Getting back on track after a failing teacher

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Vajrapine » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:38 pm

Many thanks for such nutritious food for thought by so many of you. Internet is truly remarkable sometimes.

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:43 am

dude wrote:Why not?


Because there is no Vajrayana without a Guru.

/magnus
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:37 am

Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby kirtu » Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:59 pm

Vajrapine wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote:Do you mean this teacher has failed in terms of participating in some ethical misconduct, or that you're not seeing results after following this teacher?


Ethical misconduct.


It just means that the teacher him/herself fell prey to deluded experience. We all fall prey to deluded experience daily even if we are on the bhumis. However most teachers should be beyond ethical misconduct (or at least some teachers).

As has been mentioned, dust yourself off, find a teacher that you respect and move on.

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dude wrote:Let's move forward as "good friends," neither master nor disciple, but fellow practioners in mutual support to seek the correct path.



This attitude does not really work in Vajrayāna.


Assuming that teacher was Vajrapine's Guru. In Vajrayana you can have lots of teachers in a wider sense without seeing each and every one of them as your Guru.

I've had my share of disappointments, too, like most of us. Looking back I must say that in most cases I jumped into the student-teacher-relationship much too fast and much too naively.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby justsit » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:33 pm

Indrajala wrote:Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.

So if you are your own teacher - isn't that a fallible human?? :shrug:
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby kirtu » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:42 pm

justsit wrote:
Indrajala wrote:Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.

So if you are your own teacher - isn't that a fallible human?? :shrug:


Those two statements are what the Buddha taught. Of course oneself is (probably) a fallible sentient being. This is why one needs a spiritual friend (kalyāṇa-mitra) even in the lower schools. However a guru in Vajrayana does not negate these teachings and lineage holders teach this as well. One has to walk the path and generate wisdom on one's own. But if one has lost confidence in a teacher then one must find another teacher that one has confidence in. Of course one still has to keep samaya.

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby dude » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:16 pm

heart wrote:
dude wrote:Why not?


Because there is no Vajrayana without a Guru.

/magnus


I wholeheartedly agree with you.
However, the issue here is a case in which the teacher fails.
As good friends, we are by no means a substitute for a real teacher.
What I'm suggesting here is that we, as fellow practitioners, have a vital role to play in sharing our experience in mutual support to help each other find the way forward in such a distressing situation.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:24 am

justsit wrote:
Indrajala wrote:Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.

So if you are your own teacher - isn't that a fallible human?? :shrug:


Being disappointed in yourself for not learning Dharma properly is less devastating than being crushed by an immoral teacher, generally speaking.

My point is that the real refuge is Dharma, not people. This is why I say that liberation does not require having a guru-disciple relationship. Someone who teaches you to read or meditate is fine, but unconditional faith in a guru is unnecessary for liberation itself (bear in mind I'm not talking about Buddhahood here). There's a difference between having spiritual friends and then trying to cultivate unconditional faith in a fallible human being.

I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus. Some spend years and years with someone only to be emotionally and spiritually devastated.

I don't think that is supposed to be part of the path. You might suggest we thoroughly investigate a teacher before committing to them, but then why does that process even have to exist and be so continually restated? Because people inevitably falter?


You can avoid a lot of neurosis just by studying things on your own and developing your own discerning wisdom rather than continually relying on others.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Adamantine » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:17 am

Indrajala wrote:I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus.


Indrajala, this is posted in the Tibetan Buddhism subforum. It is insincere to answer the question posted in this subforum and act like you are not talking to Tibetan Buddhists. Of course in our tradition, as you know well, a Guru is indispensable. So you are merely, in a circuitous way, promoting another tradition (most likely your own), which when done in the Tibetan Buddhist subforum becomes the activity of a troll.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Adamantine » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:24 am

Actually in Tibetan Buddhism traditionally great emphasis is placed on examining one's prospective guru for many years to discern their true qualities, not just the qualities they may try to be showing outwardly like actors or actresses. Patrul Rinpoche in WOMPT recommends a period of 12 years.

"By not examining a teacher with great care
The faithful waste their gathered merit.
Like taking for the shadow of a tree a vicious snake,
Beguiled, they lose the freedom they at last had found."


