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Don't practice without a teacher?

Discussion of general East-Asian Mahayana Buddhism, Sutras & Shastras.

Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby sweepingzen on Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:34 am

From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby shoey on Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:36 pm

sweepingzen wrote:From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.


shes quite a Commidienne.
when you're going through hell - keep going.
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby Nonin on Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:44 am

sweepingzen wrote:From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.

My sentiments exactly, and I can't imagine any Zen teacher not agreeing with her. Myozen Blacker's teacher is James Ford of Boundless Way Zen. He's a fine, well-respected teacher and Myozen Blacker appears to be following the same course.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby Nonin on Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:50 am

shoey wrote:
sweepingzen wrote:From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.


shes quite a Commidienne.

shoey,

Rather than make a joke about her, why don't you just say why you disagree with her?

Let me remind you that attacking the person rather than the substance of what they say is contrary to our Terms of Service. Please be more careful in the future.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby sweepingzen on Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:58 am

Nonin wrote:
sweepingzen wrote:From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.

My sentiments exactly, and I can't imagine any Zen teacher not agreeing with her. Myozen Blacker's teacher is James Ford of Boundless Way Zen. He's a fine, well-respected teacher and Myozen Blacker appears to be following the same course.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


"You all slurp for lees, running around and hunting for teachings," said Huangbo to the community. "How can you actually arrive where you are? You are constantly in search of an enlightened master to give something you do not have. Don't you realize that in the whole of China there isn't a single Zen teacher?"

A monk came forward and said, "Then what about all those monasteries and their abbots?"

Huangbo replied "I did not say that there is no Zen-just that there aren't any teachers."

I think Melissa's advice, coupled with Huangbo's admonition, strikes just the right chord. And, not to keep plugging the interviews at my site, but Zoketsu Norman Fischer had some good stuff to say on the role of teachers I want to share.

"Teachers who think they are actually teachers teaching something are to be avoided. Good teachers are people who are themselves simply working on their own practice and are willing to share their lives as best they can with others. In this sense the "best" teachers are often the worst teachers; the more briliiant the teacher, the more exciting, the more enlightened, the worse it is for the student. The student ends up lusting after time with the teacher, hanging on her every word, and forgetting that this is about him or her, the student, not the teacher."

full interview here:
http://www.sweepingzen.com/Norman_Fischer_Interview.html
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby shoey on Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:20 pm

Nonin wrote:
shoey wrote:
sweepingzen wrote:From a recent interview with Melissa Myozen Blacker of Boundless Way Zen.
To read the full interview, see: http://www.sweepingzen.com/Melissa_Blacker_Interview.html

Does one need a teacher to practice Zen?

Melissa Myozen Blacker: It's possible to start to practice without a teacher, but eventually it's important to have someone to mirror back your delusions and insights, and direct your course. It's too easy to think you're practicing well, when you may be completely lost.


shes quite a Commidienne.

shoey,

Rather than make a joke about her, why don't you just say why you disagree with her?

Let me remind you that attacking the person rather than the substance of what they say is contrary to our Terms of Service. Please be more careful in the future.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


i dont disagree with her.
Ive read her stuff.shes marvelous, and funny.
saying she is a Commidienne is a compliment

Ive met lots of marvelous teachers who were extremely funny,humourful

I would give lots of space to any teacher who had lost their sense of humour. :hide:

apologies for the misunderstanding, and with respect,please be more careful with your presumptions.

if you wish to warn anyone a PM would be a bit more discreet.thanks



:Namaste:
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby Nonin on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:58 pm

shoey wrote:i dont disagree with her.
Ive read her stuff.shes marvelous, and funny.
saying she is a Commidienne is a compliment

Ive met lots of marvelous teachers who were extremely funny,humourful

I would give lots of space to any teacher who had lost their sense of humour. :hide:

apologies for the misunderstanding, and with respect,please be more careful with your presumptions.

if you wish to warn anyone a PM would be a bit more discreet.thanks

:Namaste:

Your intention in calling Melissa Blacker a Comedienne was unclear and seemed like a dig at her. If I misunderstood you, I'm sorry. I should have asked you.

