Author Topic: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?  (Read 23498 times)

Offline Rune

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #165 on: November 02, 2016, 12:47:49 pm »
Thank you, zafronzen (I really like your name), I have some experience in chanting, for many hours in a row, after I was involved in the "hara krishna" cult.

I guess I will just follow your advice, im usualy pretty good at keeping a good diceplin, when it come to devoting myself on to spiritual matters.

Thank you again.

 :namaste:
"Forget "professional counseling." This calls for an exorcist!" - zafrogzen

Offline Deemoid

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #166 on: November 12, 2016, 05:33:40 am »
Gregkavarnos says it best in this thread - however for good measure I thought I would paste a link to a video which deals with this preceise question . . . . I hope some people find it useful and inspiring . . . .  :fu:

https://youtu.be/BDcUj8nhCqo

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #167 on: November 28, 2016, 03:07:36 pm »
What happened to "humility?" Cocaine and speed have the effect of inflating the ego with an illusory sense of power and elation, but it goes to the opposite extreme of self-hatred and depression when it wears off, which is why it is so addictive.

Even without an artificial stimulant, the ego can go through the same ups and downs naturally. Like coke, the ego is addictive but never really satisfactory.

Transcendent, peak experiences come about naturally through meditation, but it is futile to try to grasp them and attach them to an ego. IMHO, equanimity, or evenness of mind, is only achieved when the ego is transcended through meditative stability -- usually achieved only after years of practice and discipline. It's great if you are able to do it so easily -- but I'm naturally skeptical.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #168 on: November 29, 2016, 11:32:37 am »
Maybe working it out anonymously in a forum like this could give you some distance. Attaching to an identity is the cause of a lot of reactions, both high and low. If we're not able to detach from this anonymous forum identity we'll have a hard time with our more real everyday identity. .

I've never experienced bi-polar myself. If I was to go off the rails it would be schizophrenia. Although the "delusions of grandeur" and paranoia might be similar, there's not the extremes of mania and depression. For me mindfulness and exercise were very helpful. I managed to stay out of the mental health system and was never put on meds. Many mentally ill here in Amerika end up on the streets now, for lack of facilities.

My delusions were probably connected to experimentation with strong psychedelics. After the age of 35 or 40 I've had few issues, just some delusive thoughts which I can easily let go of. Finding "emptiness" of self is very fruitful, but it has taken some hard meditation practice for me to really begin to see it and learn to use it. Extreme inflating and deflating of the ego is all happening within emptiness. Just letting it go back from where it arises takes practice. Detachment is easier if one is identified with something larger than the small self.

Anyway, I hope you can find some middle way of letting go of extremes. Don't take this forum too seriously. Most of us are more focused on ourselves than anyone else.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Empty13

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #169 on: February 14, 2018, 04:37:26 pm »
Yeah, I have to concur that having a teacher, and a sangha to practice with, has changed my life completely, and my practice. I am now incorporating more than just sitting meditation also. No matter how terrified you are, or don't like other people, or whatever your excuse is, even geography, I would recommend finding people to sit and practice with in general, no matter your school. It was possibly the best thing I have ever done, and most beneficial. Five stars would recommend :X

Offline whatisthis

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #170 on: September 01, 2018, 05:42:49 pm »
I don't think so.

Looking at dharma talks on youtube, some of the buddhist teachers are very good while others are not.  The buddhist principles are available online, in writing and in talks, and there is a lot available to learn without needing a teacher.  If you understand what is meant by meditation and understand a few different types, maybe you should carry on without a teacher, unless you have a good one nearby.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 11:18:40 pm by whatisthis »

Offline Lone Cypress

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #171 on: September 03, 2018, 11:52:52 am »
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« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 07:44:21 pm by Lone Cypress »

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #172 on: September 03, 2018, 12:25:31 pm »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 12:31:36 pm by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #173 on: September 03, 2018, 11:34:41 pm »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'? Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

The Buddha didn't accept a whole lot of rules whilst on his path to enlightenment. He worked things out for himself, and later became a teacher, although he was initially very doubtful that anyone would understand his teaching, and thought that it might be pointless to even attempt to teach his wisdom, which is a situation with which I can empathize.

Teaching about objective things in the outside world is different from teaching about inner things which are much more influenced by individual states of mind, and individual conditioning.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #174 on: September 04, 2018, 05:05:15 am »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'? Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

Exactly what ideology do you think I'm conforming to and what rules am I accepting without question?
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #175 on: September 04, 2018, 06:57:35 pm »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'? Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

Exactly what ideology do you think I'm conforming to and what rules am I accepting without question?

Only you can answer that, Zafrogzen, although people who have had a long association with you, which I haven't, might be able to make some relevant comments.

My comment was not directed at you personally, but was a general comment about the dangers of conformity when submitting oneself to the rules of a sect or a teacher within a sect.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #176 on: September 05, 2018, 07:19:27 am »
Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'?

No, not necessarily.  and besides, what's wrong with a bit of group-think?  In all the enumerations of poisons, kleshas, downfalls and so on, nowhere does the Buddha actually condemn group-think.

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Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

As does Buddhism.  It's not a "religious" thing either.  It's sociological - much broader in scope. Pressure to conform runs deep in all societies.  It's a community defense mechanism.

Quote
Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

The Kalama Sutra isn't about rules.  It's really not even about "thinking for yourself".  It's about how to evaluate a teacher/teaching by specific criteria.

Quote
The Buddha didn't accept a whole lot of rules whilst on his path to enlightenment.

He did go on to create a bunch, though.  See the Vinaya.

Quote
He worked things out for himself, and later became a teacher, although he was initially very doubtful that anyone would understand his teaching, and thought that it might be pointless to even attempt to teach his wisdom, which is a situation with which I can empathize.

Comparing yourself to the Buddha?  Do I sense a certain hubris there?

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #177 on: September 05, 2018, 08:55:21 am »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'? Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

Exactly what ideology do you think I'm conforming to and what rules am I accepting without question?

Only you can answer that, Zafrogzen, although people who have had a long association with you, which I haven't, might be able to make some relevant comments.

My comment was not directed at you personally, but was a general comment about the dangers of conformity when submitting oneself to the rules of a sect or a teacher within a sect.

No, you don’t know who you’re talking to, or much about Zen Buddhism either, or you would have have qualified your statement accordingly.

Zen goes out of its way to avoid a “set ideology.” To paraphrase Huang Po (died 850) – “It’s the teaching (ideology) of no teaching. It can’t even be said to be the teaching of the teaching of no teaching.”

As for rules. The only rules one is required to conform to are in the zendo (meditation hall) which is highly choreographed to avoid confusion and disturbance – similar to the rules in a library where people are trying to concentrate. In all my years of practice with zen groups I was never required to “take the precepts” or any other form of accepting “a whole lot of rules without question.”

« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 11:30:38 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #178 on: September 05, 2018, 07:40:42 pm »
I'd like to be able to check in with a teacher, but all of mine are dead and gone. Now most of the teachers I know are younger and less experienced than I am. Still, if there was a viable sangha near here I'd practice with them -- if only to have someone to bounce off of and to make connections with like-minded folks.

Making connections with like-minded folk can also be a problem. Is this not the 'herd instinct'? Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.

Buddhism, on the other hand, encourages one to think for oneself, and not accept a whole lot of rules without question (the Kalama Sutta).

Exactly what ideology do you think I'm conforming to and what rules am I accepting without question?

Only you can answer that, Zafrogzen, although people who have had a long association with you, which I haven't, might be able to make some relevant comments.

My comment was not directed at you personally, but was a general comment about the dangers of conformity when submitting oneself to the rules of a sect or a teacher within a sect.

No, you don’t know who you’re talking to, or much about Zen Buddhism either, or you would have have qualified your statement accordingly.

Zen goes out of its way to avoid a “set ideology.” To paraphrase Huang Po (died 850) – “It’s the teaching (ideology) of no teaching. It can’t even be said to be the teaching of the teaching of no teaching.”

As for rules. The only rules one is required to conform to are in the zendo (meditation hall) which is highly choreographed to avoid confusion and disturbance – similar to the rules in a library where people are trying to concentrate. In all my years of practice with zen groups I was never required to “take the precepts” or any other form of accepting “a whole lot of rules without question.”

Good. Thanks for clarifying that, Zafrogzen. However, just as my comment wasn't directed at you personally, it also wasn't directed at a specific Buddhist cult, such as Zen. It was a comment in general about the many different sects, and my statement also contained the word 'tend', as in 'Religions in general tend to require one to conform to a set ideology.'

Also, the subject of the topic is, 'Is a Teacher Really Necessary?', without reference to any particular sect. Interpreting what you've written above (and my English is quite good  :wink1: ), I think you should have chimed in earlier to state that no teacher is necessary in Zen because there's no teaching in Zen. There isn't even any teaching of the 'teaching of no teaching'.  :wink1:


Offline Lone Cypress

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #179 on: September 06, 2018, 05:09:51 am »
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« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 07:43:31 pm by Lone Cypress »

 


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