Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

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Laysitter
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Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Laysitter » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:40 pm

I'd welcome any insights from the teachers here on my dilemma. I've been a Zen practitioner for about 11 years, beginning in Seon but finding what feels like a better affinity and fit in Soto Zen (though I'd be open to Rinzai if there was a resource w/in driving distance). All Zen resources are limited in my middle-US region. There is one transmitted Zen teacher within a 4-5 hour drive but I'm finding things that make me uncomfortable there. One is increasing fascination with Vajrayana - which is fine if that is what you want, but it is not what I want (and the Shambhala scandals have turned me off of effusive praise of Chogyam Trungpa) - and another is that the teacher has transmitted no one, has no successors, seems to have no connection with his/her lineage, and I don't think teacher's center will survive when teacher (who is not young or in good health) passes on. I wonder if this is a personality center more than a real Zen center? I've seen other types of non-spiritual organizations that are dominated by the founder's personality, and while that can work during founder's life, if there is never any attempt to create continuity or train capable successors, things collapse rapidly once founder is deceased, disabled, retired.

Maybe this is not a problem - I can sit with teacher's group when I can and learn what I can, but this does not feel like the right heart connection to me. There is a sitting group in a more tolerable driving distance that is connected to a reputable and organized lineage, though the transmitted teacher lives in another state. The sangha is solid, though (I like the people, they are devoted practitioners and seem like really decent people). That may be my better choice, though I wish there was teacher contact and dharma talks there...

Caodemarte
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:45 pm

What is your nearest city or town? http://iriz.hanazono.ac.jp/zen_centers/ ... ist_e.html may also help.

[EDIT: For some reason I misread the question and incorrectly thought the question was addressed to the general membership. Sorry about that! :114:]

Laysitter
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Laysitter » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:26 pm

Thank you, but I've done my research (one transmitted teacher approx 4 hours away, a sitting group with no teacher approx 2 hours away). Areas with density of Zen resources sound amazing (can't imagine what that is like).

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Meido
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Meido » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:16 pm

While having a nearby community to practice with regularly is of course ideal, it's perfectly feasible to practice under the guidance of a teacher who is not nearby as long as you will be able to meet up in person at least periodically.

If you connect with a teacher and confirm that relationship, receive practice instructions and work with them - corresponding as needed to check in and report or troubleshoot- it's very workable. Then go see the teacher a few times a year, for example at retreats.

If conditions permit, you might even be able to start a small sitting group where you are and then invite the teacher to come. In general, teachers are looking for opportunities to teach.

The point is that even if your teacher lives in the same town, your own dedicated daily practice is the most important thing. There are times in our training where we need frequent guidance, but also long periods where we just need to do it and the teacher can't help much except to remind us to stay on track.

Since technology allows us to correspond and travel so much more easily than in the past, our situations are almost miraculously fortunate...even if we don't live near the teacher.

So my general advice for folks searching: research teachers, listen to their talks, read books, etc. and identify a few that strike you, no matter what the lineage or location. Then go meet them. In the meantime, you can start sitting using a basic practice...every day without fail.

This process of searching for a teacher can be done taking one's time, and should be done carefully. Though conditions can seem limiting, actually if our motivation and aspiration are strong enough the obstacles will disappear.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

Laysitter
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Laysitter » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:59 pm

Thank you for your response. This tells me that continuing to find a better teacher alignment is the right course of action (and to not prioritize proximity over quality and fit). I'll be looking into health of sangha and group relations and structure as well.

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jundocohen
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:50 am

And if you really, really get desperate, and will accept anything at that point ...
Treeleaf Zendo is an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or childcare, work and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Soto Zen Buddhist Sangha.

Available for you any time, all fully online.
https://www.treeleaf.org/



Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Larry
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Larry » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:24 am

jundocohen wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:50 am
And if you really, really get desperate, and will accept anything at that point ...
Nicely done :)

PS Good plug for Zen Space on the Soto Facebook group :)

Laysitter
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Laysitter » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:57 pm

Haha, thank you, Jundo. My first choice is a practice option where I interact with people in person. But I have nothing against online sangha, they are a great option for many (including people who live near established groups but find a better teacher connection with someone online). No offense to any virtual sangha was intended (and I'm a huge fan and consumer of good dharma talks from many centers and teachers who offer them as video or podcasts - none of them anywhere near me - so I probably have one foot into virtual-land already).

Bowing.

