Author Topic: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?  (Read 16286 times)

GoGet

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #135 on: March 16, 2013, 06:44:54 am »

5. "Taking refuge" only began 2000 or some odd years ago. As I said buddhism has been around for much longer in many different forms. Nor does "taking refuge" mean you NEED a teacher.   

Well, .......

dude you REALLY need a teacher,  :eek:

Offline rchoates

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #136 on: March 16, 2013, 08:36:22 am »
I recently asked this question in another area, and Monkey Mind was generous to provide me with many links concerning the necessity of a teacher, including this thread.

I've always been a solitary person, learning many things on my own. This could be karmic. And while I do agree that a teacher is indeed beneficial, I will also say that a teacher is not absolutely required for "some people". I think many people do need a teacher, and then there are those who do not.

To think that in the entire history of human existence, with now more than 7 billion people on the Earth, that not a single person, be it man or woman, has not, through self-motivation, attained the path to liberation on his/her own, is not realistic. Of course it can be done. By few, I am sure, but it CAN be done.

What a human being is capable of has broken barrier after barrier all throughout history. And the path to liberation is NOT a mystery. It's a doable systematic process, combining reason, intuition, dedication, and resolve. Much like any other path in life.

To say that liberation or enlightenment is out of reach if you aren't personally trained or guided by a qualified teacher, turns enlightenment, in my view, into a Good Old Boy's Club. The path is an internal process. Not something that anyone outside of you can judge and approve.

Offline PrimordialLotus

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #137 on: March 16, 2013, 04:30:04 pm »
I recently asked this question in another area, and Monkey Mind was generous to provide me with many links concerning the necessity of a teacher, including this thread.

I've always been a solitary person, learning many things on my own. This could be karmic. And while I do agree that a teacher is indeed beneficial, I will also say that a teacher is not absolutely required for "some people". I think many people do need a teacher, and then there are those who do not.

To think that in the entire history of human existence, with now more than 7 billion people on the Earth, that not a single person, be it man or woman, has not, through self-motivation, attained the path to liberation on his/her own, is not realistic. Of course it can be done. By few, I am sure, but it CAN be done.

What a human being is capable of has broken barrier after barrier all throughout history. And the path to liberation is NOT a mystery. It's a doable systematic process, combining reason, intuition, dedication, and resolve. Much like any other path in life.

To say that liberation or enlightenment is out of reach if you aren't personally trained or guided by a qualified teacher, turns enlightenment, in my view, into a Good Old Boy's Club. The path is an internal process. Not something that anyone outside of you can judge and approve.

^^^THIS.
"The first American female "Tulku" is a crazed phony. That should tell you something. Not everyone calling themselves a 'buddhist' actually is one."

GoGet

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #138 on: March 18, 2013, 09:18:01 am »
I recently asked this question in another area, and Monkey Mind was generous to provide me with many links concerning the necessity of a teacher, including this thread.

I've always been a solitary person, learning many things on my own. This could be karmic.

It's most definitely karma.

Quote
And while I do agree that a teacher is indeed beneficial, I will also say that a teacher is not absolutely required for "some people". I think many people do need a teacher, and then there are those who do not.

To think that in the entire history of human existence, with now more than 7 billion people on the Earth, that not a single person, be it man or woman, has not, through self-motivation, attained the path to liberation on his/her own, is not realistic. Of course it can be done. By few, I am sure, but it CAN be done.

Sure, odds are, but as long as there are odds, there's always odds aren't.

I'll ask you the same question I put to PrimordialLotus:  Name one sentient being that achieved enlightenment without the blessing of a teacher.  Just one.

The odds of one person becoming enlightened, in any way, shape of form, teacher or no, is so infinitesimally small, it could be safely said to be impossible.  Thankfully it is not.

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What a human being is capable of has broken barrier after barrier all throughout history. And the path to liberation is NOT a mystery. It's a doable systematic process, combining reason, intuition, dedication, and resolve. Much like any other path in life.

