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I need help

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I need help

Postby Neanim on Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:40 pm

Hi!
I've been doing Zen on my own for about a year. I recite sutras, I sit zazen, I do my bows and all that jazz. But as Zen is big on the teacher/student aspect I feel like I'm in desperate need of one. One can't do koans by themselves without dokusan for example.

I'm very poor at the moment and I live very far away from a zen center (I heard that zen center isn't very good either. A friend of mine had to go to another country to find a good teacher and I don't have that kind of money). So I'm asking if any teacher here would be interested in taking me on as a virtual student. We can talk in skype and through e-mail/facebook/whatever. I really feel like I've hit a wall in my practice and my fiancé too. So I'm asking for her too, as she and I have been doing this together in solitude.

Gassho
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Re: I need help

Postby Guo Gu on Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:44 pm

neanim,
i'm sorry to hear of your situation. all the teacher here would love to respond to your queries regarding practice. however, finding one's teacher has to do more with affinities and rapport. it's not like hiring a plumber or music tutor. it also has nothing to do with fees and distance. it's more like nurturing a relationship, making friends. you'll have to come to know the person, and s/he with you.
since there are no teachers nearby, you can ask your questions online here--either in this section or in other sections of the forum. either a teacher or members here will respond and help.
as for koan gong'an practice, no teacher would give one to a new student over the internet anyway. that's just a method. practice involves more than a method.
explore this forum. there are helpful practitioners here.
be well,
guo gu
Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
http://www.tallahasseechan.com/
Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
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Re: I need help

Postby Judy Roitman on Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:34 pm

Hi, Neanim.

First let me say that I am really impressed with your determination and your fiancé's determination. It's wonderful that you have maintained your practice together.

Actually, there are teachers who work with people online, even people they haven't met in person. In fact there are sanghas designed just for that. You can check out the online sangha of the Kwan Um School of Zen http://www.kwanumzen.org/online/ which includes koan study (being Korean-style, we call them kong-ans). Dosho Port's Vine of Obstacles http://www.vineobstacleszen.com/ and Jundo Cohen's Trealeaf Zendo http://www.treeleaf.org/ are online Soto sanghas (no formal koan study). There may be others, these are just the three that I know about.

But I am wondering where you live. I would bet that there is a good sangha within a three or four hour drive. Which means you can attend retreats if you can get a scholarship, which many places will give. Why not ask?

You can practice regularly with an online sangha and attend a retreat once or twice a year a few hours away. Why not?

Good luck!

Judy
Judy Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, Kwan Um School of Zen
www.kansaszencenter.org
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