Welcome admin !

It is currently Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:35 pm
Pathway:  Board index Zen Discussion Forum Zen Practice & Philosophy Practicing Zen Buddhism Without a Teacher

Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Going?

A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practicing without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.
Forum rules
A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practising without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:54 pm

Fuki,

It's natural that Humans be together. The habit and history of this goes back a long way. :)

Practitioners become part of a sangha. There's no illusion-seeking in this, and no impediments when they practice correct practice. The naturalness of it is what helps to enable people actually to wake up. Again, the history of this togetherness is most ancient, and most fundamentally natural at its base of origin.

While Mom is alive, I'd say comfort her with the experience of our actual connection. Too, a connection through the blood is fundamental in an even more actual and specially-felt way, is it not? And should it not be? It's rather amazing, I'd say!

:Namaste:,

--Joe
fukasetsu wrote:Reminds me of mom, she struggles often with the sense of being alone, seeking company or 'togetherness' all that seeking is but the avoidance of 'what is' and 'what is' is beyond notions of seperate or together. It saddens me that folks cannot see those illusions and by granting reality to thoughts, feelings, consciousness etc, only multiply illusions, just some ghostly traffic (mind)
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 6372
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby fukasetsu on Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:32 pm

Thanks you Joe, how beautifully spoken.

I agree with you, I do comfort her with the experience of our actual connection,
just psychologically speaking (in respect to mom but I'm sure it applies to many)
it's not healthy to not or never be together in a 'like minded' community, but it's also not healthy to seek togetherness just for the sake of not feeling lonely and then spending time with folks who are really not healthy to be together with.

I used to be an "einzelgänger" and later started to grow accustomed to spending time in groups.
I could never experience loneliness, whether being alone or being together, then again I could perfectly do without spending time with your average George, but it's very healthy and beautiful to be in a group of like minded people, which in my case would be practisioners, or artists, poets, 'spiritual folks' etc. In Mom's case even if she is with those groups, she is still grasping and thought-objecting the experience (self-reference) at that moment, and then feels sad when it's over. (and immediately wishes for the next experience) She did come a long way though in terms of 'letting go'. We talk a lot, and we also 'meditate' together. In any case I am most blessed to have met so many lovely beings who share their service, your words serve as great comfort and inspiration.
:Namaste:
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
User avatar
fukasetsu
 
Posts: 6493
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:17 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby partofit22 on Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:50 pm

Sometimes .. even when in company of others, with like minds, there remains a desire to be intimate with open minds- Regardless of what their interests and preferences might be- So maybe .. your mother isn't uncomfortable with her dreams, but uncomfortable with her desire to realize them in her lifetime-

Suffering is never generic and each person's experiences unique- Some more so than others-
partofit22
 
Posts: 4543
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:36 pm

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Quiet Heart on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:23 am

:) Perhaps you meant "do it without a Formal teacher"?
Myself, when I practice Zen I never practice it without a teacher, but I do not have a Formal or even necessarily a Human teacher or Sangha.
Every day, there are several dozen teachers that come to me however because every thing I see through "Zen eyes".
If you look at everyday life through those "Zen eyes" then every thing you see is a Teacher with a lesson for you.....and every person you meet is a member of the Ssangha of all interconnected sentient beings.
I have to admit that sometimes I do not understand that day's lesson from that particular day's teacher of the moment but I try to understand.
And to answer the question, "So how's it all going"? ........the only answer I can honestly give is like that man who fell from a high building and was asked by a passer by, "So, how's it all going?"
That man's answer is, "Well, it is not over yet, but I do seem to be going somewhere?.
:) :) :heya:
In Quietness is the beginning of all Things
User avatar
Quiet Heart
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:12 am

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Michaeljc on Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:54 pm

It's natural that Humans be together. The habit and history of this goes back a long way


Joe - It is also natural for some people to be alone. Sangha can and should include more than just people

Given that a small percentage of practitioners live within a human Shangha the ability to practice alone with diligence is essential

We should not depend on a teacher and a Sangha

This surely has to be the main reason so many people fall by the wayside

Your insistence that formal practice in a formal setting is important and essential is commendable but it has the danger of projecting that this setting includes some magic formula. We know that it does not. There is a 90% (approx) attrition rate

I believe that encouraging and emphasising independence supported by periods of involvement with a teacher and a group is more robust and appropriate message

If we cannot practice regularly and diligently alone, we will eventually abandon the practice

As I see it

Are you enjoying Pluto? :heya:

m
User avatar
Michaeljc
 
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Raglan New Zealand

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:13 pm

Q H,

Quiet Heart wrote::) Perhaps you meant "do it without a Formal teacher"?