Quite right, but having a guide, a spiritual friend, guru, teacher, what have you, will help you stay on that path due to their having been down that path before you.  In addition if the notion of the teacher/student relationship wasn't so important, then why did the Buddha turn the wheel of dharma in the first place?  If enlightenment could be reached without a teacher why didn't the Buddha simply leave us to our own devices?

Quote
To say that liberation or enlightenment is out of reach if you aren't personally trained or guided by a qualified teacher, turns enlightenment, in my view, into a Good Old Boy's Club.

It's not an "old boys network".  The teacher/student relationship is a tradition that has worked very well for thousands of years.  Now if you think you know better than 2000 + years, well there's not much I can say.


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The path is an internal process. Not something that anyone outside of you can judge and approve.

Perhaps there's fear there - fear of being found out and corrected?

There's's something I notice on boards like this.  There are lots of different sorts of Buddhists to be found, but one type that is found almost nowhere else is the person who actively resists the blessing that a spiritual friend provides.  If no teacher is available, that's one thing, but in this day and age there's really no such thing as unavailable.  The relationship I'm talking about transcends time/space/distance.  You don't have to be in your gurus presence 24/7.  In fact, you don't even have to actually meet in person.  There's really no reason not to have a teacher unless you chose refuse him or her and that is something else entirely.

I'm not saying you're that sort of person, because I don't really know, but it is something I see quite a bit, and in discussions like this I can't help but wonder .....

Offline rchoates

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #139 on: March 18, 2013, 01:24:09 pm »
Hi GoGet, I appreciate your input.

You make very good points, none of which I can really argue with... However—don't you love that word—your post did get me thinking along a very interesting line.

Let me first address a statement you made. When I said I was a solitary person and that I have learned many things on my, and then asserted this was probably karmic, I was speculating. I mean I don't really know that it's karmic or not. Probably is...

But when you state "most definitely karma", my question is: How do you know that?? Meaning, did you see it directly, as in looked into my karmic patterns and know for a certain, or are you going by information that you've read or been told on karma, the way it functions and so forth. I assure you I'm not being sarcastic. This is a fair question.

Now, as for naming a person who has achieved enlightenment without the blessing of a teacher... There are too many problems with this question. 1. How do we know when a person has achieved enlightenment? Does their name go on a list? Do they blog about it, or make an appointment with Dateline; Oprah?? Do invitations go out??? This may sound like I'm being silly, but the point is, how is anyone suppose to know if a single person living on this planet has achieved enlightenment? I think it might be a safe bet that such a person doesn't advertise it. I mean, why would they? Are they supposed to? Is it a rule? I'm enlightened now, so I must present myself as such and go and teach this to others. Do you really think that happens?

Now for the "blessing of a teacher". I hope you don't mean that a person cannot become enlightened unless given permission. By a teacher. By another enlightened being. Or to tone that down, just simply blessed. Really?? I'm going to think that's not what you meant, because that would put us into a whole other discussion. I think perhaps you meant "achieved enlightenment by way of a teacher's loving guidance". That I understand, and this brings us to the student/teacher relationship.

I as well think that relationship is an important one, and cannot be dismissed or overlook. It happens for some people and goes really well. It happens for some people and goes really bad. Or it happens, doesn't work out, which turns out to be exactly what the student needed. There are so many scenarios. Including the one where there is no teacher.

Bottom line: tradition isn't always right. 2000+ years, or 5000+ years, just because something is done in a certain way, does not mean it is the only and available way. That's not me knowing better. That's a simple fact history has proved over and over again. And a different way certainly doesn't invalidate tradition! I'm not a traditional person, but I do indeed admire tradition. I've just never been a part of it. I'm not even a club or group person. I have good friends, and such, but I've never felt a part of anything. Not to get too personal, but I'm in my forties, and I've never, and I do mean NEVER, not even for five minutes, had a romantic relationship. I just don't see the need for that level of involvement with another person. I'm far too committed to my own personal pursuits. Now mind you, I didn't say that I'm against such a relationship happening. I just don't see it for myself. Would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

Now about the fear. The fear you mention about being found out and corrected. Are you kidding?! So not me. I don't hide anything about myself, and I welcome correction and learning on every level, personal and professional. How else is one suppose to learn? I don't mind being wrong. Wrong is good. You can correct wrong; learn from it. Being stupid and crazy, not so much. And if you don't know how to see and listen when you are wrong, then that is stupid and crazy.

