How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Sam Vara
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:03 am

I think that it is important to work out things for oneself, which means trying things, not just listening to words and reading texts.

Of course, if a teacher seems to be talking complete nonsense I'll just walk away, but if a teacher is legitimate I think that it is important to listen very carefully with an open mind.

If I'm working with a teacher, what I do is to follow his/her instructions during the retreat, or over a longer period, listen carefully what she/he says, discuss my progress, and so on.

Later, I'll make some comparisons with suttas and ancient and modern commentary, to put it into perspective. And generally it fits into the suttas, but sometimes not in the way that I expected. So I learned something new.

My experience is that when I have approach working with a teacher with the idea of challenging her/his instructions and interpretations from the start, I don't learn anything, and I just waste my time.
:goodpost:

ignobleone
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Post by ignobleone » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:57 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
I think that it is important to work out things for oneself, which means trying things, not just listening to words and reading texts.

Of course, if a teacher seems to be talking complete nonsense I'll just walk away, but if a teacher is legitimate I think that it is important to listen very carefully with an open mind.

If I'm working with a teacher, what I do is to follow his/her instructions during the retreat, or over a longer period, listen carefully what she/he says, discuss my progress, and so on.

Later, I'll make some comparisons with suttas and ancient and modern commentary, to put it into perspective. And generally it fits into the suttas, but sometimes not in the way that I expected. So I learned something new.

My experience is that when I have approach working with a teacher with the idea of challenging her/his instructions and interpretations from the start, I don't learn anything, and I just waste my time.
:goodpost:
practice + practice [+practice+...] = uninstructed run-of-the-mill
text study + practice [+practice+...] = practice rightly

Some people can see, some people can't. Let it be.

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retrofuturist
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:54 pm

Greetings,
ignobleone wrote:practice + practice [+practice+...] = uninstructed run-of-the-mill
text study + practice [+practice+...] = practice rightly
That's one way of putting it, however (after having done text study 8-) ) I think it's not "text study" per se that is the necessary ingredient, but Right View.
AN 10.121 wrote:Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states.

For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up.
MN 117 wrote:"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view...

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view."
It just happens to be that the suttas are an excellent source upon which to develop Right View. I wholeheartedly recommend them, but similarly, Right View can be gained from listening to a good teacher... which is evident when you consider those who learned directly from the Buddha, and what many of them achieved under his guidance.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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