Yes, thanks, primarily I mean that exactly. What I find most valuable is to have learned Zen Buddhist methods and approaches from competent practitioners in Ch'an and Zen Buddhist lineages -- Teachers -- and to have experienced practice with the sangha, including intensive practice together in the traditional ways.

This is the way one can learn, and learn correctly, the ways of Zen Buddhist practice. Then, if one is cut off from communal practice, one will have had training in correct methods, and can continue to practice, and will already have been changed by the effects and influences of correct practice with teacher and sangha.

I lack the statistics, but I sense also that if one is to awaken, one is more likely to awaken during intensive practice with teacher and sangha (maybe on sesshin, traditional intensive Zen Practice retreat) than without. Without teacher and sangha, one may undergo all sorts of transformations and phenomena, but not be sure if there is awakening. Whereas, if one is with a teacher, one may be tested and then re-oriented to practice differently, or encouraged simply to keep going, to push through to an actually genuine opening. But in fact, in formal circles, there is no awakening without a teacher's recognition of it. This is the traditional way of keeping the student safe, and not enabling the student to abandon or strand his or her practice on an outer-path.

Yes, we meet many Bodhisattvas throughout our days, are we are truly blessed when we can recognize them as such. When practicing with Teacher and Sangha, we have two MORE very strong and clear bodhisattvas -- and Treasures, really -- with us: Teacher and Sangha. ;)

Most often I'd say that they do not so much overtly "teach", but that it is our enjoying their company that is very influential, and helpful.

I myself have been without my formal teachers since the two teachers died not long ago. It's going well, but I can do more and can do better, ...which facts are spurs to my actual ongoing ever-evolving practice. Onlookers may find us "sitting", but never standing still. :tongueincheek:

best,

--Joe
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 6372
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:19 pm

Michael,

Michaeljc wrote:
Joe wrote:It's natural that Humans be together. The habit and history of this goes back a long way

Joe - It is also natural for some people to be alone. Sangha can and should include more than just people

Indeed, right. And I hope you'll take best care of that for yourself to just the optimal titration.

--Joe
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 6372
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Coffee Bean on Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:46 am

I've been practicing without a teacher for a number of years now settling with Bompu Zen. It's just Zazen, and some reading for which in doing so, has mixed results, although I do find it notably easier to traverse issues and problems by which I've incorporated the techniques of Zazen into everyday life and living overall. So far, I've been finding it sufficient and reasonably effective so far in regards to the holistic benefits.

I suppose my reason for not having a teacher is twofold in that I simply haven't come across anyone in my area that, for lack of a better word, resonates as being a person or persons of which I could confide and interrelate well. Basically I'm saying that I'll know my teacher when I see him/her, and for which I could be accepted as a student. If that never happens, so be it.

Secondly it seems by going wild fox, it provides a more traditional approach through the rigors of trial and error, by which in figuring things out in a natural manner with some excepted guided and compassionate direction, can result in having better insight overall I think, than dependency alone on another's experiences
resulting in a guru type complex that's hard to shake sometimes.

I don't discourage seeking teachers but I also don't completely depend on them either. Maybe a middle way is best? A little teaching, a little fox too.
Coffee Bean
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:10 am

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby lobster on Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:50 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
I lack the statistics, but I sense also that if one is to awaken, one is more likely to awaken during intensive practice with teacher and sangha (maybe on sesshin, traditional intensive Zen Practice retreat) than without. Without teacher and sangha, one may undergo all sorts of transformations and phenomena, but not be sure if there is awakening. Whereas, if one is with a teacher, one may be tested and then re-oriented to practice differently, or encouraged simply to keep going, to push through to an actually genuine opening. But in fact, in formal circles, there is no awakening without a teacher's recognition of it. This is the traditional way of keeping the student safe, and not enabling the student to abandon or strand his or her practice on an outer-path.

--Joe


I feel that is true for most people and situations :rbow:
I rarely attend sangha meets. Maybe once every couple of months.

The question for me is about my capacity and the capacity of teachers. Most of us need teachers otherwise we are being taught by a blind idiot :hide:

:EEK: Maybe when I have finished playing ... :buddha:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:01 am

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Sparkle on Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:45 am

Well now I am just over 9 years pretty much all on my loneski :ninja:

In that 9 years I have had ONE - one week retreat for Lay Ordination/Jukai back in 2010, then another 3 or 4 - one or two night stays at Throssell Hole Abbey.