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Crystal
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Crystal » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:36 pm

Hi Laysitter,

Did you try the Buddhanet Worldwide Search facility for your area? It references small groups as well as the larger centres:

http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/

With kind wishes,

Crystal _/|\_

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fuki
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by fuki » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:18 pm

Meido wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:16 pm
This process of searching for a teacher can be done taking one's time, and should be done carefully. Though conditions can seem limiting, actually if our motivation and aspiration are strong enough the obstacles will disappear.
True, also when we look for a teacher one obviously already has a situation/relationship in mind and it rarely goes according to what we envision. Throughout the years it occured to me that the right teacher(s) appears when we least expect it or are consciously searching for it, so patience is key too, with that I mean to not be to eager to find a teacher just for the idea/desire of having a teacher if that makes sense (which goes for any relationship), so keep your 'eyes' open and remain receptive, it doesn't matter if it's today, tomorrow or in 10 years. In the great function of the totality everything happens naturally (with the right motivation/aspiration) without pushing life about or resisting conditions, one day there will be a click and the relationship will assert itself.

Just sharing 'personal' observations here, not advicing you to do or not do anything, just putting in 2 cents of faith/patience and receptiveness. Things might appear difficult if you're looking to catch rain but when chasing clouds you might not catch up, sometimes we need to move in a direction sometimes the rain will come if we stay put and "forget" about the weather ;)
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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Meido
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Meido » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:08 pm

fuki wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:18 pm
True, also when we look for a teacher one obviously already has a situation/relationship in mind and it rarely goes according to what we envision. Throughout the years it occured to me that the right teacher(s) appears when we least expect it or are consciously searching for it, so patience is key too, with that I mean to not be to eager to find a teacher just for the idea/desire of having a teacher if that makes sense (which goes for any relationship), so keep your 'eyes' open and remain receptive, it doesn't matter if it's today, tomorrow or in 10 years. In the great function of the totality everything happens naturally (with the right motivation/aspiration) without pushing life about or resisting conditions, one day there will be a click and the relationship will assert itself.
Well, It's possible to err too much in that direction. There is no "great function of the totality" guaranteeing there will be a click one day. We have to participate in creating those conditions, energetically and actively.

We should, in fact, be extremely eager to find a teacher...because we don't know if we even have today, tomorrow, or 10 years. We should have extremely urgent motivation, aspiration, and eagerness to make that connection. We should give rise to a fervent aspiration to enter the path, receive teachings, put them into practice. If we don't, we are just deluding ourselves: spinning wheels and wasting time.

But then within that, there is a smart and proper way to conduct one's search: carefully, and patiently. Carefully, because our own delusion clouds our judgement, and there are also charlatans, so we should research, talk to others, visit many teachers if we can, and so on to fill in our lacks of knowledge and determine where a useful affinity lies. Patiently, because it takes time to do this.

In other words, all this is a warning against impulsive, ill-researched choices, and a reminder to proceed with relaxed clarity and balance...not a reassurance that it's ok to let things happen slowly, be passive, or take more time than is necessary. We should be chomping at the bit. Time is passing.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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fuki
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by fuki » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:26 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:08 pm
Well, It's possible to err too much in that direction. There is no "great function of the totality" guaranteeing there will be a click one day. We have to participate in creating those conditions, energetically and actively.

We should, in fact, be extremely eager to find a teacher...because we don't know if we even have today, tomorrow, or 10 years. We should have extremely urgent motivation, aspiration, and eagerness to make that connection. We should give rise to a fervent aspiration to enter the path, receive teachings, put them into practice. If we don't, we are just deluding ourselves: spinning wheels and wasting time.

But then within that, there is a smart and proper way to conduct one's search: carefully, and patiently. Carefully, because our own delusion clouds our judgement, and there are also charlatans, so we should research, talk to others, visit many teachers if we can, and so on to fill in our lacks of knowledge and determine where a useful affinity lies. Patiently, because it takes time to do this.

In other words, all this is a warning against impulsive, ill-researched choices, and a reminder to proceed with relaxed clarity and balance...not a reassurance that it's ok to let things happen slowly, be passive, or take more time than is necessary. We should be chomping at the bit. Time is passing.
Thanks, yes I was referring to the internal narrative between "I have to/I do not have to" and all sorts of dualistic ideas regarding ourselfs, life, the path etc While with the right inspiration, motivation, earnestness I say it is inevitable that the right relationship will manifest and bloom.

For me finding a teacher was never a thought-object for long, yet they did appear when "not looking" (letting go of the idea of searching or finding) for it, by simply inquiring 24/7 what is it that's seeking? or who is it thats seeking? in such a way things manifest spontaneously and the right teacher inevitably appears, ofcourse just my perception of life and "co-creating conditions" I also like to say that this isn't a task for the (reason-seeking) mind but rather put your awareness to work but perhaps these additions are not relative or relating to anyone on this forum.

Thanks for the complementary post, all good advice.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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Meido
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Meido » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm

fuki wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:26 pm
While with the right inspiration, motivation, earnestness I say it is inevitable that the right relationship will manifest and bloom.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Fuki. I do agree with this.

I don't talk about this so much usually. But my own experience when young, when I knew I was interested in Buddhism but had not yet learned much about it - and was coming from a Catholic background - was like this: I just started praying or extending the request outward that I could receive some guidance to make my life of service to others. I didn't pray to bodhisattvas or God or anything at that time...just sort of to the universe at large.

And honestly, doors immediately started opening. I found myself, almost without trying, meeting one eminent master after another, in various traditions. I didn't even know how important they were when I met them...I just found myself in front of them. It was as if the path took me...I don't feel i really chose it, other than initially setting that intention, and then later taking refuge and the four vows with seriousness.

Even today I continue to feel that I'm somehow caught up in a flow of something much greater then I can conceive.

So the heart of the advice I would give to anyone also is to do this: take refuge, recite and contemplate the 4 vows. If that's too much, it's enough to just have the intention to give your life for the sake of others...just ask the universe to guide you in making that happen, and in whatever manner may be of most benefit to all beings.

If someone does this, they may have faith that they will meet people they need to meet. Not everyone can accept this kind of idea, I know, but to me it is a certainty.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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WoodsyLadyM
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by WoodsyLadyM » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:23 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm
fuki wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:26 pm
While with the right inspiration, motivation, earnestness I say it is inevitable that the right relationship will manifest and bloom.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Fuki. I do agree with this.

I don't talk about this so much usually. But my own experience when young, when I knew I was interested in Buddhism but had not yet learned much about it - and was coming from a Catholic background - was like this: I just started praying or extending the request outward that I could receive some guidance to make my life of service to others. I didn't pray to bodhisattvas or God or anything at that time...just sort of to the universe at large.

And honestly, doors immediately started opening. I found myself, almost without trying, meeting one eminent master after another, in various traditions. I didn't even know how important they were when I met them...I just found myself in front of them. It was as if the path took me...I don't feel i really chose it, other than initially taking refuge and the four vows with seriousness.

Even today I continue to feel that I'm somehow caught up in a flow of something much greater then I can conceive.

So the heart of the advice I would give to anyone also is to do this: take refuge, recite and contemplate the 4 vows. If that's too much, it's enough to just have the intention to give your life for the sake of others...just ask the universe to guide you in making that happen, and in whatever manner may be of most benefit to all beings.

If someone does this, they may have faith that they will meet people they need to meet. Not everyone can accept this kind of idea, I know, but to me it is a certainty.
Thank you, Meido. I always find your posts helpful and, in this case, truly inspiring.

:namaste:

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fuki
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by fuki » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:33 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm
So the heart of the advice I would give to anyone also is to do this: take refuge, recite and contemplate the 4 vows. If that's too much, it's enough to just have the intention to give your life for the sake of others...just ask the universe to guide you in making that happen, and in whatever manner may be of most benefit to all beings.

If someone does this, they may have faith that they will meet people they need to meet. Not everyone can accept this kind of idea, I know, but to me it is a certainty.
Thanks for sharing Meido.

Yes, the universe always provides you exactly with what you need, and in that there's no idea of "me and the universe" but a complete faith in universal functioning, this was natural for me from a very early age and has really nothing to do with thinking or belief, yet it may manifest as an idea or intuition, when guided from within life becomes a journey into the unknown.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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Larry
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Larry » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:59 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm
fuki wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:26 pm
While with the right inspiration, motivation, earnestness I say it is inevitable that the right relationship will manifest and bloom.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Fuki. I do agree with this.

I don't talk about this so much usually. But my own experience when young, when I knew I was interested in Buddhism but had not yet learned much about it - and was coming from a Catholic background - was like this: I just started praying or extending the request outward that I could receive some guidance to make my life of service to others. I didn't pray to bodhisattvas or God or anything at that time...just sort of to the universe at large.

