Is Zen pointless without a teacher?

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Matylda
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Is Zen pointless without a teacher?

Post by Matylda » Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:45 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:This has probably been asked ad nauseum.
Is it pointless to attempt to practice Zen without an active relationship with a teacher?

In my case, I practice Pure Land, yet find meditation helpful and am most familiar/comfortable with Zen as another school.
Rather than try to combine the two practices, I see Zen, the bodhisattva vows, the 10 Grave Precepts and such as my duty in this life, knowing full well my effort is tiny and virtue small, so I rely on Amida.
That said, work makes it very difficult for me to regularly attend any temple, let alone see a teacher often enough to call it a relationship.
I'm lucky if I can get to a temple once a month.
I've seen time and time again that Zen is a relationship with a teacher, not a book.
So what do people in my situation generally do? I can't imagine every person who practices Zen or Chan is in a teacher's pocket.

Thanks :namaste:
In the case when one is pure land follower, one does not need zazen as suppoert since nenbusu is utterly complete practice... but zazen which is support or additional practice is good even without teacher... then it is just meditation, and it is fine.

it is very different for one who follows zen, but does it without a teacher... and the reason is simple - one needs urgently a teacher, since in zazen one receives countless instructions on both relative level concerning body, breath and mind, and ultimate level which goes beyond relative and points directly at the nature, i.e. buddha nature, its activity and so on... and that is so regardless tradition like soto or rinzai. And still it is very very brief description which has its limits, which should be clear for any advanced zen disciple.

steve_bakr
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:03 am

Re: Is Zen pointless without a teacher?

Post by steve_bakr » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:29 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:This has probably been asked ad nauseum.
Is it pointless to attempt to practice Zen without an active relationship with a teacher?

In my case, I practice Pure Land, yet find meditation helpful and am most familiar/comfortable with Zen as another school.
Rather than try to combine the two practices, I see Zen, the bodhisattva vows, the 10 Grave Precepts and such as my duty in this life, knowing full well my effort is tiny and virtue small, so I rely on Amida.
That said, work makes it very difficult for me to regularly attend any temple, let alone see a teacher often enough to call it a relationship.
I'm lucky if I can get to a temple once a month.
I've seen time and time again that Zen is a relationship with a teacher, not a book.
So what do people in my situation generally do? I can't imagine every person who practices Zen or Chan is in a teacher's pocket.

Thanks :namaste:
It's always good to get instructions, but the real teacher is your mind. If you were talking about leaving your family to seek enlightenment, I would be worried. But you are attending to your responsibilities in life. That is your practice! It sounds like you're doing the right things.

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