Ive never had what you would call a "Teacher". On a few occasions I have used the "spiritual counselling" facility at the Abbey...this is a one to one with one of the senior monks when you can ask questions pertaining to your practice or related issues in your daily life (I believe...).

It would be quite easy to attend retreats there and never have any personal teaching/interaction. Its just not that kind of place in my experience...unless you are living there for extended periods perhaps, which is just not an option for me. I have Tourette's syndrome, as I've mentioned before, so this presents numerous difficulties to practice/interaction in the Abbey setting. The 7/8 days of Jukai took a huge effort and quite some accommodation by the monks and my fellow students. At that time it seemed VERY important and therefore something that was worth the effort.

The vast majority of my practice is at home, obviously. I have my many books and the vast amount of information available on the internet. From very early on I have also made good daily use of the thousands of Dharma talks available...

My practice outwardly at least would appear to have varied little since I first began - other than progressing from sitting on a towel in a small toilet, to now being in the very lucky position of having my own room to sit in, to read and keep my books, listen to talks etc.

If you had asked me early on, say at the 6 months/1 year juncture, I would have said that I didn't NEED a teacher - that I'd managed to gain all the knowledge I required from the above mentioned sources :hide: Of course the opposite is true - other than the learning that only regular, repeated time on the cushion can provide, more and more I found myself yearning for some kind of teaching (?) Of course if I had a question I could ask the monks...I could even do so by email. But this wasn't a case of a question or two being able to still this inquisitive itch.

And it was also something I was not able to get from listening/reading to various Dharma Talks/books from all sorts of people.

There have been a few teachers I have felt an affinity with over the years, one of whom in the last 2 years has really begun almost to call (? :peace: ?) to me. So much so that I have recently arranged access to all of their online Dharma Talks and online courses. And what a difference...I feel that my practice has taken a whole new focus...questions I did not realise I wanted answers to are being answered every day. It's such a shame that the Atlantic Ocean sits between us or he would be the teacher I have never had.

So, disability and geographical limitations have caused me to go it alone.
Since this new development I actually FEEL much more part of a Sangha than I ever did with my sporadic visits to the Abbey. I would say it's going well - for now - but looking back, it has taken quite a bumpy ride to get to where I am now.
Last edited by Sparkle on Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Sparkle
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: England

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Sparkle on Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:04 am

THIS WAS HAPPY RELIEVED FACE AT THE END OF A L...ONG WEEK AT JUKAI...I AM THE BALDY DUDE BURSTING OUT OF THOSE JEANS, FRONT ROW, 3 ALONG FROM LEFT.


Image


BELOW IS PART OF MY ROOM...I USUALLY SIT FACING MY LITTLE ALTER FACING THE WALL, BACK TO THE BOOKSHELF


Image
User avatar
Sparkle
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: England

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Michaeljc on Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:47 am

Congratulations sparkle on completing your retreat.

I have slept and sat Zazen in the very same Zendo in which your group pic was taken :heya:
User avatar
Michaeljc
 
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Raglan New Zealand

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby lobster on Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:39 pm

Thanks for the pics Sparkle. :heya:

I spent a couple of years with a teacher. Luckily he taught me nothing. Which is a rarity we can learn a great deal from.

I feel from most peoples experience the requirement for guidance becomes apparant after the limitations are apparant and the teacher becomes available.

The nature of transmission is receptivity. That really is the first opening as others have mentioned. :rbow:

... and now back to friends with benefits ... :dance:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:01 am

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Sparkle on Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:07 pm

I had my own room Michael ;) no-one would have gotten any sleep otherwise. It is a beautiful place though...so peaceful.

Im glad you liked the pictures Lobster :heya: ...I was a bit apprehensive about posting them, but it seemed appropriate after my "story". :blush:
User avatar
Sparkle
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: England

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby chankin1937 on Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:27 pm

Hello All,
Perhaps people have a general interest in mysticism and begin to read about it. For instance I started on Paul Brunton’ s books on the “overself” as he called it and graduated to Aldous Huxley’s excellent “The Perennial Philosophy” which in turn introduced me to Zen. The Zen Masters taught me all I needed to know of zazen. One night in November 1965 I experienced the briefest glimpse of the meditator’s goal – Satori. This experience inspired me to analyse what had happened and the result was the psychology of the common human gaol. For most of my life I have gone solo (apart from a couple of months in 1995 with a group studying Tibetan Buddhism. The Mahamudra meditation system of the Vajrayana school – Shinai practice.) Which I honestly don’t remember much about. ( I must confess I joined mainly to promote my psychology of happiness.) I got as far as being able to tap into profound peace-of-mind quite early and frankly never saw the reason to push on. That was enough for me. The void held no attraction for me. I must have instinctively recognised that it was more an abuse of the knowledge than something of practical use. However, since joining the Forum I have meditated regularly for an hour each night.