And honestly, doors immediately started opening. I found myself, almost without trying, meeting one eminent master after another, in various traditions. I didn't even know how important they were when I met them...I just found myself in front of them. It was as if the path took me...I don't feel i really chose it, other than initially setting that intention, and then later taking refuge and the four vows with seriousness.

Even today I continue to feel that I'm somehow caught up in a flow of something much greater then I can conceive.

So the heart of the advice I would give to anyone also is to do this: take refuge, recite and contemplate the 4 vows. If that's too much, it's enough to just have the intention to give your life for the sake of others...just ask the universe to guide you in making that happen, and in whatever manner may be of most benefit to all beings.

If someone does this, they may have faith that they will meet people they need to meet. Not everyone can accept this kind of idea, I know, but to me it is a certainty.
:560:

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fuki
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Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by fuki » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:38 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm
So the heart of the advice I would give to anyone also is to do this: take refuge, recite and contemplate the 4 vows. If that's too much, it's enough to just have the intention to give your life for the sake of others...just ask the universe to guide you in making that happen, and in whatever manner may be of most benefit to all beings.

If someone does this, they may have faith that they will meet people they need to meet. Not everyone can accept this kind of idea, I know, but to me it is a certainty.
ps after diner relating to this conversation the last prayer of Dudjom Rinpoche came to mind (and similair pieces) which as you say can be miraculous "door openers" or "honesty in the mirror/humbling" when recited/read with the heart, this version is a transliteration by Bob.
[SPOILER]

Ati Guru, hail to You!

Sincere and open-hearted homage to the Only One, appearing as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Saints and Sinners, Fools and Thieves, Mothers and Fathers, Sons and Daughters, Husbands and Wives, Lovers and Friends, Killers and Marauders, Poets and Clowns, Leaf and Limb, Goats and Sheep, Cloud and Sky, Yin and Yang, Rain and Shine, Ants and Mosquitoes, Dharma Protectors and Dharma Deniers, Carrot and Cucumber, Actors and Audience, the Awake and Aware, the Asleep in the Deep, Magic and Mystery, Good and Evil, the Absence of Good and Evil, the Totality of the Universal Manifestation, and its serene spacious Emptiness!

Always one-pointedly remembering you from the depths of our hearts, we pray repeatedly before the mirror, invoking your compassionate attention.

Through the power of unobstructed loving kindness and gracious tolerance, see us as we are — not different from what you are, and so not separate and alone, not afraid or bewildered, not in a hurry or stalled by delay, not postponing and not anticipating, just here as ever, singing this song to you, with you, as you.

Bless us to accomplish what we came here for, even though we came for no particular reason. That in itself is a blessing!

Having no purpose, we accomplish all in accordance with the Supreme Dharma in which there is nothing to accomplish, to remember or forget, to gather or surrender, to hold and to cherish, in this life or the next.

From former positive actions performed by nobody, we have gained this precious human body, though we are not this body, or any body in particular, nor has anything been acquired, performed, or achieved.

Due to merit, by no means small, we have met the holy Dharma, and it is us, though we are small, and utterly without merit or holiness.

Though we are small, all the uncountable galaxies revolve within us like circus performers under the big top, scattering empowerments, blessings, wise instructions, and party favors garnered from inconceivable Buddha fields as numerous as grains of sand on an infinite beach.

Though we hold such fabulous jewels in our paws right now, our minds, like manic monkeys, are seduced by every sly peanut vendor of distraction that comes around, luring us with the meager enticements of toasted oil and salt.

Having been fortunate enough to have been granted birth in a realm where we could hear and ponder the wisdom of liberation, our obscuring emotions should have diminished and our minds should have evolved to the point of pure perception, but instead, we have just gotten worse, cascading on towards pools of dull stupidity like a raging waterfall!

We trade our wealth, our freedoms, endowments, and wise instructions for bags of stale goobers, until we reach such a tasteless state of delusion that everything we perceive assumes the same quality as a flimsy fairy tale of dark shadows and demonic compulsions.

Dressing up in Dharma costumes, we imagine that we are authentic practitioners, yet this body and mind with which we are identified only imitates of true practice, like a cartoon character pretending to be real.

Bereft of even basic human common sense, let alone the clear view of true wisdom, we can’t even admit that we know nothing, but instead casually critique the sages and their teachings.

We remain fixated in self-absorbed opinions and petty airs, while our big mouths parrot any scrap of clichéd nonsense that pops into our heads.

