Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

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Astus
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Astus » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:55 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:05 pm
I think the importance of the relationship with a qualified teacher is that

1. He/she can identify where a student is stuck and given the students karmic package, how best to deal with this 'stuckness' - which practice/teaching is appropriate
2. Can act as a mirror to the student in which he/she can see their own projections/clinging/aversion reflected back to them
3. Basically do all they can to motivate and inspire the student to persevere with practice including modelling and giving a taste of what it is like
According to the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment one better avoid having expectations toward teachers:

"The Buddha preaches that in the gradual perfection of such a person, he should seek a good friend so as not to fall into errant views, but that if he produces likes and dislikes in regard to what he seeks, then he will not be able to enter the ocean of pure enlightenment."
(ch 9, p 96)

"If those good friends are close to them, they should cut off their pride. If those good friends are distant from them, they should cut off their anger. The occurrence of states of attraction and aversion is like empty space."
(ch 10, p 101)
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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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by boda » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:03 pm

KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:20 pm
i do happen to think that determining who is enlightened and who is not is not possible and is a fools errand.
This can only mean that you believe you lack the ability to make a determination, you don't know what enlightenment is, or you believe it's a fiction. Could be a combination of these possibilities.

I don't know about other traditions but in Zen enlightenment in relation to a teacher simply means that they've had a particular mental experience. They've deliberately achieved a mental state where a sense of self has subsided. That's it. It's no small accomplishment but it is just an experience and an experience that anyone might have at any time, given the right conditions. The experience itself doesn't make a person wiser or more compassionate. A fool can have such an experience and they will remain a fool. A wise individual can have this experience and they'll remain wise. A sociopath (Shimano?) can be enlightened and remain a sociopath.

It is foolish to deny this obvious truth.
It seems to me that Zen (and Buddhism, in general) is based on something that cannot be grasped by the intellect. That is the source of doubt.
You doubt that emptiness is true? or you doubt that it can or cannot be grasped by the intellect?

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by DGA » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:04 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:38 pm
DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:35 pm
Who has done this?
How do you read then Meido's words?

"In Zen this ties into what is meant by "transmission outside the scriptures, not dependent on words and letters": the lifeblood of the path is realized within face to face human relationship, that is, within the ba ("field") of the teacher. ... I'd have just told him to go elsewhere. The reason is that it means to me he is not seeking relationship with a teacher and community in order to actualize Zen."
I read Meido's posts to mean what I wrote quoted below. If I've misunderstood his meaning, or if he disagrees with me, I'd like to know.
The point is that you need a relationship with a living teacher to actualize the teachings, to realize them for yourself.
I think "need" is too much. Rather it is recommended.
I think you and I have different views on this.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by KeithA » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:41 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:03 pm
KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:20 pm
i do happen to think that determining who is enlightened and who is not is not possible and is a fools errand.
This can only mean that you believe you lack the ability to make a determination, you don't know what enlightenment is, or you believe it's a fiction. Could be a combination of these possibilities.

I don't know about other traditions but in Zen enlightenment in relation to a teacher simply means that they've had a particular mental experience. They've deliberately achieved a mental state where a sense of self has subsided. That's it. It's no small accomplishment but it is just an experience and an experience that anyone might have at any time, given the right conditions. The experience itself doesn't make a person wiser or more compassionate. A fool can have such an experience and they will remain a fool. A wise individual can have this experience and they'll remain wise. A sociopath (Shimano?) can be enlightened and remain a sociopath.

It is foolish to deny this obvious truth.
It seems to me that Zen (and Buddhism, in general) is based on something that cannot be grasped by the intellect. That is the source of doubt.
You doubt that emptiness is true? or you doubt that it can or cannot be grasped by the intellect?
Oh my, so many "you"'s'!! :guns:

"Understand yourself, use that understanding to help the world" was ZM Seung Sahn's definition of practice direction. Enlightenment and Bodhisattva action. I don't know what enlightenment is, don't know what an "enlightened person" looks like and don't spend any time thinking about it. Moment to moment, I just look at how it is right now. Of course, I am a lousy student and stray often.

Intellectual understanding of emptiness versus actualizing it are two different things, in my opinion.

