pueraeternus wrote:Well, I would say that you are then using the principles of dzogchen and yogacara to enrich your practice, but not really practicing them per se. Perhaps you are really practicing Chan, which is a sudden path (though it also employs gradual methods among its diverse practices). Even in Chan, it is best to find a good teacher if you can.
Well I studied and practice dzogchen and ch'an before I approach the yogacara, and find the yogacara has surprise me in a number of critical area. It is actually much ragid and precise due to the mechanism of body and means (體用) . However, only a few modern scholars had make commentaries about this mechanism, and these texts are yet to be translated in english, except the one translated as essence-function (can be google, I think it is the ' The Awakening of Mahayana Faith').
Teacher that one considered good is usually one whose book one has read, and has unanswered questions that he wish to learn more from the teacher. In my case, the teacher that I wish to learn directly is either passed away, or is living too far from me, or is someone who has many students which make personal contact difficult. On the other hand, what I have learnt is understanding can only be attained by oneself through self-analysis, and doubt can only be dispel after one is satisfied with the reasoning and experience in practice. So the most one benefit from the teacher is when one really has a question that one cannot answer for oneself by any means, but I never encounter a time when I'm unable to arrive at the answer myself. Maybe for others who has difficulty in this area, having a teacher is beneficial. In my case, if I went the route of follow teacher, I would have lost the time better spend at practice or try to master more standard terminologies of buddhism through the reading of the mahayana tripitaka, or mastering the technicalities of dharma through reading the commentaries of consciousness-only.