Wallowing in a stagnant swamp of sectarian biases and humorless beliefs, true inquiry is abandoned, and our cruel and thoughtless deeds bring us no shame.

With patience as short as the horn of a snail, we think nothing of others’ well-being, but spare no effort in announcing our fraudulent credentials and wry conceits to any ear that will bother listening.

Mimicking the Dharma in this way is just toting around a big bag of dried turds and claiming it as some precious treasure.

We may have read a lot of scripture and heard a lot of teachings, but they only fatten our arrogance and pride, turning our lives into cautionary tales about how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Our feeble mental analysis does not penetrate the beguiling facade of flashy appearances — we are too busy chasing soap bubbles to realize that whatever we are trying to grab hold of is only a bit of glossy moisture floating on thin air.

Though we imagine we have developed some concentration, the slightest flash of phenomenal triviality can scatter our focus like leaves in a gale.

Though we imagine we have partaken of some superior training, the light behind the mind is still like a painted picture of a paper lantern.

Though we imagine we honor an aspirant’s vows, true liberation is the last thing we are really interested in.

Though we can mouth explanations of various arcane texts, we cling to mediocre and mundane word games as if we have never learned a thing.

Though we might give lip service to our nominal Guides, our respect and devotion last only as long as we believe we are getting our money’s worth.

Secretly, we believe we are their equals, and react in a rage of intolerance should anyone dare question our borrowed and embellished points of view.

Respect, love, and kindness toward our fellow practitioners are dependent on how highly they praise and honor our imagined attainments.

Even a cautionary word on their part seems intolerable and we quickly renounce their friendship. The love and compassion born of recognizing that there are no others, that all are ourselves, vanishes like mist when we do not awaken to real Bodhicitta.

Though we act as if we have some genuine experience of the various stages of practice and recognition, in fact we have never experienced an alternative to our uninspected fantasies of interpretation on perception, which we nevertheless take to be real.

Though we have heard that Emptiness is the ultimate teaching, we have no decisive understanding of it; our mind-streams are too fixated in cycles of identification with craving and aversion, hope and fear.

Unable to come to rest in the clear and open transparency of awake awareness, we merely nod to the view, and yet behave as spoiled, restless children.

Though outwardly we appear to be examples of equanimity, yet on the inside, greed, envy, hatred, pride, and ignorance burn like fire.

Though we might reside in the forest or mountains, secluded from the human world, day and night our minds ceaselessly wander in the city streets, looking for another fix to break our jaded sense of boredom and discontent.

We don’t really believe in our own practice, and yet we make a pretense of guiding and advising others, like a child making up stories.

Through our lack of integrity, we shamelessly cheat and harm ourselves, as well as all with whom we come in contact.

Knowing full well what we are doing, we get into self-destructive habits anyway, dragged around by the nose by any fleeting whim or fancy, addicted to every foolishness, seduced by the allurements of instant sensual gratification.

Not maintaining mindfulness, the hot air of our billowing thoughts blows us this way and that, our untamed minds cannot rest, and so we seek relief in oblivion tonics and poisonous cheap quick highs.

Now in this moment as mind regards itself, everything we do or don’t do merely increases our huge bladder of defects.

Everything we conceive of is infected with emotional contraction and conflicting reactivity, yet how clever we still seem to ourselves.

All of our efforts seem destined for failure.

Where can we go from here but even further down?

Even a glimmer of self-observation is disillusioning, while looking to others only amplifies our sense of separation.

Where can we turn in this realm of lies, selfishness, and suffering? Who can we trust to show the way?

If we don’t get our act together now, when Death comes calling, our protests and pleas will fall on deaf ears. No one will save us, and we will only have ourselves to blame.
With remorse and regret, we need to recognize our own fraudulence and self-deception. Isn’t it about time?

All of this would be sad enough if there was such a being as an independent, concrete, and enduring person, but since that has never been the case, we are even more confused.

In a dream, an illusion is chasing a mirage.

Wherever we have failed in our practice through errors of judgment and appreciation, thought or deed, let’s not make it worse by trying to conceal it in the presence of the Victorious Ones.

Therefore, from the depths of our hearts, we confess our failings, our foolishness and cruelties, our greediness and envy, our pride and arrogance, our petty preferences, our grasping and avoiding, our refusal to listen and our stubborn clinging to delusions of mind and body.

In your unbounded compassion, forgive us.

Protect us from the error of dead-end paths.

Guide us so that we can discover the perfect recognition of liberation.