I don't know what kind of Buddhist I am, or even if I meet what may be considered the proper definition of one. What I do know is that I appreciate, immensely, the teachings of the Buddha. I may have issues with how those teachings have been interpreted, but then I'm not the only one on that account. That's a very long line, indeed.

As for resisting help from a spiritual friend or teacher... Absolutely not!!! I welcome the opportunity! What I don't do is seek out such a relationship. If it's going to happen, it will. Karma, right? Now perhaps that can be argued with, that my approach should be more proactive, so to speak, that should go to Buddhist groups and retreats, temples and monasteries, looking looking looking, for a teacher, or that one special holy/enlightened being to show me the way. Sorry... I'm just not wired that way. And has it made my life just a touch more difficult? You bet. But I'm okay with that. No matter how much the desire, a wolf cannot be a sheep, or the sheep a wolf.

And now, finally, my interesting line of thought... What exactly is enlightenment? I mean the operational and psychological and dynamic state itself. What exactly does that state look and feel like? What is the quality of it? Do you know? Or better yet, have you met or do you know a person who is fully enlightened, or attained stream entry? If so, have they even tried to explain it to you? I put forth what I think may be the possibility of such a state in a post on this forum. It's just a speculation, because I certainly don't know. But if you have some ideas on this, I would love to hear them.

I believe in being kind. We only learn and grow if we are willing to share with an open heart. This is always my goal. It is never my intent to challenge or "argue" in a disparaging manner, to put anyone down, or be hurtful. We need more caring in this world, not more Bitches. So I respond to you in true spirit of wanting to learn, and to share. Respect should always come first.       

Offline PrimordialLotus

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #140 on: March 19, 2013, 06:42:55 am »
Hi GoGet, I appreciate your input.

You make very good points, none of which I can really argue with... However—don't you love that word—your post did get me thinking along a very interesting line.

Let me first address a statement you made. When I said I was a solitary person and that I have learned many things on my, and then asserted this was probably karmic, I was speculating. I mean I don't really know that it's karmic or not. Probably is...

But when you state "most definitely karma", my question is: How do you know that?? Meaning, did you see it directly, as in looked into my karmic patterns and know for a certain, or are you going by information that you've read or been told on karma, the way it functions and so forth. I assure you I'm not being sarcastic. This is a fair question.

Now, as for naming a person who has achieved enlightenment without the blessing of a teacher... There are too many problems with this question. 1. How do we know when a person has achieved enlightenment? Does their name go on a list? Do they blog about it, or make an appointment with Dateline; Oprah?? Do invitations go out??? This may sound like I'm being silly, but the point is, how is anyone suppose to know if a single person living on this planet has achieved enlightenment? I think it might be a safe bet that such a person doesn't advertise it. I mean, why would they? Are they supposed to? Is it a rule? I'm enlightened now, so I must present myself as such and go and teach this to others. Do you really think that happens?

Now for the "blessing of a teacher". I hope you don't mean that a person cannot become enlightened unless given permission. By a teacher. By another enlightened being. Or to tone that down, just simply blessed. Really?? I'm going to think that's not what you meant, because that would put us into a whole other discussion. I think perhaps you meant "achieved enlightenment by way of a teacher's loving guidance". That I understand, and this brings us to the student/teacher relationship.

I as well think that relationship is an important one, and cannot be dismissed or overlook. It happens for some people and goes really well. It happens for some people and goes really bad. Or it happens, doesn't work out, which turns out to be exactly what the student needed. There are so many scenarios. Including the one where there is no teacher.

