Author Topic: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?  (Read 15901 times)

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2010, 02:53:48 am »
I assume you both mean it when you say insanity is a risk from going it alone.  

Are you perhaps referring to Tantric practices?  I don't follow how meditating on breath, metta meditation, thinking about the Four NT, and the ethical aspects of Buddhism, along with reading key critical texts carries such a risk.  If anything, I think I am a calmer, less angry person than I have been in my entire adult life.  

If anything, I think I was edging closer to insanity (or mental unhealth, to put it less dramatically) before I began my modest, self-styled practice.

maitri --
heybai

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2010, 02:56:00 am »
Hi Greg.

What is anapanasati?

(See, now Greg is my teacher.)
 :)

heybai

Bow at my lotus feet lowly one and prepare to receive my knowledge which will fall upon your head like a rain of flaming vajras!  Uuuuummmmmm.... where was I?  Oh yeah, anapanasati, mindfullness of breathing:   now I inhale, now I exhale, now I inhale, now I exhale, now I inhale, now I exhale, ad nauseum...
Can't get more basic than that one!  The Buddha reccomended the practice to all practitoners regardless of their mental proclivities.
:namaste:

Geez, how'd I miss that one?  Thanks for the quick response.

Your eager disciple  :D --

uh, yours truly --
heybai

Offline heart

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #62 on: September 24, 2010, 04:49:11 am »
I assume you both mean it when you say insanity is a risk from going it alone.  

Are you perhaps referring to Tantric practices?  I don't follow how meditating on breath, metta meditation, thinking about the Four NT, and the ethical aspects of Buddhism, along with reading key critical texts carries such a risk.  If anything, I think I am a calmer, less angry person than I have been in my entire adult life.  

If anything, I think I was edging closer to insanity (or mental unhealth, to put it less dramatically) before I began my modest, self-styled practice.

maitri --
heybai

It is impossible to practice Vajrayana without a Guru. However the OP asked without a teacher. According to the Buddha you need a teacher, just like when learning anything you have to find someone capable of teaching you. These days, depending on your situation, it might be at first the Internet or a book or a cd or something else. There is nothing wrong with that. But eventually, if you are very interested to understand and master the teachings, it is very important to find someone that actually mastered the teachings. This is not such an easy thing at all no matter what kind of tradition you follow.

/magnus   

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2010, 07:55:15 am »
I assume you both mean it when you say insanity is a risk from going it alone.  

Are you perhaps referring to Tantric practices?  I don't follow how meditating on breath, metta meditation, thinking about the Four NT, and the ethical aspects of Buddhism, along with reading key critical texts carries such a risk.  If anything, I think I am a calmer, less angry person than I have been in my entire adult life.  

If anything, I think I was edging closer to insanity (or mental unhealth, to put it less dramatically) before I began my modest, self-styled practice.

maitri --
heybai

Certainly anything approaching Tantra needs a qualified teacher.

But I understand there can be other sorts of problems well before Tantra.

Some mediation states, we have been told, can appear very pleasant and blissful - you sink into them and slide into a god-realm existence lasting thousands of years - with an ending which is very painful with regret for all the lost time.

Or else you can have various 'experiences' (Tib: nyams) at quite an early stage of meditation and think they mean something significant and get unhealthily attached to them,

Or you might have a brief glimpse of what appears to you to be 'Reality' and then waste the next few years trying to re-produce the circumstances which, you presume, lead to that experience,

Or ....

If you are ready to do more than just read books, it's foolish not to seek a teacher.

And when you are ready and sincere in your search, one will appear; it's what Bodhisattvas are there for.
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2010, 11:26:06 pm »
I assume you both mean it when you say insanity is a risk from going it alone.  

Are you perhaps referring to Tantric practices?  I don't follow how meditating on breath, metta meditation, thinking about the Four NT, and the ethical aspects of Buddhism, along with reading key critical texts carries such a risk.  If anything, I think I am a calmer, less angry person than I have been in my entire adult life.  

If anything, I think I was edging closer to insanity (or mental unhealth, to put it less dramatically) before I began my modest, self-styled practice.

maitri --
heybai
I am not talking about Tantric practices, thankfully I have qualified teachers guiding me through these practices so the experience, although rocky at times, follows the correct direction.  I am talking about plain old breath meditation.  The mind, with a bit of help from Mara, can play all sorts of tricks on you during the practice.  As one slowly penetrates the outer coating of the supposed stability of the ego construction one finds all sorts of crazy s**t buried under the thin crust.  Sometimes it projects as mystical experience, sometimes a emotion, sometimes as supposed insights but always as a butress to ego.  This stuff, if its presence is not explained or analysed by an experienced and qualified teacher can lead to all sorts of insanity:  delusions of spiritual grandeur, fear of death and/or loss of control, hallucinations, etc...  I am talking about intense practice here, not five-fifteen minutes on the pillow in the safe and controlled environment of the home or temple.  I am taking about hours spent meditating on mountain tops and caves during full moon nights,etc...
 :namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2010, 11:37:42 pm »
 I am talking about intense practice here, not five-fifteen minutes on the pillow in the safe and controlled environment of the home or temple.  I am taking about hours spent meditating on mountain tops and caves during full moon nights,etc...
 :namaste:

Not there yet!  Still quite mired in the lowlands.  Got some high mountain tops around here though.  The highest is 3950 meters.  So I will keep this advice in my hip pocket for the days to come.

