retrofuturist wrote:The second, is that I'm yet to encounter anyone with whom I'm completely in accord and in agreement with other than the Buddha himself.
Since you have not met the Buddha himself what you really mean is that you have not met anyone with whom you are completely in accord with other than your own interpretation
of what the Buddha has been recorded as having said.
That is true, but I think you're getting the wrong end of the stick, because my interpretation doesn't come about simply on account of my pre-existing views... it's a process of reviewing, absorbing and synthesizing all available information and using these analytical methods and comparisons to my own experience, to build that picture of what the Dhamma is. It cannot be avoided that there is some level of interpretation going on... when a teacher gives a Dhamma talk to fifty people, do they all understand it the same way? What causes the differences in interpretation?
Peter wrote:In other words, you have not found anyone you agree with other than yourself.
Who says I agree with myself? If I did, why would I be interested in studying the world of the Buddha? Doubtlessly there remain certain inconsistencies in my own understanding... only through further study, meditation and consideration of others perspectives will I be able to become aware of these inconsistencies and remedy them. I have taken refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha... not myself.
Peter wrote:In such a situation I worry about ego getting in the way.
That is a genuine risk to any spiritual seeker - it takes a great deal of self-honesty to seek the truth and not let any prevailing attachment to views cloud that path.
Peter wrote:You are interpreting the scriptures and so is any teacher you may meet. Why do you assume your interpretation is superior to anyone else's?
I don't. If what they're saying doesn't fit into the framework of the Dhamma as I understand it then I will review the inconsistency, investigate if necessary, and review my previous understanding accordingly.
If you are not at a point in your life where you can put aside your ego and receive guidance then that's where you're at.
It's not about ego. Look at the previous quotations from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta... I am following the instructions that the Buddha gave. As for "guidance", I'm open to anyone illuminating the Dhamma in different ways for me to consider. This is why I like Buddhist forums so much... people are free to raise their understandings, we can discuss, see where there is alignment, where there is not, and continually review our understanding based on what we come across in our discussions.
No point in forcing things. Alternatively, maybe in fact you are right and everyone else is wrong. That too is possible.
We'll only be right once we're Ariya. Until then, I'll be trying to understand what the Buddha taught, through all means available, including talking to you.
retro wrote:What do (or would) you do if you were to disagree with your teacher on a particular doctrinal issue?
I discuss it with him respectfully, try my best to understand where exactly we disagree and why. And if I still disagree then I respectfully keep it to myself and carry on with my practice. Theravada does not have the sort of formalized student/teacher relationships where absolute submission is required. There are no pop quizzes.
What makes you think that what I do is essentially any more different than what you're doing then?
retro wrote:do not have a student-teacher relationship with any of them. My relationships are predominantly in the form of kalyana-mittas (spiritual friends).
I don't see the distinction. This may in fact be the root of our apparent disagreement on the importance of teachers.