Bottom line: tradition isn't always right. 2000+ years, or 5000+ years, just because something is done in a certain way, does not mean it is the only and available way. That's not me knowing better. That's a simple fact history has proved over and over again. And a different way certainly doesn't invalidate tradition! I'm not a traditional person, but I do indeed admire tradition. I've just never been a part of it. I'm not even a club or group person. I have good friends, and such, but I've never felt a part of anything. Not to get too personal, but I'm in my forties, and I've never, and I do mean NEVER, not even for five minutes, had a romantic relationship. I just don't see the need for that level of involvement with another person. I'm far too committed to my own personal pursuits. Now mind you, I didn't say that I'm against such a relationship happening. I just don't see it for myself. Would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

Now about the fear. The fear you mention about being found out and corrected. Are you kidding?! So not me. I don't hide anything about myself, and I welcome correction and learning on every level, personal and professional. How else is one suppose to learn? I don't mind being wrong. Wrong is good. You can correct wrong; learn from it. Being stupid and crazy, not so much. And if you don't know how to see and listen when you are wrong, then that is stupid and crazy.

I don't know what kind of Buddhist I am, or even if I meet what may be considered the proper definition of one. What I do know is that I appreciate, immensely, the teachings of the Buddha. I may have issues with how those teachings have been interpreted, but then I'm not the only one on that account. That's a very long line, indeed.

As for resisting help from a spiritual friend or teacher... Absolutely not!!! I welcome the opportunity! What I don't do is seek out such a relationship. If it's going to happen, it will. Karma, right? Now perhaps that can be argued with, that my approach should be more proactive, so to speak, that should go to Buddhist groups and retreats, temples and monasteries, looking looking looking, for a teacher, or that one special holy/enlightened being to show me the way. Sorry... I'm just not wired that way. And has it made my life just a touch more difficult? You bet. But I'm okay with that. No matter how much the desire, a wolf cannot be a sheep, or the sheep a wolf.

And now, finally, my interesting line of thought... What exactly is enlightenment? I mean the operational and psychological and dynamic state itself. What exactly does that state look and feel like? What is the quality of it? Do you know? Or better yet, have you met or do you know a person who is fully enlightened, or attained stream entry? If so, have they even tried to explain it to you? I put forth what I think may be the possibility of such a state in a post on this forum. It's just a speculation, because I certainly don't know. But if you have some ideas on this, I would love to hear them.

I believe in being kind. We only learn and grow if we are willing to share with an open heart. This is always my goal. It is never my intent to challenge or "argue" in a disparaging manner, to put anyone down, or be hurtful. We need more caring in this world, not more Bitches. So I respond to you in true spirit of wanting to learn, and to share. Respect should always come first.     

Another outstanding post.

I certainly agree with you on many of your points.
"The first American female "Tulku" is a crazed phony. That should tell you something. Not everyone calling themselves a 'buddhist' actually is one."

Offline t

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #141 on: March 19, 2013, 08:37:52 am »
Wow heybai, it's nostalgic to be in this thread again... that is if you still visit this place lol

These days I guess, I have stopped looking for any teacher and find myself going in the direction of a pratyekabuddha ... whatever, whoever comes what may, my life has to go on with or without one...

As my Muslim friends love to say.... 'takdir' .... fate...  I dunno abt that but I am always asking myself a more important question though... am I teacheable? I am more open to texts and animals than humans LOL

Remember me in your practice.
There are days when I just want to embrace atheism and get on with my life, you get the drift...   

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #142 on: March 22, 2013, 06:13:04 am »
Wow heybai, it's nostalgic to be in this thread again... that is if you still visit this place lol

I am always happy to be associated with you.

Quote
These days I guess, I have stopped looking for any teacher and find myself going in the direction of a pratyekabuddha ... whatever, whoever comes what may, my life has to go on with or without one...

We have many teachers.  Ok, that does start to sound a smidge pollyannaish, but it is true.  For those who have found the perfect teacher -- wonderful -- in the meantime, for the rest of us, we learn from many, and from spiritual friends as well.

Quote
As my Muslim friends love to say.... 'takdir' .... fate...  I dunno abt that but I am always asking myself a more important question though... am I teacheable? I am more open to texts and animals than humans LOL

Scripture & explication is not trivial.  You certainly are teacheable, but I not by me!  Go easy on  yerself, t. 

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Remember me in your practice.
There are days when I just want to embrace atheism and get on with my life, you get the drift...

I do.  I will.
metta

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #143 on: May 06, 2013, 02:02:43 pm »
Good luck on finding a teacher ...

Offline Transition

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #144 on: July 05, 2013, 03:17:50 pm »
Whenever I am on a journey, I like to take both approaches, one by myself to see what I can find and one with a guide to assure I have asked meaningful questions...for me, my teacher provides simplicity...in my cluttered mind, it is a wonderful sense of peace to know I have a place to find that...I think we all need a home, a place of trust and comfort

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #145 on: July 06, 2013, 05:54:38 am »
Whenever I am on a journey, I like to take both approaches, one by myself to see what I can find and one with a guide to assure I have asked meaningful questions...for me, my teacher provides simplicity...in my cluttered mind, it is a wonderful sense of peace to know I have a place to find that...I think we all need a home, a place of trust and comfort

Yes, well put.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #146 on: September 03, 2013, 11:06:46 pm »
Whenever I am on a journey, I like to take both approaches, one by myself to see what I can find and one with a guide to assure I have asked meaningful questions...for me, my teacher provides simplicity...in my cluttered mind, it is a wonderful sense of peace to know I have a place to find that...I think we all need a home, a place of trust and comfort

Yes, well put.
Since that security is not the security which is lasting - your teacher will die - it's not so well put, but butter is tasty as well. Do you think that butter is well put in a the head of desire?

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #147 on: September 04, 2013, 06:04:57 am »
Whenever I am on a journey, I like to take both approaches, one by myself to see what I can find and one with a guide to assure I have asked meaningful questions...for me, my teacher provides simplicity...in my cluttered mind, it is a wonderful sense of peace to know I have a place to find that...I think we all need a home, a place of trust and comfort

Yes, well put.
Since that security is not the security which is lasting - your teacher will die - it's not so well put, but butter is tasty as well. Do you think that butter is well put in a the head of desire?

Perhaps it's a question of refuge, traditionally that's the 3 jewels, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. 

Offline Hanzze

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #148 on: September 04, 2013, 06:23:43 am »
Whenever I am on a journey, I like to take both approaches, one by myself to see what I can find and one with a guide to assure I have asked meaningful questions...for me, my teacher provides simplicity...in my cluttered mind, it is a wonderful sense of peace to know I have a place to find that...I think we all need a home, a place of trust and comfort

Yes, well put.
Since that security is not the security which is lasting - your teacher will die - it's not so well put, but butter is tasty as well. Do you think that butter is well put in a the head of desire?

Perhaps it's a question of refuge, traditionally that's the 3 jewels, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
It was not meant that a kalyanamitta (a admirable Friend, teacher,...) is not very needed as it is the prerequisite on the path to awakening, but it was meant that the kalyanamitta does not have the primary purpose to let you feel secure but show you the path to real security and that could make you feel insecure very often till you reach a good amount of own discernment and quality of judgement. So to proof a admirable friend, if he/she is one or not, should not be measured by feelings of security but by his qualities in regard of virtue, discernment and independency.   
Traditional the "object" of Sangha (the four pairs of noble beings) serve this refuge, not to speak about the Buddha and his true Dhamma. But all of that is not seen, if one does not start to walk, fall, stand up, walk, remember... keeps his direction eager.

Offline Yvonne_Ocpress

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #149 on: September 16, 2013, 02:04:55 am »
I think we can do more daily meditation & sutra reading, just by pad or phone:

Buddhism Classics: The Heart Sutra 心经 the best version


Buddhism Classics: The Sixth Platform Sutra 六祖坛经 the best version


Buddhism Classics: The Diamond Sutra 金刚经 the best version


http://ocpress.org/index.php?lang=en

 


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