Sanghamitta wrote:Which is precisely why Vipassana is or should taught on retreats or courses, and should not be D.I.Y endeavours.
For Elizabeth Hillstrom, I would guess that there is no distinction. If a Vipassana teacher gives students various spoken instructions, there is in her view no meaningful difference if a non-Buddhist scientist gives the same instructions, or if somebody follows the instructions on their own, from what they read. It's only on this basis that she can make scientific (statistical) analysis.
Theravadins see monks as more credible than laypeople, but to some degree, Theravadins have the same perception between
teachers, right? You have kalyanamittas, not gurus. A monk who reads the suttas can give instructions just as good as a monk who focuses on meditation, right? Is that actually true?
I would look at it like swimming. If you jump into the ocean without instructions, you can drown, and even for the most accomplished swimmer, he must know how far out he can go before he would be swept underneath by rip currents. Even David Hasselhoff wouldn't leap out into a rogue wave in the middle of a hurricane (unless he was drunk). Swimmers may learn to swim on their own instinctively, just by jumping the water, but they learn proper technique from a good swimming teacher.