Shopping for a tradition

Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby Sara H » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:54 am

floating_abu wrote:
Sara H wrote:
Like all else in meditation, in the end, we just have to listen to, and trust our intuition.


Only a genuine master can differentiate.

As to the 'trust yourself' line, yes and no, yes in general, no when it comes to delusion. Cue the current LA killer who has sworn to defend is name and truth. Can you tell the difference?

No, no, no, listening to your own voice is nought but risk bearing...and yet of course who else can we keep counsel with?

A good (i.e. a real and accomplished) Master is the only one who can help in this regard, and God willing, there are still many around..


Nono, this is not something esoteric friend.

Even children can learn to do this.

Most do it naturally anyway.

It's only later that we have to re-learn how to do this because we've been trained out of it by society.

Every young child knows how to meditate. Even animals do this. Dogs and Cats. Our own cats meditate nicely, they pull up to a wall sit in front of it, about the same ratio back as we humans do in Soto, and stare at it, sitting quietly for periods, doing perfect meditation.

Sitting quietly in stillness, free of our own opinions is the natural default state of every being.

All that's needed is to withdraw within, and reflect upon yourself.

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby Punya » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:22 pm

Jikan wrote:This came up in reflecting on the Treeleaf Sangha thread:

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=11691

Historically, if you were interested in hearing and practicing the Dharma, you'd have to convince your family to let you leave the farm or the village, find a temple that would take a chance on you, and then learn and practice whatever was presented to you. This last bit is not such a bad approach: if the teachings are medicine given to alleviate the particular afflictions of the student, then it follows that the teacher is in a better position to diagnose and prescribe appropriate forms of practice for the student than the student who chooses to self-medicate.

I've noticed that in recent years people get interested in practice through reading or poking around online, convince themselves that a particular approach is the one for them (maybe it "resonates" for them), and then actively seek out a teacher who will give that particular kind of teaching on the student's terms. It's not unlike shopping: you identify with a particular kind of brand, and then you go out and get it. In this sense, the teachings have become to such students just another consumer good. I like This Zen brand meditation, not That Zen brand.

What gets lost in the process? The opportunity for the teacher to turn the student's world rightside-up. Why? Because the teacher is put in the position of giving the student what he or she wants, and not necessarily what he or she needs. What else gets lost in the process? It may be that some teachers commit to a race to the bottom in publicly crafting a brand for their school that emphasizes desirability (that is, promoting the idea that we give people what they want). Branding, after all, is competitive; Our School is not Your School. What emerges from this? Sectarian arrogance, perhaps, but also a feeling that others have a sinister view of your own school... how could they not, if they choose to practice with Them instead of Us?

I'd like to know what others think of this.

(I have some other ideas on teachers who willingly participate in such an arrangement, but I'm still thinking them through.)


Having been a long term shopper, I think there are benefits in it.

I understand that in Tibet, you would simply follow the tradition of your particular village and/or family. This reinforces sectarianism. It also happens in the west. I've come across people in different centres who, apart from the Dalai Lama, are completely ignorant of different traditions even within Tibetan buddhism. Shopping, at least to some extent, overcomes this.

Ultimately what you need, as Johnny has said, is a teacher who challenges you. Given the lack of pedagogical traditions within our culture, it seems more likely that the challenging will occur if a student is really committed to a teacher and, in my experience, this commitment is more likely to come after undertaking the shopping.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:50 am

Punya wrote:Ultimately what you need, as Johnny has said, is a teacher who challenges you. Given the lack of pedagogical traditions within our culture, it seems more likely that the challenging will occur if a student is really committed to a teacher and, in my experience, this commitment is more likely to come after undertaking the shopping.


That's a very good point. I think what you mean by "shopping" and what I mean by it are a bit different, however. You're describing the process of carefully examining a number of teachers and temples before full-on committing to one. That's essential. The difference, though, comes in the part you quote above: you do need a teacher who will challenge you, and you need to be willing to rise to the challenge so to speak, to stick with it. But say you've found yourself a "teacher" who refuses to challenge you (because that's what you shopped for)? Or: suppose you never exactly stop shopping, but move on to the next scene when the teacher disappoints you by pointing out ways in which you might need to grow up? That's where I think people get into trouble, or rather, make it impossible for learning to happen.
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Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby Punya » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:20 pm

You're right, of course. Both scenarios are perfectly possible. I guess it depends on the person as to whether you go looking for teacher who challenges you. But if you get 'hooked' regardless of whether you were looking for them, you just have to deal with the challenges anyway. :smile:
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Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby seeker242 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:53 pm

Jikan wrote: Because the teacher is put in the position of giving the student what he or she wants, and not necessarily what he or she needs.


With one on one personal interaction, I think a good teacher can recognize what a student needs and give that regardless of what school or tradition they are in. A good teacher will be able to intuitively tell the difference between what the student wants vs what they need and give them whatever is most beneficial for them.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Shopping for a tradition

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:55 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Jikan wrote: Because the teacher is put in the position of giving the student what he or she wants, and not necessarily what he or she needs.


With one on one personal interaction, I think a good teacher can recognize what a student needs and give that regardless of what school or tradition they are in. A good teacher will be able to intuitively tell the difference between what the student wants vs what they need and give them whatever is most beneficial for them.


:good:

True story.
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