_/|\_
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Dan74 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:00 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:55 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:05 pm
I think the importance of the relationship with a qualified teacher is that

1. He/she can identify where a student is stuck and given the students karmic package, how best to deal with this 'stuckness' - which practice/teaching is appropriate
2. Can act as a mirror to the student in which he/she can see their own projections/clinging/aversion reflected back to them
3. Basically do all they can to motivate and inspire the student to persevere with practice including modelling and giving a taste of what it is like
According to the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment one better avoid having expectations toward teachers:

"The Buddha preaches that in the gradual perfection of such a person, he should seek a good friend so as not to fall into errant views, but that if he produces likes and dislikes in regard to what he seeks, then he will not be able to enter the ocean of pure enlightenment."
(ch 9, p 96)

"If those good friends are close to them, they should cut off their pride. If those good friends are distant from them, they should cut off their anger. The occurrence of states of attraction and aversion is like empty space."
(ch 10, p 101)
Having expectations is rarely very helpful, whether in regard to teacher, one's practice or anything. Doesn't mean that when positive qualities like the one's I listed above manifest, they are not extremely useful, does it?

That said, discernment helps.

_/|\_

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:07 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:18 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:09 pm
You apparently missed the word "qualified."
That word was not used in that post.
The post was lifted from another thread.
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by boda » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 pm

KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:41 pm
I don't know what enlightenment is, don't know what an "enlightened person" looks like and don't spend any time thinking about it.
Apparently you have thought about it and came to a rather firm conclusion:
KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:20 pm
i do happen to think that determining who is enlightened and who is not is not possible and is a fools errand.
Intellectual understanding of emptiness versus actualizing it are two different things, in my opinion.
I was trying to determine where the doubt lies.


Ps: sorry for all the yous. :oops:

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by bokki » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:06 pm

1. every1 has his karma, and no story about finding a teacher is same
2. seeking a teacher is liking, actually it is bodhicitta
3. you better use discernment or "like and dislike" if your teacher does not fulfill, not basic expectations, but your norms. 4 ex dogen..left eisai, gyoyu, didnt "like" many chinese masters, and then "picked and choose" ruijing. others have a totally opposite story, so there is no general rule.
4.since here karma is in play, we often hear " i was lucky to find my teacher"...lol
5..
6..
..
how come so much confusion about some kind and wise advice from Meido Roshi?..lol
for ex:
"The Buddha preaches that in the gradual perfection of such a person, he should seek a good friend so as not to fall into errant views, but that if he produces likes and dislikes in regard to what he seeks, then he will not be able to enter the ocean of pure enlightenment."
(ch 9, p 96)
lol, total confusion,..he seeks because he likes, he needs, he choose to seek a teacher, not any teacher, but one that is his teacher by ...karma
lol
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by KeithA » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:17 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 pm
KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:41 pm
I don't know what enlightenment is, don't know what an "enlightened person" looks like and don't spend any time thinking about it.
Apparently you have thought about it and came to a rather firm conclusion:
KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:20 pm
i do happen to think that determining who is enlightened and who is not is not possible and is a fools errand.
Intellectual understanding of emptiness versus actualizing it are two different things, in my opinion.
I was trying to determine where the doubt lies.


Ps: sorry for all the yous. :oops:
Ha! No worries.

I tend to lean on the ZM Suzuki quote about that, strictly speaking, there are no enlightened beings, only enlightened action. Maybe too much. ;)

So, yes I have thought about it and have decided to not continue to think about it. I have faith in the process and where I have landed as a result. Maybe I will think differently down the road. I do happen to think that kensho is pretty important, but again, that isn't something we focus on very much in my tradition. Kensho shows us what is possible. Whether that is "enlightenment" or not, I don't know. I think it is more of an opening than anything else.

The doubt I was speaking about Great Doubt. Sorry to be confusing.

_/|\_
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Meido » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:03 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:04 pm
I read Meido's posts to mean what I wrote quoted below. If I've misunderstood his meaning, or if he disagrees with me, I'd like to know.
That's basically it.
Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:02 pm
That sounds to be the very opposite of one of the four reliances: "Rely on the teaching rather than the person."
What I specifically said was simply that at the beginning of the path one should not pursue practices, lineages, schools, environments, etc. that seem fascinating. Rather, one should seek out a teacher with whom one can enter fruitful relationship, without holding to such preferences and limitations.