Well, that’s the history of one solo practitioner. I’d be interested to read other histories. Especially if they have had the good luck I have.
Colin
chankin1937
 

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Quiet Heart on Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:28 am

:heya:
Ray Wylie Hubbard sings this song:

It goes like this

I saw these dogs was Chasing a Rabbit,
I saw these dogs was Chasing a Rabbit,
I saw these dogs was Chasing a Rabbit,
So I said to the Rabbit, well are you gonna make it?
So I said to the Rabbit, well are you gonna make it?
So I said to the Rabbit, well are you gonna make it?
And the Rabbit said, well, I don't really know, but I reckon I just got to.

I guess that's all the answer I can honestly give
:) :heya:
In Quietness is the beginning of all Things
User avatar
Quiet Heart
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:12 am

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:03 am

Sparkle wrote:I had my own room Michael ;) no-one would have gotten any sleep otherwise. It is a beautiful place though...so peaceful.

Im glad you liked the pictures Lobster :heya: ...I was a bit apprehensive about posting them, but it seemed appropriate after my "story". :blush:


I gotta say that the alter is welllllll.............. in ya face :lol2:

It's huge

I got told off twice there: for writing and for being in bare feet in the living area. I also got the feeling that it was run through a strict hierarchy. But that was 25 years ago. It did have the best vegetarian cook I have ever encountered. Such a pity that meals were gobbled SO fast :blush:

And oh - I was told I should refrain from sitting lotus and adopt a sitting stool. This, another case I sense, where the sitting regime is modeled to best suit the head teacher
User avatar
Michaeljc
 
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Raglan New Zealand

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby Mason on Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:56 pm

Michaeljc wrote:And oh - I was told I should refrain from sitting lotus and adopt a sitting stool. This, another case I sense, where the sitting regime is modeled to best suit the head teacher


That is exceedingly strange.
Interconnectedness: it's like two sides of the same coin, except each side is everything in the universe - including the coin.
User avatar
Mason
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:11 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby christopher::: on Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:11 am

desert_woodworker wrote:We are the flowering tip of life, going back 3 or 4 billion years. If we were not connected to all that life, there would be no "us".

But we're not only connected to all the signs of that life, and all the fossils, and living fossils (blue-green algae; horseshoe crabs; coelocanths; three-toed sloths; etc.), but we're animated by the same energy that animated them. What is that energy? We're not alone in participating in and having a response to that energy.

But even independently of this, I think there's no sense in which Dogen was "solo". :lol2:

--Joe


:peace:

"People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one's perception of reality." ~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness…” ~ Albert Einstein ~

“The Earth is alive and contains the knowledge you seek. It is your consciousness that determines what it reveals. How to access this knowledge? And where are the keys to open it and make it yours? The Earth speaks. Love her, honor and respect her and she will reveal her secrets.” —Barbara Marciniak

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“You don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.” ~ Alan Watts ~

“Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being. If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified. The tree outside is life… The whole of nature is life… The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Learn how to see, realize that everything connects to everything else.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci~

“Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.” ~Rumi~

10251957_459510047513269_18129647317513246_n.jpg


:Namaste:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
::::: Buddha Nature: Heart of the Dharma :::: Tao & Zen (Facebook page) ::::
"You are the sky. Everything else, it’s just the weather.” ~Pema Chodron
User avatar
christopher:::
Founding Member
 
Posts: 5208
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:25 am
Location: Fukuoka, Japan

Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:20 am

People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one's perception of reality." ~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness…” ~ Albert Einstein ~


Hello All,
This kind of thinking has always puzzled me.
To my mind seeing things as separate from oneself is an essential part of survival.
If I see a wild animal sneaking towards me – fixing me with its eyes – baring its teeth – it would be disastrous to accept that we are one. (We will be “one” soon if I don’t do something to frustrate its obvious intentions!) :)
If I am crossing the road and I notice a speeding car coming towards me, it is essential that I recognise that we are not one. The only way that I am one with the universe is bound up in the fact that everything in it has evolved from the hydrogen of the interstellar void. A rather tenuous connection.

I would suggest that in the extreme states of mind induced by zazen, the connection with the world, and even our own body, is severed. Then we are one.

Has anyone else any thoughts on this?

Colin
chankin1937
 

PreviousNext

Return to Practicing Zen Buddhism Without a Teacher

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

 
RocketTheme Joomla Templates

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 157 on Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:44 am

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest