only wonder if I was more serious in my practice how different my life would have been. In the beginning of 2011 I went on on a week health retreat and it made me feel alot better while there, because the people there were oriented toward self-improvement and gossip was discouraged. Even though I didn't know those people people I felt much better around them than amongst my own family and so called friends.

I read a little in e-sangha about a Chinese Buddhist monk, Hsuan Hua, who become quite renowned without the benefit of a sangha, recourse to a monastery, or much retreat, but just using his own discipline to meditate in his own village. But I don't think I, or most people are like that, that we can follow his same methods. I realize now that it would be better if I find a sangha and teacher, but it doesn't seem there are many in northern New Jersey where I live. And even if there is one, I intensely don't trust most other Westerners. It seems everyone just centers their life on their relationship to money and vices in their spare time like tv, internet, drugs, alcohol. I wonder can even dharma practitioners be any different? Can they ever overcome the negative karma of the deeds they must make in the name of corporations to procure a living?
Last edited by Thrasymachus on Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby conebeckham » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:29 am

Thrasymachus wrote:I feel much the same as the topic starter. I never felt like I belonged to this world, to American society, to capitalist society. I don't like the company of most other people. Since I discovered Buddhism in 2008 via books it made me change my life. It made me stop doing drugs, contributed to my going vegan and want to avoid other non-virtuous activities. It made me realize that most other people are toxic, negative influences. It is like they say in Buddhist teachings, humans have much more potential than to just seek pleasure and avoid pain, even animals can do that. However if you look at your immediate environment, unless perhaps if you are in a monastery, everyone just seeks out greed, hedonism and to avoid what is unpleasant. It is not a very inspiring example, it drags you down closer to their level even if you want to seek a more virtuous path you just get discouraged.


Yes, Samsara is a nasty piece of work, isn't it? Don't forget, though, all those humans suffer from the same crap --they deserve compassion.
Congrats on changing your life, though--seriously, giving up drugs and such is a great thing for many of us.

However I have done more bogarting, wasting time, reading books, than actual mediation. Partly because my life is more of an existential crisis than something immanently livable and I have lots of negative sub-conscious beliefs, discomfort, and a bad environment. I can only wonder if I was more serious in my practice how different my life would have been. In the beginning of 2011 I went on on a week health retreat and it made me feel alot better while there, because the people there were oriented toward self-improvement and gossip was discouraged. Even though I didn't know those people people I felt much better around them than amongst my own family and so called friends.

Three steps--Listening, reflecting, meditating. No need to rush any of those, and there's no abandoning the first two when one gets to the third--at least not for a good long while. Retreats are great, and spending time focused on practice is a wonderful thing.


I read a little in e-sangha about a Chinese Buddhist monk, Hsuan Hua, who become quite renowned without the benefit of a sangha, recourse to a monastery, or much retreat, but just using his own discipline to meditate in his own village. But I don't think I, or most people are like that, that we can follow his same methods. I realize now that it would be better if I find a sangha and teacher, but it doesn't seem there are many in northern New Jersey where I live. And even if there is one, I intensely don't trust most other Westerners. It seems everyone just centers their life on their relationship to money and vices in their spare time like tv, internet, drugs, alcohol. I wonder can even dharma practitioners be any different? Can they ever overcome the negative karma of the deeds they must make in the name of corporations to procure a living?


I believe so. Northern New Jersey isn't that remote. I'd bet public transit to NYC is available, and there are definitely genuine Dharma Centers, with genuine Dharma Teachers, some even being Non-Western, in the metro area. By the way, aside from "teachers," there is great benefit to be derived from belonging to a sangha (though also the potential for nonvirtue, it must be said)--I personally feel like I've greatly benefitted from comradeship with Western students, as well as Western teachers, etc.

I wish you well--if you want to check out some Dharma centers near you, PM me, I'll give you some recommendations.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:41 am

Split Topic: teknix's Views
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby catmoon » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:30 am

Thrasymachus wrote:However if you look at your immediate environment, unless perhaps if you are in a monastery, everyone just seeks out greed, hedonism and to avoid what is unpleasant. It is not a very inspiring example, it drags you down closer to their level even if you want to seek a more virtuous path you just get discouraged.



Now this is fundamental. It is true that with very little effort a self-serving motivation can be found for almost any action. The classic example is "You just gave that guy five bucks because it makes you feel good".

The Dalai Lama takes a radical approach to this. He simply acknowledges that you can't beat the argument, and takes another tack entirely. He has spoken about selfishness as opposed to "enlightened selfishness". Since we cannot avoid acting in our own interests one way or the other, without becoming self-destructive, he advocates choosing those selfish actions that are beneficial to others as much as possible. If it makes you happy, that's fine, there's no other way to go at it.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Finding a teacher when you dislike interaction

Postby Mr. G » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:28 pm

Mr. G wrote:Split Topic: teknix's Views


Split off topic posts again.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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