Malcolm's caveat RE "qualified," though it should go without saying, does not always. So it was usefully said in the thread that spawned this one.

Of course one relies on the teachings. In order to have an experiential grasp of the essential point of the teachings to which all methods/lineages/schools/etc. point, to learn practices by which one may embody the teachings as realization, and to not fall into the many pitfalls that come with attempting to confirm one's own understanding of the teachings, one approaches a teacher. Is this controversial?
KeithA wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:43 pm
The student/teacher relationship is, in many ways, a two-way street, imho.
I'd agree. Words like "surrender" and "submit" connote situations of conflict, not fruitful relationship. I don't think them useful.

One at times negates one's own comfort, preferences, and so on in order to follow the instructions of a teacher in whom one has developed faith. "Faith" does not mean that one must think the teacher is without flaw. As a minimum, I think, it is simply a belief that the teacher's realization is sufficiently greater than one's own that he/she is a useful guide. There is no call to uncritically regard the teacher as perfect. But within the teacher's presence, and by means of the teacher's instructions, the arising of one's own experience will serve to affirm and deepen this faith. If not, one is free to move on.

If one stays, then one simply attends to the teacher's guidance with earnest, straightforward sincerity...the quality that might in Japanese be called majime. That is one way of the two-way street.

The teacher, of course, should view him/herself as completely the servant of everyone, not the other way around...and a teacher should recognize that the primary duty of teachers is making themselves unnecessary; I would call that the other way of the two-way street.

Generally from the Zen standpoint:

Recognizing one's nature, however brought about, makes very clear what it is that is truly taken as one's refuge, teacher, guru, etc. In that case, to say "rely on the teachings, not the person" is unnecessary. Actualizing the experiential realization that everything encountered is precisely the original face of one's nature, there is no need for prescriptive statements like that.

But before recognition, one relies on a teacher. After recognition, one relies on a teacher's confirmation that one has indeed recognized, and subsequent instructions for actualizing it. Even in situations where one has been able to have the initial recognition without recourse to a teacher, the understanding in Zen is that self-confirmation is never accepted.

It may be different in other traditions, I have no idea.

But again, my main point was really just my initial one: one should seek relationship with a suitable person and community in order to receive the teachings...not chase after specific methods, traditions, environments, our own interpretations of teachings, etc., the fascination with which is likely to have arisen entwined with our deeply-rooted delusion.

~ Meido
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by boda » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:33 am

Meido wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:03 am
one should seek relationship with a suitable person and community in order to receive the teachings...not chase after specific methods, traditions, environments, our own interpretations of teachings, etc., the fascination with which is likely to have arisen entwined with our deeply-rooted delusion.
This doesn't make sense as stated. How is fascination with seeking a "suitable person" fundamentally different than seeking specific methods, traditions, environments, etc.? Why is one likely to have arisen entwined with our deeply-rooted delusion but not the other? It seems more likely to me that fascination with seeking a suitable person would arise entwined with deeply-rooted delusion, human relationships being very complex and subjective in nature.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by bokki » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:45 am

How is fascination with seeking a "suitable person" fundamentally different than seeking specific methods, traditions, environments, etc.? Why is one likely to have arisen entwined with our deeply-rooted delusion but not the other? It seems more likely to me that fascination with seeking a suitable person would arise entwined with deeply-rooted delusion, human relationships being very complex and subjective in nature.
very good questions, tho. that is y i said each of us has a diff story bout their teacher.
putting it into a recipe just dosent hold water. how strange 4 me is the notion that 1 can chose the teacher of 1's life. shoping around only means that no karmic link is found as yet.
4 me, id advise simple. 2 things:
1. search 4 a teacher in the tradition that u c as ur own.
2. hope 2 get lucky.
3. GET LUCKY.

oops, that was three. anyway, luck is my internal joke.
but, thank you all for nice and valid views.
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Miroku » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:38 am

pokii wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:45 am
How is fascination with seeking a "suitable person" fundamentally different than seeking specific methods, traditions, environments, etc.? Why is one likely to have arisen entwined with our deeply-rooted delusion but not the other? It seems more likely to me that fascination with seeking a suitable person would arise entwined with deeply-rooted delusion, human relationships being very complex and subjective in nature.
very good questions, tho. that is y i said each of us has a diff story bout their teacher.
putting it into a recipe just dosent hold water. how strange 4 me is the notion that 1 can chose the teacher of 1's life. shoping around only means that no karmic link is found as yet.
4 me, id advise simple. 2 things:
1. search 4 a teacher in the tradition that u c as ur own.
2. hope 2 get lucky.
3. GET LUCKY.

oops, that was three. anyway, luck is my internal joke.
but, thank you all for nice and valid views.
Well I think it is enough to search for a teacher. If you find a qualified teacher who is the right one for you that automatically means there is an amazing lineage and tradition he belongs to and you do belong to it just like a child belongs to his parents' family. From my experience when you find the right teacher you automatically see his lineage as a sort of your family tree and the blessings are slowly developing in you as you grow in practice, just like good family genes would develop in a child as it grows.

But yeah you kinda have to get lucky. :D

But also sometimes when you hear about a lineage you may want to be part of it, so you go and explore it a bit. It happened to me, but then finding my teacher was what made me stay.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by jkarlins » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:33 pm

Yes. The teacher is the most important thing. But looking at lineages can be worthwhile too, just less so.

This happened to me with Shambhala. I joined because of Trungpa, took some classes, hung out at the center for a few years. I didn't find my teacher there, but it was a first step, and it exposed me to a lot of amazing people and practices. That was, in some ways, about liking a lineage.

Jake

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by KeithA » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:31 pm

jkarlins wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:33 pm
Yes. The teacher is the most important thing. But looking at lineages can be worthwhile too, just less so.

This happened to me with Shambhala. I joined because of Trungpa, took some classes, hung out at the center for a few years. I didn't find my teacher there, but it was a first step, and it exposed me to a lot of amazing people and practices. That was, in some ways, about liking a lineage.

Jake
For Zennies, there is a tendency to choose between koan and just sitting practice. So, that's one example of choosing lineage over teacher. I was attracted to koan practice, for whatever reason. Fortunately, there was a group in my area that did that.

For people not raised within a cultural tradition, hanging out with a group, doing some practice together is the most important thing to my mind. From there, one can determine if the teacher and community are worth working with.
You make, you get.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by jkarlins » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:37 pm

Sure, there are a lot of ways to go. What you mention is also practice-based, which is good a lot of times. That's the approach I took after a certain point.

Jake

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Astus » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:21 pm

Meido wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:03 am
Is this controversial?
No. Thank you for the clarification.
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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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Bruce » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:02 am

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind
These were taught by the Buddha in sutras such as the Sutra of the Teaching of Akshayamati and the Sutra of the Questions of the Naga King Anavatapta. They are commented upon in works such as Asanga's Stages of Spiritual Practice.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Lindama » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:54 am

walk in my shoes... then, tell me that. As far as I know in zen, ordinary mind is not judgemental mind.... not even close
Bruce wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:02 am
Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind
These were taught by the Buddha in sutras such as the Sutra of the Teaching of Akshayamati and the Sutra of the Questions of the Naga King Anavatapta. They are commented upon in works such as Asanga's Stages of Spiritual Practice.
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:36 pm

What constitutes "teacher" is different from tradition to tradition. I come from the Thich Naht Hanh part of the world, so many teachers, not all of them very knowledgable or helpful. Big movements don't get you very close to anyone. If i had unlimited time, money, airplane tickets, all that would be different. But for this worldling, it is what it is. Mostly I just sit, yet its not failed me at all. And yes I can tell easily who has actualized the Dharma and who is deluded by misunderstanding stemming from de facto positions. Mostly its a matter of temperment. :?:
Dogen: When I asked the Zen masters who have been entrusted with the Buddha seal, "What is the essence of Buddhism?" they answered: "Training and enlightenment are not two but one." …

"Because sometimes Buffalo Boy has to to grab a buffalo by the butt" - SunWuKong

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