Among the many types of teachers he warns against, one category is Teachers like a millstone made of wood:

"Even if they have studied, reflected and meditated a little, they did so not with any pure intention of working for future lives but for more mundane reasons- like preventing the priestly fiefs of which they are incumbents from falling into decay. As for training disciples, they are about as well suited to fulfilling their proper function as a millstone made of wood."

There is an extensive list. . .

But regarding finding a true guide, he has this to say:

"After examining him carefully and making an unmistaken assessment, from the moment you find a teacher has all the positive qualities mentioned
you should never cease to consider him to be the Buddha in person. This teacher in whom all the attributes are complete is the embodiment of the compassionate
wisdom of all Buddhas of the ten directions, appearing in the form of an ordinary human simply to benefit beings. . . .

So that such a true teacher may skilfully guide the ordinary people needing his help, he makes his everyday conduct conform to that of ordinary people. But
in reality his wisdom mind is that of a Buddha, so he is utterly different from everyone else. Each of his acts is simply the activity of a realized being attuned to the nature of those he has to benefit. He is therefore uniquely noble. Skilled in cutting through hesitation and doubt, he patiently endures all the ingratitude and discouragement of his disciples, like a mother with her only child."
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Lindama » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:48 am

Adamantine wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus.


Indrajala, this is posted in the Tibetan Buddhism subforum. It is insincere to answer the question posted in this subforum and act like you are not talking to Tibetan Buddhists. Of course in our tradition, as you know well, a Guru is indispensable. So you are merely, in a circuitous way, promoting another tradition (most likely your own), which when done in the Tibetan Buddhist subforum becomes the activity of a troll.


Are you suggesting that a troll is anyone who questions tradition.... who might call a spade a spade. This discussion specifically is off the grid regarding tradition and enlightened activity. There is ample evidence of misconduct being ignored in every tradition and all you can say is the guru is indispensable. this is 2013, think again.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Adamantine » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:56 am

Lindama wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus.


Indrajala, this is posted in the Tibetan Buddhism subforum. It is insincere to answer the question posted in this subforum and act like you are not talking to Tibetan Buddhists. Of course in our tradition, as you know well, a Guru is indispensable. So you are merely, in a circuitous way, promoting another tradition (most likely your own), which when done in the Tibetan Buddhist subforum becomes the activity of a troll.


Are you suggesting that a troll is anyone who questions tradition.... who might call a spade a spade. This discussion specifically is off the grid regarding tradition and enlightened activity. There is ample evidence of misconduct being ignored in every tradition and all you can say is the guru is indispensable. this is 2013, think again.


False gurus, imposters, pretenders, charlatans, posers, half-baked, partially-realized-- all sorts of people like this have been vying for the power, potential wealth and access of the role of a Vajrayana Guru for thousands of years.. that is why so much emphasis has been placed on using discrimination to discern who is a true guide and who is not-- by Patrul Rinpoche and all the authentic guides of old Tibet. This is not a new issue, or a new problem. Samsara has been around for a long time. So has the degenerate age.. 2013 is not terribly original.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Adamantine » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:57 am

Lindama wrote:Are you suggesting that a troll is anyone who questions tradition....


Nope. Read again.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:57 am

dude wrote:
heart wrote:
dude wrote:Why not?


Because there is no Vajrayana without a Guru.

/magnus


I wholeheartedly agree with you.
However, the issue here is a case in which the teacher fails.
As good friends, we are by no means a substitute for a real teacher.
What I'm suggesting here is that we, as fellow practitioners, have a vital role to play in sharing our experience in mutual support to help each other find the way forward in such a distressing situation.


I am fine with that. The way forward, in my experience, is to focus on the general Mahayana Dharma. See if it have truth, if it is valid, just like Indrajala suggested actually. However, I don't know to much about this particular case. What feels like sexual misconduct can be just a case of assuming something that wasn't so, like thinking your Lama is a monk/nun, when it just isn't so.

/magnus
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:30 am

Indrajala wrote:Being disappointed in yourself for not learning Dharma properly is less devastating than being crushed by an immoral teacher, generally speaking.

My point is that the real refuge is Dharma, not people. This is why I say that liberation does not require having a guru-disciple relationship. Someone who teaches you to read or meditate is fine, but unconditional faith in a guru is unnecessary for liberation itself (bear in mind I'm not talking about Buddhahood here). There's a difference between having spiritual friends and then trying to cultivate unconditional faith in a fallible human being.

I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus. Some spend years and years with someone only to be emotionally and spiritually devastated.

