Yes, you need a teacher.

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Bristollad
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Bristollad » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:51 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:23 pm
The difference I mean is like between "do not be lustful" and "no lustful mind can attain absorption", or in this case: "one should have a teacher" and "cannot be done without a teacher".
I'm not sure I understand you. They just seem like instructions and reasons for the instructions, not instructions and recommendations:

Do not be lustful because no lustful mind can attain absorption

one should have a teacher because [it] cannot be done without a teacher

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Astus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:26 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:51 pm
They just seem like instructions and reasons for the instructions, not instructions and recommendations
There can be various reasons for an instruction. To establish the necessity of something, other options have to be excluded.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Mantrik
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Mantrik » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:36 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:26 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:51 pm
They just seem like instructions and reasons for the instructions, not instructions and recommendations
There can be various reasons for an instruction. To establish the necessity of something, other options have to be excluded.
The only reason (motivation) for an instruction is that someone feels that it needs to be given. This is not always matched by anyone else feeling it needs to be given, or a willingness to receive it.

We need a teacher who is suited to our need for instructions, rather than a teacher who expects his students to satisfy his need to give them.
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Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:41 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:36 pm
We need a teacher who is suited to our need for instructions, rather than a teacher who expects his students to satisfy his need to give them.
Yea, it would be super scary to find oneself in such a position. I would sprint away from that kind of situation, which I believe I have done before.

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Mantrik
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Mantrik » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:45 pm

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:41 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:36 pm
We need a teacher who is suited to our need for instructions, rather than a teacher who expects his students to satisfy his need to give them.
Yea, it would be super scary to find oneself in such a position. I would sprint away from that kind of situation, which I believe I have done before.

Me too. A whole cult farm of em!
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The Cicada
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by The Cicada » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:57 pm

The 10 Questions of DGA

1) What does it mean, to your mind, when you say that the Lotus Sutra and Buddha Shakyamuni are one's teachers?

The same as it means in the Lotus Sutra, the venerable epistles of Nichiren, and the doctrine of the transmission through the scrolls of the Kempon Hokke.

2) What do these claims mean in a practical sense, to your understanding?

It means practicing in accordance with the teachings outlined on the aforementioned works.

3) Exactly what?

Exactly what was plainly written.

4) There are some students who are failures, as you say. That's obvious--that's samsara. What does that prove, to your mind?

It proves that their efforts are largely fruitless in the immediate or conventional sense, though not from the perspective of the Lotus Sutra. Gustavo.

5) What is your point?

I'm merely pointing to the obvious.

6) Surely you are not trying to generalize from the particular?

It is a common tactic of those who wish to skirt an issue to attempt to frame all generalizations as over-generalizations, but this is a rhetorical tactic and not a demonstration of sound logic. With the context of Dharma and much Eastern thought, such tactics (which some may adopt out of habit or misunderstanding) ignore the inductive and abductive reasoning that is at the basis of these traditions. For one to sincerely accept such a tactic as sound reasoning belies an individual's difficulty in making inferences and in grasping probabilities.

7) Why did you bring it up?

Declaring disagreeable parts of scripture invalid by claiming they are later additions and corruptions despite lack of evidence is a common tactic for internet Buddhist arguments which also appears in academic works as well—a priori, sans citations.

8) Does this seem even plausible to you?

It is possible, a word that implies less likelihood than "plausible." It is possible that you are a batch of sentient yogurt with electrodes attached which is connected to a virtual reality "Matrix" that we are all similarly connected to. This scenario is not plausible, however.

A more plausible possibility regarding the statements in Buddhist Sutras is translation errors which arise from dissimilarities between the source language and English, poor understanding of the nuances of context within the language, and of course outright bias.

Then there's also the issue of simply taking a plain and transparent line of scripture out of context for the sake of winning an argument.

9) How does it follow that a doctrine of the "transmission through the Sutra scrolls" is correct for the present day?

This is explained in the 3 works referenced above: The Lotus Sutra, the venerable epistes of Nichiren, and the doctrine of the Kempon Hokke.

10) What does it mean that "the teacher is the teaching itself" ... ?

See previous response.



The 9 Ass ertions of DGA

1) My point is that they are teaching a doctrine, which means it's more complicated that you are letting on.

Are you familiar with this doctrine, and if so, do you understand it, and to what extent do you claim to understand it?

2) There are some students who are failures, as you say. That's obvious--that's samsara.
"That's samsara" indeed, and it is often pitifully obvious that a good number of such students are not only hopelessly trapped in it, but go on to "claim they have attained what they have not attained." Gus.

3) I hasten to point out the obverse of your claim, which is equally obvious: among those non-Asian disciples of Asian Buddhist masters, there are those who are certainly NOT failures, and who are in fact authentic treasures.

Which disciples, specifically, are you referring to? What is it about each individual that you believe makes them an authentic "treasure" in a way that is consistent with Buddhist scripture, doctrine, and the teachings of their teachers?

4) Some is not all.

Nor is most.

5) If you find the idea of making such a claim beneath your dignity...

You're attempting to divine my motives and presuming to know them. Better adjust your DBZ scouter, Gus, or go back to training for remote viewing.

6) Two non sequiturs ^^^.

It's possible that you genuinely can't see the connection between the sentences and to the broader context of the conversation or even that you've subconsciously prevented yourself from doing so, but I don't pretend to be psychic.

The short paragraph was transparent and plainly worded.

7) Yes, there are those who go around in circles, convinced their creative renderings of Buddhist teachings are of value, as discussed already.

Another point on which I can only agree with you. Again, exactly, DGA.

8) cult of the book

The implications of this phrase, though the term could be accurately used in the literally sense of the phrase, are unrelated to Buddhadharma and have no bearing on it.

9) It seems to me that if one takes one's inspiration from this particular sutra, one will not exactly resist the imperatives that come with a teacher-disciple relationship.

The parable you're referencing is pointing out the lowliness of those who cling to provisional teachings and are not aware that they themselves are Buddhas in the making. This is like the parable in which the Buddha is the rich friend who points out the wish-granting jewel in his friend's robe. The poor man was rich all along. The jewel is the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The Buddha himself is the friend who points out this treasure that the poor man carried around the whole time.

Once you have been imparted with this treasure and made aware of it, you have everything you need to build your great good fortune. So to speak.

Bristollad
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Bristollad » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:00 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:26 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:51 pm
They just seem like instructions and reasons for the instructions, not instructions and recommendations
There can be various reasons for an instruction. To establish the necessity of something, other options have to be excluded.
I still don't understand the distinction you are trying to draw. Of course there can be different reasons for an instruction to be given - but how does that mean the instruction isn't an instruction?

One must have a teacher - to encourage, to call you on your bullshit, to inspire, to correct, to demonstrate through their own practise....and so on. Each reason doesn't change the instruction. Having a teacher seems not to be merely a recommendation but something essential for one's practise.

If someone said, "I'm going to jump out of a plane", and you told them, "Then, you should use a parachute." I hope they would take it as an essential instruction not a mere recommendation :tongue:

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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:05 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:00 pm
Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:26 pm

There can be various reasons for an instruction. To establish the necessity of something, other options have to be excluded.
I still don't understand the distinction you are trying to draw.
Neither does he.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Astus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:20 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:00 pm
I still don't understand the distinction you are trying to draw.
A common instruction is to renounce worldly life, and even to leave communal life and stay in an isolated place. It does not mean that everyone has to become a hermit, or that everyone has to leave their home, even when those conditions are considered beneficial on the path. For instance, here are some strong words from Dogen:

"None has succeeded to the right action of the Buddha-Dharma, and none has received the authentic transmission of the great truth of the Buddha-Dharma, without leaving family life. Notwithstanding scant pursuit of the truth by laypeople as upāsakas and upāsikās, there is no past example of one arriving at the truth. When we arrive at the truth, we inevitably leave family life. How can people who are not able to leave family life succeed to the position of a buddha? Nevertheless, for the last two or three hundred years in the great kingdom of Song, people calling themselves priests of the Zen sect have habitually said, “Pursuit of the truth by a layman and pursuit of the truth by one who has left family life are just the same.” They are a tribe of people who have become dogs, for the sole purpose of making the filth and urine of laypeople into their food and drink. Sometimes they say to kings and their ministers, “The mind in conducting the myriad affairs of state is just the mind of patriarchs and buddhas, other than which there is no mind at all.” Kings and ministers, never having discerned right preaching and right Dharma, delightedly bestow on them gifts such as the titles of master. The monks who speak such words are Devadattas. In order that they might feed upon tears and spit, they produce childish and demented talk like this. They are deplorable. They are not the kindred of the Seven Buddhas. They are demons and animals."
(Sanjuichi-bon-bodai-bunpo, in SBGZ, BDK ed, vol 4, p 14)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:41 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:20 pm
the path.
No teacher, no path.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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The Cicada
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by The Cicada » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:41 pm
Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:20 pm
the path.
No teacher, no path.
No path. Yet a path. Both no path and a path. Neither no path and a path.

A teacher and a path? Yet no path. Both a path and no path. Neither a path nor no path.

No teacher and a path? Yet no path. Both a path and no path. Neither a path nor no path.

A teacher and no path? Yet a path. Both a path and no path. Neither a path nor no path.

Etc.

odysseus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by odysseus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:56 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:41 pm
Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:20 pm
the path.
No teacher, no path.
Buddha is the teacher. Fine, let us view our Vajrayana monk as Buddha. No problem.

This is not what I talked about, when I said you don't absolutely need a teacher. But instead of debating with me, I get comments like ridiculous and silly and a Buddhist without a teacher is something sad. I refer to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=25908

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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:01 pm

The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Seeing the way that some are willing to warp the Dharma to suit their own politics and proclivities...
Following your sterling example of course...
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Astus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:06 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:41 pm
No teacher, no path.
So it is stated clearly for Vajrayana.

"Entering the door to the teachings of Secret Mantra Vajrayana depends upon two things: ripening and liberation. Unless you first obtain the ripening empowerments, you are not authorized to hear even a single verse of the tantras, statements and instructions. (Unauthorized) people who engage in expounding on and listening to the tantras will not only fail to receive blessings; they will create immense demerit from divulging the secrecy of these teachings."
(Tsele Natsok Rangdrol: Empowerment, p 15)

"The door to Secret Mantra is empowerment that brings maturity.
The generation and perfection stages both bring freedom.
Observance of samaya is the favorable condition.
These three define the path of Mantra, faultless and supreme.
Without reception of empowerment,
No attainment can there be,
For that would be like wanting ghee from pressing sand.
And though one strives in teaching, learning, meditation,
One will go to hell.
While those who have empowerment
Are the Buddhas heirs."

(Jigme Lingpa: Treasury of Precious Qualities, 10.14-15, in vol 2, p 8)

But is there anything like that in the sutras and treatises? Are Abhidharma, Pramana, Madhyamaka, or Yogacara bound to a teacher as Tantra is?

For instance, Jamgon Kongtrul writes in the Treasury of Knowledge (Buddhist Ethics, p 41-42):

"There are countless scriptural references to the need for working with a spiritual guide. The Condensed Transcendent Wisdom Scripture states:
Worthy students who respect spiritual teachers
Should always remain close to learned masters
Because from them the virtues of the wise spring.
The Flower Array Scripture states:
O child of the universal family, all your virtuous qualities issue from your spiritual guide. You can encounter and receive instructions from one only if you have cultivated merit and wisdom for oceans of eons. Otherwise, to meet a spiritual guide may prove more difficult than coming upon the most rare of gems. Therefore, never tire of honoring your spiritual guide.

Given that a student wishes to attain the state of an omniscient buddha, the basic premise is that it is necessary for him or her to work with a spiritual guide. The reason is that the individual does not know how to cultivate merit and wisdom or to clear away obscurations. Examples consistent with this proof are the enlightened ones of the three times. The converse can be illustrated by solitary sages and other examples."


The above is under the heading of "The Necessity of Working with a Spiritual Guide". However, this is not the exclusive necessity as it is for Vajrayana, plus the reasoning contradicts the second quote.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

odysseus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by odysseus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:31 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:01 pm
The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Seeing the way that some are willing to warp the Dharma to suit their own politics and proclivities...
Following your sterling example of course...
Yeah, your talk is one more reason for referring to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=25908

odysseus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by odysseus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:02 am

I will tell a little personal story about why I don't think a teacher is always necessary.

My Dad is from Nepal and his little village is mostly Buddhist. They have some local Lamas that perform rituals at births, weddings and funerals. But Dad is a Buddhist and he never had a close "teacher". But he is still a Buddhist. He has done well in life, more than me. Compared to him, I am a loser even if I grew up in Europe. The point is he has been leading a "successful" life. If he will reach Nirvana, I don't know. But he has been happy, even by Western standards. Even without constant guidance from a guru.

Another example is the prospected 500 millions of Buddhists in the world. Now, maybe 50% of them say they are Buddhists because they like Buddha more than any God. Maybe the other 50% are more hardcore and they consult with a monk. Still, they cannot be seen in a teacher-student-relationship all the time. And still they lead normal and happy lives.

The point is that there are no 500 million Lamas in the world - one teacher for each student. If you are lucky, you will find one Lama who you can enter a teacher-student-relationship with. But overall, most Buddhists do fine without a personal teacher.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:20 am

Maybe we should talk about the various nuances of the term “teacher”? Astus touched on it before with discussion of the term “kalyanamitra” vs “guru”. There seems like there may be different levels to the term.
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by PuerAzaelis » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:48 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:46 pm
Sitting respectfully and listening to another human being explain the Dharma simply cannot be matched by reading books alone in one's room, arm akimbo, feet up, snacks in hand, listening to one's favorite music.
Yes listening and reading is an art. Even if the pot is the right side up it should be cleaned so as not to have a bad smell.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:27 am

kirtu wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:40 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:24 pm
I didn't hear the Dharma until I went to hear Sakya Trizin teach the Dharma in 1989. After that experience, I understood the necessity of hearing the Dharma.
Hearing Dharma from a qualified lama/teacher is the decisive turning point. It is like the teacher turns a light on.

Kirt
Why was it that the first time ''a light was turned on in me", was after reading J.Krishnamurti, who was not a Buddhist and did not talk about Buddhism?
I did meet other recognized Zen masters before and after, but no 'light switched on". I also met lamas with no switches going off. Most of the people I've met where the light got turned on, were not Buddhists, but were not opposed to Buddhism.

Personally, I feel there is way too much fetishism and importance given to this, particularly by Tibetan Buddhism. The Buddha talked about 'the spiritual friend'. He didn't talk about worship and fixation on them. It helps a lot to have a spiritual friend, but it depends on you to make use of them. No spiritual friend is going to tell you to devote yourself to them. My own teacher always reiterated the importance of self reliance and one's own contemplation as the most important element. The rest is subjectivity, IMO.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by PuerAzaelis » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:33 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:27 am
Why was it that the first time ''a light was turned on in me", was after reading J.Krishnamurti, who was not a Buddhist and did not talk about Buddhism?
If ultimately his books didn't reflect the four dharma seals what kind of light was it then, in retrospect?
Anonymous X wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:27 am
No spiritual friend is going to tell you to devote yourself to them.
Depending on the instruction, they may extensively discuss the guru.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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