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in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:55 am
by Arabic Buddhist
Hello dear friends


I think i will practice Chan . Because ( i think ) they practice to Attain Enlightenment in this life . And to born in pure land after this life .

But do i have to find teacher ( face to face ) to practice chan ? Or just learn chan from books and youtube then practice ?

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:28 am
by Astus
It is better to find a Buddhist community and learn from experienced people, teachers and monks. This is especially true if you are new to Buddhism. But Chan is not restricted in any way for anyone.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:24 am
by seeker242
Having a real life teacher while practicing Chan is nearly always better than not having one. However, practicing chan with no real life teacher is nearly always better than not practicing it at all.

You could think of it like a university course on some academic subject. (Even though chan is not an academic matter) Can you just buy the book and learn all the class materiel yourself, do the lab experiments yourself, etc? Sure, you can. Does it help to have a university professor teach you the materiel, explain things in the book you are not clear about, answer your questions, give you homework and hold you accountable for completing it? Of course! That is very helpful!

:namaste:

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:08 am
by zengen
Yes, I would definitely suggest you to find a good teacher and a good Buddhist community when practicing Chan meditation.

Here, you can find teachers of different traditions, including Chan: http://www.buddhanet.net/masters/index.htm

As you progress in practicing Chan meditation, you may sometimes encounter meditative states. Without a good teacher guiding you, you may become attached to these meditative states, and stop making progress in your practice. These meditative states indicate progress, but they do not mean that you are enlightened, so you need to be vigilant of them. If you don't have a teacher by your side to guide you step by step through your practice, I would suggest you to thoroughly read the Shurangama Sutra. In the sutra, all sorts of meditate states are described so you can recognize these states in your meditation and not attach to these states.

You can read the Shurangama Sutra in English here:
http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama1/shur ... ntents.asp

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:23 am
by anjali
Arabic Buddhist wrote:But do i have to find teacher ( face to face ) to practice chan ? Or just learn chan from books and youtube then practice ?
If there is no nearby Chan center, one option is to go to retreats of varying length that will teach Chan. For example, Dharma Drum Retreat Center offers sessions of varying lengths. If you are a beginner they start with 3- and 5-day retreats, then work up to 7 and 10 day retreats. During those retreats you can have private interviews with the teacher for that retreat and ask questions. I'm only using DDRC as an example. I'm sure other Chan/Zen organizations offer similar opportunities. Find one you like. Completing a couple of Chan retreats--especially the longer ones--would be priceless if you can swing it.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:25 am
by Thomas Amundsen
Arabic Buddhist wrote:Hello dear friends


I think i will practice Chan . Because ( i think ) they practice to Attain Enlightenment in this life . And to born in pure land after this life .

But do i have to find teacher ( face to face ) to practice chan ? Or just learn chan from books and youtube then practice ?
I think it's much better to learn from a Ch'an master. From what I understand, Sheng Yen's Dharma Drum Mountain lineage has a good reputation and is established in many places throughout the world. This isn't the actual lineage I practice with, but a good friend does and I have visited their center a couple times and the people were very nice. You can also find a lot of Sheng Yen's videos on YouTube.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:05 am
by steve_bakr
Arabic Buddhist wrote:Hello dear friends


I think i will practice Chan . Because ( i think ) they practice to Attain Enlightenment in this life . And to born in pure land after this life .

But do i have to find teacher ( face to face ) to practice chan ? Or just learn chan from books and youtube then practice ?
You probably know that having a teacher and community is the ideal situation, but for some reason don't have access to these resources. In that case, you can practice Chan without a teacher.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:04 am
by antiquebuddhas
seeker242 wrote:Having a real life teacher while practicing Chan is nearly always better than not having one. However, practicing chan with no real life teacher is nearly always better than not practicing it at all.

You could think of it like a university course on some academic subject. (Even though chan is not an academic matter) Can you just buy the book and learn all the class materiel yourself, do the lab experiments yourself, etc? Sure, you can. Does it help to have a university professor teach you the materiel, explain things in the book you are not clear about, answer your questions, give you homework and hold you accountable for completing it? Of course! That is very helpful!

:namaste:
I don't think just buying book and learning the material will help you. You must be guided too in order to truly understand the value and meaning of the book.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:40 am
by Zhen Li
Having a teacher in the way the tradition held historically, and Seon and Zen still largely do, is largely non existent in modern Chan.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:23 pm
by steve_bakr
Of course, it is always best to have a teacher. But that is not always possible.

In this age, there is an abundance of Chan literature which you can learn from. So, don't let not having a teacher keep you from practicing.

Also, you mentioned birth in the Pure Land, which is generally associated with Shin Buddhism, whose primary practice is the Nembutsu: Namo Amida Butsu, which roughly translated means, "I take refuge in Amida Buddha.

By the way, there is nothing to stop you from practicing both Chan and Shin Buddhism together.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:28 pm
by passel
While you’re looking for a teacher, which could take years, you could work on the basics- posture, breathing, non grasping mind, and get familiar w the literature.
Then, when you start getting some personal instruction you’ll have a foundation on which to build; heed any traditional warnings you come across on not developing bad habits, like sitting in a spaced out. dull state for hours and hours, or just talking ‘zen like’ w/o practice.
But yeah, find the best teachers you can find as soon as you can, the actual tradition is less important than the quality of the teacher.

In the meantime, some beginners have luck with Shinzen Young’s YouTube stuff

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:41 pm
by Meido
passel wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:28 pm
While you’re looking for a teacher, which could take years, you could work on the basics- posture, breathing, non grasping mind, and get familiar w the literature.
Then, when you start getting some personal instruction you’ll have a foundation on which to build; heed any traditional warnings you come across on not developing bad habits, like sitting in a spaced out. dull state for hours and hours, or just talking ‘zen like’ w/o practice.
But yeah, find the best teachers you can find as soon as you can, the actual tradition is less important than the quality of the teacher.
Good advice. And especially, "...the actual tradition is less important than the quality of the teacher."

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:48 pm
by Dharmasherab
Yes, a teacher is important.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:36 pm
by adept
Greetings.
I have a dilemma regarding this topic.
I don't have a teacher and use any resources I can to practice and study.
My life situation prevents me from leaving my house for anything more than a few hours at a time. I have a son with a disability/special needs.
Between myself and my wife, someone has to be home 24/7. This situation hasn't prevented me from trying my best to cultivate. I know I'll never get the chance for retreats or even sitting in the presence of a teacher. Any advice anyone has would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:49 pm
by Miroku
adept wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:36 pm
Greetings.
I have a dilemma regarding this topic.
I don't have a teacher and use any resources I can to practice and study.
My life situation prevents me from leaving my house for anything more than a few hours at a time. I have a son with a disability/special needs.
Between myself and my wife, someone has to be home 24/7. This situation hasn't prevented me from trying my best to cultivate. I know I'll never get the chance for retreats or even sitting in the presence of a teacher. Any advice anyone has would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Kwan Um School of zen offer online classes. So you can find those. Its on their websites.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:47 pm
by adept
Miroku wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:49 pm
Kwan Um School of zen offer online classes. So you can find those. Its on their websites.
Thank you.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:21 pm
by adept
Just to clarify, I do have some formal in-person training from years ago, before my current life situation.
I learned zazen in a Soto environment and sometime later learned samatha/vipassana at a Thai Forest monastery.
However my interests are in Ch'an and possibly Rinzai, as I think Rinzai is close to what the ancient Ch'an masters taught.

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:01 pm
by Dan74
I know some people have written to teachers who agreed to give guidance online, in Skype sessions, with an understanding that eventually a face-to-face meeting will take place. Just do your best.

Good luck!!!

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:06 pm
by adept
:thanks:

Re: in practice chan do I need teacher !

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:19 am
by Wayfarer
I think the key point about a teacher and a practice community is exposure to a perspective other than your own. I mean, it’s easy enough to read Zen texts, but their real point is to provoke a radical change in perspective. A teacher and a dedicated community embody that alternative perspective in ways that it’s difficult for us solo practitioners to realise. That doesn’t mean that our individual commitment and effort is not worthwhile, as I’m sure it is, but the role of the teacher is particularly important in this matter.