Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby PeterB » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:57 pm

You can even find one and avail yourself of her/his teachings. There's a radical thought.
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:59 am

:anjali:
chownah wrote:
This is not exactly a definition but perhaps is worth thinking about:
1. You can see a form and think "teacher".
2. You can hear a sound and think "teacher".
3. You can smell an odor and think "teacher".
4. You can taste a flavor and think "teacher".
5. You can feel a bodily sensation and think "teacher".
6. You can experience a thought and think "teacher".
What else can there be to a teacher?
chownah
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Some of my best teachers are my "enemies," people who annoy me, pain, anger, & the breath....
DL :heart:
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:02 am

Hi Daniel
You might like to have a read of Ven Analayo's "Satipatthana: the direct path to realization" where he talks about contemplating the hindrances.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:05 am

Ben wrote:Hi Daniel
You might like to have a read of Ven Analayo's "Satipatthana: the direct path to realization" where he talks about contemplating the hindrances.
kind regards,

Ben

I just read that.
Which pages specifically do you have in mind?
Daniel :heart:
Edit: p. 190. Turning obstacles into meditation objects. Thanks Ben.
Last edited by danieLion on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:08 am

Hi Daniel,
I don;t have my copy with me currently. I do remember Venerable writing about reviewing the hindrances. It could be in the Investigation of Dhammas section. I'm sorry I can't be more specific.
kind regards,
Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:09 am

Ben wrote:Hi Daniel,
I don;t have my copy with me currently. I do remember Venerable writing about reviewing the hindrances. It could be in the Investigation of Dhammas section. I'm sorry I can't be more specific.
kind regards,
Ben

p. 190 :anjali:
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:13 am

Thanks for finding the page ref, Daniel!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:53 am

1. The A to the Q, "Is a teacher required to practice meditation?" is a categorical no.

Re-frame: Is a teacher required to successfully practice meditation?

That seems more appropriate to me.

2. It's not so much about a teacher requirement as a collaboration between the instructor and instructed to arrive at workable instructions.

3. I've observed several practitioners use the phrase "my teacher" in a way that suggests they're wearing it like a credential badge or a backstage pass, or as conferring the right to brag on them, which can devolve to: My Ajahn can beat up your Ajahn!

4. I trust that if I meet someone that (a) I could humbly and with sincere respect refer to as my teacher, and (2) that is willing and able to handle me, then I will probably at that point technically have a teacher. Until then, I will remain teacher-less.

Daniel :heart:
PS: Can a BOOK be a teacher?
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby ground » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:23 am

danieLion wrote:PS: Can a BOOK be a teacher?


Acoustical symbols and optical symbols ... both are just symbols without inherent meaning. However meaning unfolds upon contact.

Kind regards
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:25 pm

TMingyur wrote:
danieLion wrote:PS: Can a BOOK be a teacher?


Acoustical symbols and optical symbols ... both are just symbols without inherent meaning. However meaning unfolds upon contact.

Kind regards

The composer John Cage once noted that performed music is an extension of our nervous systems. This could apply to writing too, i.e., books are extensions of author's nervous systems. If so, books are teachers. And so are audio talks. Still, I'd rather have the flesh and blood version when possible.
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby ground » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:43 pm

danieLion wrote:Still, I'd rather have the flesh and blood version when possible.


Which of course is just an optical symbol.

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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:45 pm

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:3. I've observed several practitioners use the phrase "my teacher" in a way that suggests they're wearing it like a credential badge or a backstage pass, or as conferring the right to brag on them, which can devolve to: My Ajahn can beat up your Ajahn!

I actually have quite the opposite intention. I think that there are tens of thousands of perfectly competent teachers out there, and that the idea that one needs to go visit some famous Ajahn/Sayadaw to make progress is counterproductive. Andthis idea that "there are only a couple of good teachers" sometimes seems to be used as an excuse not to make use of local resources which, even if not perfect, are infinitely better than nothing.

I sometimes mention that something is what my (various, they come and go) teachers have said when I don't have a good reference, or because it makes for a more interesting conversational tone (I dislike writing in the third person :)). And also to emphasise that my no-name teachers tend to mostly agree with the famous ones. As one would expect from competent practitioners...

:anjali:
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:50 am

TMingyur wrote:
danieLion wrote:Still, I'd rather have the flesh and blood version when possible.


Which of course is just an optical symbol.

Kind regards

As long as it's squishy I don't care if it's illusory.
Daniel :heart:
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:53 am

mikenz66 wrote:And this idea that "there are only a couple of good teachers" sometimes seems to be used as an excuse not to make use of local resources which, even if not perfect, are infinitely better than nothing.

I sometimes mention that something is what my (various, they come and go) teachers have said when I don't have a good reference, or because it makes for a more interesting conversational tone (I dislike writing in the third person :)). And also to emphasise that my no-name teachers tend to mostly agree with the famous ones. As one would expect from competent practitioners...

:anjali:
Mike

:goodpost:
Daniel
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby ground » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:08 pm

danieLion wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
danieLion wrote:Still, I'd rather have the flesh and blood version when possible.


Which of course is just an optical symbol.

Kind regards

As long as it's squishy I don't care if it's illusory.
Daniel :heart:


When a sense impression which has no inherent meaning causes meaning to arise in the wake of contact, vedana, perception and papanca the experience of meaning qua experience I would not call "illusory".

kind regards
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby danieLion » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:53 am

Teachers lend us bits and pieces, which are merely fragments to serve as hints or as leads for us to contemplate so that they'll grow and branch out into our own wealth.

Any Dhamma that's a wealth coming from our own tactics: That's truly our own wealth. We'll never exhaust it. If we can think and probe cunningly in removing defilements until they fall away completely, using the tactics we develop on our own from the ideas our teachers lend us as starting capital, that's our own Dhamma. However much may arise, it's all our own Dhamma. What we derive from the texts is the Buddha's — and we borrow it from him. What we get from our teachers, we borrow from them — except when we are listening to them teach and we understand the Dhamma and cure defilement at that moment: That's our wealth while we are listening. After that, we take their tactics to contemplate until they branch out through our own ingenuity. This is our own wealth, in terms both of the causes — our contemplation — and of the outcome, the satisfactory results we gain step by step all the way to release from suffering and stress — and that's entirely ours. It stays with us, and no one can come to divide up any of our share at all.

Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno, "Feelings of Pain," Straight From the :heart:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... l#feelings
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... aight.html
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Re: Is a Teacher required to practice meditation?

Postby mettafuture » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:22 am

A video that's relevant to this discussion.



The suttas he references are DN 16:6.1 and MN 56.18.
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