I didn't mean my remarks to be a warning but a gentle reminder. If I'm acting as a moderator and formally warning people, I'll make it clear and send the warning in a PM. That's our policy.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby voyager77 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:34 am

hi guys

this teacher issue is a real grey area, my first teacher used to ignore his students, the students all worshipped the ground he walked on, he would have people going out of their way to do jobs for him and eventually he abused his position financially.
that situation revealed to me the damage that can be done by students to teachers and vice versa.
i know a few people who have left Dharma all together because of teaches being unskilful and engaging in some very harmful actions. so there is a great deal of ammunition to reject the value of a teacher.

this is my experience practising Tibetan Buddhism and i have to say i feel disapointed by the teachers i have had, the examples i have been set have not been ones i would strive to emulate. as a result of this i am now seeking alternative traditions.
so in my case having a teacher has not been beneficial!

yet i know through my own experience we cant do it alone, its all too easy to get lost in our own delusions of grandeur. i've always had an interest in Zen and intend to pursue this further, i just hope i can meet a teacher who i can walk side by side with.

the best teacher i've had was my art teacher who always encouraged me to think for myself and investigate everything with my own mind, all he ever did was direct me and point out avenues of further exploration.

teaching others Dharma carries a great responsibility that many people cannot simply meet.
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby partofit22 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:44 pm

doesn't anyone willing to learn have responsibilities too?
like not dismissing any lesson being taught even when the
lesson isn't what was expected?
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby booker on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:58 pm

voyager77 wrote:hi guys

this teacher issue is a real grey area, my first teacher used to ignore his students, the students all worshipped the ground he walked on, he would have people going out of their way to do jobs for him and eventually he abused his position financially.
that situation revealed to me the damage that can be done by students to teachers and vice versa.
i know a few people who have left Dharma all together because of teaches being unskilful and engaging in some very harmful actions. so there is a great deal of ammunition to reject the value of a teacher.


this is my experience practising Tibetan Buddhism and i have to say i feel disapointed by the teachers i have had, the examples i have been set have not been ones i would strive to emulate. as a result of this i am now seeking alternative traditions.
so in my case having a teacher has not been beneficial!

I also know few who had bad experience with a Zen teachers and has left their Sanghas. I guess your experience is not limited to Tibetan Buddhism. :)
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby voyager77 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:31 pm

doesn't anyone willing to learn have responsibilities too?
like not dismissing any lesson being taught even when the
lesson isn't what was expected?


i suppose it depends who is giving the lesson?

I also know few who had bad experience with a Zen teachers and has left their Sanghas. I guess your experience is not limited to Tibetan Buddhism.


so what advice can people give in actually being a student of a teacher, quite clearly we need to develop the skill of being a student/disciple and learning how to relate to the teacher and see them as a friend also. or should we not see the teacher as a friend, is this a dangerous thing?
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby Philosophical on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:26 pm

booker wrote:I also know few who had bad experience with a Zen teachers and has left their Sanghas. I guess your experience is not limited to Tibetan Buddhism. :)


I had a few problems I shan't go into with Zen sanghas, and I've ended up in a Tibetan sangha. Our lama is a lovely man who laughs at the thought of anyone emulating him (He's very humble - they could do an awful lot worse). Personally, I like a jolly teacher and find he inspires me to practice far more than a sourpuss. But we're all different. It's not a matter of Tibetan, or Zen, or Therevada or whatever, so much as individuals varying. You have to find a teacher who inspires you - it doesn't matter what his other disciples feel about him!

As for your relationship with your teacher, that too is a personal matter. My meditation teacher is definitely my friend, although perhaps more of a spiritual parent. I don't know my lama that well yet, but to me he seems like a wise grandfather. Some teachers are very aloof and definitely not friends with their disciples; others are more informal. Oddly, you can't always assume by looking at people - some teachers appear very severe, but are a lot more relaxed when you know them (quite a few of the Zen masters are like that, in my experience). However, I think pomposity is rarely a good sign, so I'd beware of someone who took themselves far too seriously.

You know the old Tibetan saying? "When the student is ready, the master appears". I think that's true. I hope you find someone soon.
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Re: Don't practice without a teacher?

Postby HAN SEN on Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:46 pm

In China there's a tradition of hermits. Not so much so in Japan, where the group is where practice is. Still, some Roshis in Japan come from rogues who refused to associate with the monks, but they still submitted to the leader who could authenticate their experience. I think it all boils down to what you are planning to do with your practice, and if you're going to teach, i think you'd need a teacher. Householders have a broader set of options than do monks obviously. At one time 70% of Japan self-identified as Zen Buddhist, in the early 70's, but for the most part they just went to temple
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