Having so far wandered, distracted, through life, chasing this and avoiding that, we have missed the essential meaning, and instead played the role of charlatans, outwardly appearing as practitioners, but inwardly seething with the snakes of untamed passions and compounded delusion.

Shouldn’t we be treading the path of recognizing the one thing that liberates all, instead of acting like the walking dead, stuffed dummies, exhausted donkeys, or hungry ghosts?
Undeceiving Supreme Protector, sole certainty and support, Root Guru who encompasses all refuges, Inner Guru who is our own True Nature, we pray to you with one-pointed devotion.

Kindly regard us with the most merciful compassion, which is the mark of Awakened Mind.

Bless us with true humility and uncompromising vision, so that we can clearly see our own faults.

Please bless us so that we can always forgive the faults of others, and quit blaming and complaining.

Bless us so we can abandon all selfish schemes and violent reactivities.

Please bless us so that only pure and healing impulses arise in our hearts.

Bless us so we develop freedom from grasping and clinging, and learn to be content with whatever we are given.

Please bless us so we remain mindful of impermanence.

Bless us so we are able to fulfill our purpose in this life, and not die with regrets.
Bless us so we can confidently embody the Way of Love and Wisdom — not as a talking strategy, but as the way we actually behave in life and relations.

Bless us so we practice unbiased pure recognition to the point where our hair stands on end at the mere appearance of anything at all!

Please bless us so that we develop an uncontrived respect and devotion for all life that brings tears to our eyes.

Bless us that we stop daydreaming about unobtainable goals and accomplishments, put aside our present fantasies, relax and let go of past concerns, and just be.

Please bless us with the power to turn the light around and recognize the ever-present radiance of our True Nature in the depths of our hearts and minds.

The ultimate point of practice is to liberate our mind streams, even from the delusion that there is any such entity that is bound and in need of liberation.

Please bless us.

Bless us so that our practice is free of obstacles, or full of obstacles, since obstacles are only mind, and mind is empty.

Please bless us so that its results may ripen immediately, even though time is mind, and mind is empty.

Bless us so that we may liberate everything we come into contact with, even though whatever appears is mind, and mind is empty.

Please bless us so that we destroy the duality of hope and fear, even though there is no creation or destruction.

Bless us so that we see the non-dual primordial wisdom and recognize it as our own.

Bless us so that we reach the secure ground where there is nowhere to stand, nowhere to arrive at or depart from, or nowhere on which to plant a flag and consider that we are done for the day.

Please bless us so that we gain ultimate effortless certainty, until we are able at last to abandon clinging to any certainty and so fall freely into the vast Unknown.

With the great diamond sword of unconditioned pristine recognition, may the conceptual designations of “samsara” and “nirvana” be cut into emptiness with one stroke.

Since within the expanse of the all-pervasive equalness, the unobstructed great bliss enjoyment of the Real, even the word “suffering” does not exist, how much less the notions of “together” or “separate”?

Who could there be still searching for happiness, where happiness and suffering have the same taste, and seeking is self-liberated?

This is the Kingdom of the primordial Awakened One:
May all beings awaken to it in this very lifetime!

Om Ah Hum
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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lindama
Posts: 328
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: Forestville, CA

Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by lindama » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:05 am

Laysitter wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:59 pm
Thank you for your response. This tells me that continuing to find a better teacher alignment is the right course of action (and to not prioritize proximity over quality and fit). I'll be looking into health of sangha and group relations and structure as well.
Good suggestions here.... as Fuki says, it rarely goes as you envision. Most ppl have a limited selection within driving distance. I'd say start there, forget ideas about the health of sangha, group relations and structure..... for now. You can't know in advance... even if you have ideas, give it a chance... you're probably wrong. If you're not, you'll grow into the next step. You may come to see that you are exactly in the right place. I did.

I'd say the primary thing is to sit with compadres, let go of judgement until you are ripe.

best wishes
linda

Seeker242
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:43 pm

Re: Finding the right teacher (it is proving difficult)

Post by Seeker242 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:28 pm

Laysitter wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:40 pm
There is a sitting group in a more tolerable driving distance that is connected to a reputable and organized lineage, though the transmitted teacher lives in another state. The sangha is solid, though (I like the people, they are devoted practitioners and seem like really decent people). That may be my better choice, though I wish there was teacher contact and dharma talks there...
Do they have retreats? If so, a teacher usually attends to lead retreats. That is how I've seen it work with groups with a non-resident teacher. :namaste:

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