Malcolm wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 pm
The Nirvana Sūtra
Son of a good family, all sentient beings are just the same — without serving a virtuous mentor, they will not perceive the nature of the Buddha.
Those who do not know how to serve the virtuous mentor will not know the very secret tathāgatgarbha.
One who does not rely on a virtuous mentor is a person who has not entered into the teaching of the Bhagavan Buddha, called "one with perverted craving." Such a person cannot be cured by the Bhagavan Buddha.
Yes, that's more along the line of what I thought of as a requirement, a necessity.
"By not being able to get close to a good spiritual advisor, despite the fact [that each of them] has the buddha-nature, they cannot see it.
Like the athlete in the story who bemoaned the loss of his jewel when it was in fact inside his body, living beings are in a similar situation. Because they do not know how to approach a good spiritual advisor, they remain unaware of the hidden treasury that is the tathāgatagarbha, and they study and practice the doctrine of nonself. This is analogous to the mundane person who asserts the existence of self but does not understand the true nature of self. My disciples may also be like this. Because they do not know how to approach a good spiritual advisor, they study and put into practice the doctrine of nonself but they, too, do not understand the point of [the doctrine of] nonself. And if they do not understand the true nature of nonself, then how could they understand the true nature of self?"
(Nirvana Sutra, BDK ed, vol 1, p 231)
Apparently the Pratyutpannasamadhi Sutra has significantly more to say about teachers than the Surangamasamadhi or even the Nirvana Sutra.
"If this bodhisattva regards his teacher as he would regard the Buddha, he will master the meditation quickly. If he does not honor his good teacher, if he is disrespectful to his good teacher and imposes upon him, then even if he studies this meditation for a long time, keeps it for a long time, and practices it for a long time, if he does not honor his good teacher he will quickly lose it. ...
This bodhisattva should regard as a buddha whatever monk, nun, layman, or laywoman from whom he hears this meditation, and he should venerate the place where he hears the meditation."
(BDK ed, p 46; also on p 29)
The sutra also has advice for lay men and women (p 50-52), stating that "he should always have great love for his good teacher" and a "laywoman should always honor her good teachers", but there are also other things they should do. A layman: "he should not drink wine or give it to other people to drink; he should not have intercourse with women—neither should he himself do so, nor should he advise other people to do so; he should not have any affection for his wife and children; he should not long for sons and daughters; he should not long for property; he should always think longingly of abandoning [household life] and undertaking the life of an ascetic; he should always maintain the eightfold fast and for the duration of the fast he should always keep the fast at a Buddhist monastery;"
And a laywoman: "she should not take any notice of lucky days; she should not be flirtatious; she should not be unrestrained; and she should not have desires."
Further clarifications on the requirement to have a teacher and the service provided to them:
"they should first honor and serve their good teachers and regard them as buddhas, and only then should they recite this meditation."
"Bhadrapāla, any bodhisattvas who, hearing of this meditation, wish to go to that place and hear and strive for this meditation, should serve their teachers for ten years or one hundred years; they should make them offerings and venerate them totally. These bodhisattvas should not be self serving but should follow their teachers’ teaching. They should always be grateful to their teachers."
"Setting aside these offerings, which are simply not worth mentioning, you should always cut off your own flesh and offer it to the good teacher; you should never begrudge him your person, much less anything else. You should serve the good teacher just as a slave serves his master. Those who seek this meditation should know this. Having mastered this meditation they should hold fast to it and always be grateful to their teachers."
As I said, it is an imperative, not an option.
conebeckham wrote: ↑
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:20 am
Adjective 1.Of vital importance; crucial. 2. Giving an authoritative command; imperative.
Noun An essential or Urgent thing.
Sounds necessary to me.
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".