On seeking a teacher

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On seeking a teacher

Postby dhamma_learner » Wed May 29, 2013 4:31 am

Hello All,

This will be my first question on these forums. Although my meditation practice so far has already provided me with enormous benefits, I am still relatively inexperienced in the practice. I have learned meditation methods up until now only by studying various literature on the topic and practicing alone, but I feel as though there might be a limit as to how far I can progress without a teacher or an experienced group to meditate with. I would ask, how crucial is it to find a teacher or meditation group, and how far into our own practice should we seek these (if not immediately)? This also leads me to ask if there is a good way to determine the quality of a teacher?

With Metta,

dhamma_learner
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Sekha » Wed May 29, 2013 6:11 am

(About meditating in group):
Well different people have different feelings, but my experience is that I practice better alone. I initially attended "courses" or "retreats". The first ones were inspirational as I saw the behavior of experienced meditators. But now I hardly stand meditating in a group - if it is not in one of those Goenka group sittings, during which people tend to be less lethargic and more focused - and that is because I feel like my neighbors suck my energy, so I feel very tired very soon and I manage to concentrate only poorly.

After all, the Buddha always encourages meditators to go alone in the forest or in an empty room, and I think this is the reason why. It is most probably the reason why someone like Goenka also allows experienced meditators to meditate in individual cells. That said, meditation in group even outside "group sittings" can be beneficial to strengthen the practice if performed for example once weekly.

(About seeking a teacher):
A teacher's job imo is fourfold: 1) ask questions to make sure one practices correctly 2) answer questions so as to eliminate doubts 3) motivate for applying effort 4) create and maintain conducive conditions for the practice.
You may not need a teacher nearby all the time if you can satisfy yourself in these four ways. I agree seeing a teacher can be useful, but it can also be detrimental as some teachers, even widely renowned, may actually teach out of delusion and therefore mislead their followers. So you have to choose very carefully.

There is only one criterion of choice that is very clear to me right now: if you are looking for a monastic teacher, choose one who is perfect in Vinaya, and reject any teacher who involves himself in money transfers. I would even add to choose one who refuses luxury (as the Buddha reportedly refused to walk on a red carpet), but I am afraid that would cut your list down to none.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Crazy cloud » Wed May 29, 2013 6:30 am

when the student is ready the teacher will appear ...

Use all of your vigilance and seek out all possible "ajhans" in your daily life - it's a funny treasurehunt, and limitless in regard to who and where and when

my way, by the way :anjali:
your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh green distances of your blindness
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby santa100 » Wed May 29, 2013 1:34 pm

Don't forget to take advantage of online teachers/teachings. Ven. Bodhi's lecture series on the Majjhima Nikaya is a great one.. http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby dhamma_learner » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:02 pm

Thank you for your replies. :smile: I am currently looking into meeting with the Samatha Trust which is offering classes in my area this Fall. I don't know much about them, but they seemed extremely polite when answering my emails.

With metta,

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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Sumangalo » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:19 am

I consider Thanissaro Bhikkhu to be my teacher though I have never had the pleasure of meeting him. I download a year of his recordings at a time and carry his teachings with me wherever I go. You can download audio and his published works, free of charge, at the link below.
http://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_index.html
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Digity » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:27 am

It's very helpful to find a teacher and a group. It's helped support my practice...especially since I'm surrounded by people who could care less about Buddhism.

I knew that once I found the right teacher I would know in my gut and that's what happened.
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:22 am

dhamma_learner wrote:Thank you for your replies. :smile: I am currently looking into meeting with the Samatha Trust which is offering classes in my area this Fall. I don't know much about them, but they seemed extremely polite when answering my emails.

With metta,

dhamma_learner


Hi dhamma_learner,

I know someone who has been going regularly to a Samatha Trust meditation group in the UK for about 2 years or so, and he seems to be happy with it. They have sutta studies and discussions as well as the meditation sessions.

With kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: On seeking a teacher

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:36 pm

dhamma_learner wrote:Thank you for your replies. :smile: I am currently looking into meeting with the Samatha Trust which is offering classes in my area this Fall. I don't know much about them, but they seemed extremely polite when answering my emails.


I've had some involvement with Samatha Trust and have been quite impressed, so I'd recommend giving them a go.
Well, oi dunno...
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