 :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 11:41:27 pm by heybai »

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #66 on: September 24, 2010, 11:49:05 pm »
All that said, I don't think you absolutely have to have a teacher, but I think it has certain advantages that when considering the easy availability ............ geez...while the hell NOT?

This is probably quite true for anyone reading these words.  But I think it is helpful to remember that there are some 6.7 billion people in the world, and many, probably billions, do not have easy access to the Dharma or expert teachers.  For many 100s of millions simple survival is the "practice" of the day.

For others religious or political prohibitions may pose considerable obstacles.  Think of North Korea, for example.  Since my question is one of principle, I would suppose that all would agree that even modest self-study in the Dharma is beneficial and worthy in such cases, assuming personal safety can be assured of course.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2010, 02:13:50 am »
Yeah right!  Dharma/Dhamma is simple?  You must be joking!!!


No, I wasn't joking atall.  Mind you it's taken me 30 years to realise that it is very simple. :wink1:

Spiny

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2010, 02:50:55 am »
Without a teachers guidance insanity was a very viable option.


I've heard of people developing mental health problems with a teacher, so I think it's hard to generalise.

Spiny

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2010, 02:59:52 am »
No, I wasn't joking atall.  Mind you it's taken me 30 years to realise that it is very simple. :wink1:
If it takes thirty years to realise something then normally that is evidence of how complicated it is.

Quote
I've heard of people developing mental health problems with a teacher, so I think it's hard to generalise.
And I know people that have developed lung cancer without ever having smoked cigarettes but it is pretty smart to not smoke if you don't want to increase your risks of developing and dying of lung cancer and I would feel quite happy making a generalisation to the tune of: smoking is a cause of lung cancer.

:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline heybai

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #70 on: September 26, 2010, 03:35:22 am »
Without a teachers guidance insanity was a very viable option.


I've heard of people developing mental health problems with a teacher, so I think it's hard to generalise.

Spiny

Yes, this troubles me too.  I feel that finding a teacher in whom to place my utmost trust will be a delicate task.

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #71 on: September 26, 2010, 03:58:07 am »
Can we take it for granted, at least within the context of this thread, that every time we say teacher we mean a qualified, experienced and responsible teacher and not just somebody with a title?  It will make the thread less repetitive.
:namaste:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 04:05:41 am by gregkavarnos »
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline catmoon

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #72 on: September 26, 2010, 05:10:52 am »
No, I wasn't joking atall.  Mind you it's taken me 30 years to realise that it is very simple. :wink1:
If it takes thirty years to realise something then normally that is evidence of how complicated it is.

Quote
I've heard of people developing mental health problems with a teacher, so I think it's hard to generalise.
And I know people that have developed lung cancer without ever having smoked cigarettes but it is pretty smart to not smoke if you don't want to increase your risks of developing and dying of lung cancer and I would feel quite happy making a generalisation to the tune of: smoking is a cause of lung cancer.

:namaste:


Hmmm. What do you think of this: Something is a cause of an effect if and only if:

When the cause is present, the effect is is present
When the cause is absent, the effect is absent.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #73 on: September 26, 2010, 05:24:10 am »


Hmmm. What do you think of this: Something is a cause of an effect if and only if:

When the cause is present, the effect is is present
When the cause is absent, the effect is absent.

So which is the cause and which the effect?

What about some 'hidden variable' influencing both?

Traditionally 'causes and conditions' lead to phenomena; there may be required conditions as well - are they also causes?

Vast area for debate - elsewhere??
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline heart

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Re: Is a Teacher Really Necessary?
« Reply #74 on: September 26, 2010, 05:56:43 am »
Without a teachers guidance insanity was a very viable option.


I've heard of people developing mental health problems with a teacher, so I think it's hard to generalise.

Spiny

Yes, this troubles me too.  I feel that finding a teacher in whom to place my utmost trust will be a delicate task.

It should be a delicate task, the most delicate task in this life actually. The reason that people have problems is that 1) they already had problems 2) they don't understand how delicate task it is.

/magnus

 


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