I don't think that is supposed to be part of the path. You might suggest we thoroughly investigate a teacher before committing to them, but then why does that process even have to exist and be so continually restated? Because people inevitably falter?

You can avoid a lot of neurosis just by studying things on your own and developing your own discerning wisdom rather than continually relying on others.


Being disappointed with your Guru is often just having assumptions about what a Guru is. Just like people have assumptions of how a monk/nun is. We often imagine that they are beyond ordinary human emotions of desire, anger and ignorance when it is quite obvious that very few people on this earth are beyond that, if any. What we expect of monks/nuns is that they do their best, work with it, because that is what the robe is in the end a sign of putting on a effort of living a spiritual life. A Vajrayana Guru might be a monk or a nun and then we should expect some effort from their side as well. But very often they are not monks/nuns. The might have a girlfriend or a boyfriend or one of each. They might change partner like their underwear, or they might be terribly in love with one of their students but never doing anything about it. The question is how much of this that is our business? Is it heartbreaking when you find out about it? Yes, but that is because we had assumptions that didn't fit reality. You have to be extremely careful and intelligent when approaching a Guru and also you have to be quite clear what you find acceptable and what you find unacceptable. I read an article , many years ago, about sexual scandals in American Zen centers and it was pretty amazing the amount of scandals. Seemed almost no center that didn't have at least one sex scandal. Humans are slaves to their desire, anger and ignorance then they put on a robe of some kind, what changed except the clothes? Putting on an effort for sure means you will sometimes fail, probably very often. This is true for westerners and Tibetans alike.

And Indrajala, I have a hunch you will end up in Vajrayana eventually. It is the ultimate challenge for clever guys. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Simon E. » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:37 am

Indrajala wrote:
justsit wrote:
Indrajala wrote:Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.

So if you are your own teacher - isn't that a fallible human?? :shrug:


Being disappointed in yourself for not learning Dharma properly is less devastating than being crushed by an immoral teacher, generally speaking.

My point is that the real refuge is Dharma, not people. This is why I say that liberation does not require having a guru-disciple relationship. Someone who teaches you to read or meditate is fine, but unconditional faith in a guru is unnecessary for liberation itself (bear in mind I'm not talking about Buddhahood here). There's a difference between having spiritual friends and then trying to cultivate unconditional faith in a fallible human being.

I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus. Some spend years and years with someone only to be emotionally and spiritually devastated.

I don't think that is supposed to be part of the path. You might suggest we thoroughly investigate a teacher before committing to them, but then why does that process even have to exist and be so continually restated? Because people inevitably falter?


You can avoid a lot of neurosis just by studying things on your own and developing your own discerning wisdom rather than continually relying on others.

Folks from Tibetan Buddhism will not simply tend to disagree with this.
They will realise that it is a critique from someone who has no first hand experiential knowledge about that of which he opines.
Furthermore someone who shows signs of being conflicted and confused.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:59 am

Adamantine wrote:Indrajala, this is posted in the Tibetan Buddhism subforum. It is insincere to answer the question posted in this subforum and act like you are not talking to Tibetan Buddhists.


No, actually I just look at new posts without really looking at which subforum they are in.


Of course in our tradition, as you know well, a Guru is indispensable.


Only for the Vajrayana side. Tibetan Buddhism has the teachings of the Buddha plus the eminent philosophers like Nagarjuna, all of which can be studied on their own without a guru.

So you are merely, in a circuitous way, promoting another tradition (most likely your own), which when done in the Tibetan Buddhist subforum becomes the activity of a troll.


As I've said before, I don't have a tradition. I'm simply Buddhist and leave it at that.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:01 am

Simon E. wrote:Folks from Tibetan Buddhism will not simply tend to disagree with this.
They will realise that it is a critique from someone who has no first hand experiential knowledge about that of which he opines.


I've never had the experience of being deeply shattered because of unwise faith placed in someone.


Furthermore someone who shows signs of being conflicted and confused.


Your projections, buddy, not mine.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:16 am

Indrajala wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Folks from Tibetan Buddhism will not simply tend to disagree with this.
They will realise that it is a critique from someone who has no first hand experiential knowledge about that of which he opines.


I've never had the experience of being deeply shattered because of unwise faith placed in someone.



I am pretty sure someone you trusted broke your heart. It happens everywhere in life, it is a part of life.

/magnus
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