Do you need a master, guru or group?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by intrepidlover, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Oh, you know...I'm not anything. I'm not aligned or affiliated with any group or particular philosophy. I don't think there's a label for me. I'm just kinda passing through and enjoying the scenery. I like to have fun. I'm interested in how things work. All of life seems a spiritual pursuit to me. That's pretty much it.

    Chris
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    sentient beings have myraid dispositions and capacities and require teachings and methodologies which help them in their spiritual journey. i am not of the view that disparaging anothers method of praxis is of benefit even if we may have the view that the others practice is completely misguided.

    in my own tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism the need for a teacher/guru is stated in no uncertain terms as explicitly necessary.

    by and large, this is the overall position of the Buddhadharma and we find many suttas relating the need for beginning Buddhists to be around Buddhists that have spent more time on the path.. what we term "spiritual companions". we find this to be especially true amongst the teachings of the initial yanas which deal primarily with the Vinya and the monastics.

    as it has been mentioned previously, the Buddhadharma is likened to a raft which one can use to get to the Other Shore. there are many, many types of rafts that can be built to cross to the Other Shore and some beings have left their raft behind so we can use it as well. some beings, of course, know how to build rafts of their own and do not require the raft of another. the salient point here, in my estimation, is that the raft is left behind once the Other Shore has been reached.

    to paraphrase Han-shan (Cold Mountain): all of the words of Buddhas and Zen masters are expedients that point to the inherent nature of mind... they are like bits of tile used to knock on the door which we then discard as we enter.

    of course, it should be noted, within the paradigm of the Buddhadharma "awakening" is not the end of the praxis nor does such awakening indicate that the being has completely put an end to the cycle. beings that have experienced Samadhi/Satori have yet to attain Annutara Samyak Sambodhi and therefore are urged to continue to practice the basic aspects of the teaching.

    Zen master Haikun explains that the initial moments of awakening serve to give us confidence in the end goal of the Dharma though we must continually be diligent and circumspect in our daily practice. the initial experiences of awakening are said to require caring for in the manner in which one would care for an infant.

    as to how the question relates to me... i am in need of a teacher and, fortunately, found mine! though, somewhat unfortunately, it was not until after the physical form had ceased to arise in this world system :(

    metta,

    ~v
     
  3. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    O.K., who agrees with this statement? When the student is ready, the teacher appears

    I have many masters. They come and they go. I do not specialize in discipline. All discipline must eventually be abandoned, so I save a lot of time that way. I'm interested in how things work. I approach this from the bottom up. I'm keeping in mind a group of apparent archetypes, but I want to see what the phenomena do of themselves and then work upwards, otherwise my hypothesis are pre-weighted. I don't believe in whole systems. I don't believe in syncretism because to me that's a recipe for reaching the lowest common denominator. I watch and I learn. I try to get myself out of the way of the observation process.

    Chris
     
  4. earl

    earl ?

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    V-care to elaborate? Wishing you well. gassho, Earl
     
  5. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    Look around u, one and all.. are there any here fit to be your master?

    Do they not suffer, do they not doubt, do they not feel fear and get sick and age and die? Who amongst them is truely worthy of your unceasing devotion, your complete trust, who among them is fit to carry your mind, and heart and soul in their hands?

    None...

    The only real spiritual master is you... experience, time, and life, are the teachers, your mind, heart and soul it's pupil... anything else is erroneous... let's not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself, friends...
     
  6. earl

    earl ?

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    When I studied some of the history of Celtic Christianity I discovered they're the folks that essentially invented "confession." That is, they established a tradition of anamchara-spiritual friend-which meant that 2 or more practitioners would travel the journey together with each, in turn, turning to the other to share their understandings and misunderstanding with the other acting as mirror, supporter, and "corrective influence" for the other in the spiritual journey. The problem with not obtaining any input outside of one's own inevitable limited, partial understanding is we are then in effect, wittingly or not, allowing or "selves," our "ego" to be our guide. That, of course, can allow us to fall into all sorts of subtle ego traps which we can mistake for spiritual realization. Ultimately it is up to all of us individually to reflect on all of our experiences and make of them what we will. But in a sense the spiritual journey has never been a solo affair. Sort of reminds me of the title of an early Western book on zen-by Stephen Batchelor I believe- "Being Alone Together.":) earl
     
  7. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    yes, but what about the subtle ego traps of the ppl who write the books u recommend?? of course they all have a vested interest in supporting such notions, don't they?

    the dharma is the teacher, not the man in the blanket sitting on the hill... what makes his opinion, as this is all we have, opinions, what makes his more valid than mine, to myself?

    Is that not foolishness?

    Buddha himself says we should not cling... we cling to these masters like they are the wee crocks of gold at the end of the rainbow... why? are we not able to think for ourselves? Can we not read, write, judge for ourselves? The dharma is out there- whole reams of it- for free- gratis, no cash dollar needed. It is free, and given freely. If it is not, it is not dharma.

    There are millions of books out there that talk about buddhism, although in truth, they don't really talk about buddhism. They talk about one man's interpretation of buddhism. You can read thousands of them and learn five lines of sutra. Is that buddhism?

    I don't think it is.
     
  8. earl

    earl ?

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    What the Buddha taught was not to cling to "self" and he taught that to thousands of folks for 50 years in many different ways knowing how tenacious the deluded sense of self was. Doubt he'd have invested that much time in a teaching project if he didn't think most folks could stand to learn a thing or two.:D Otherwise he'd have just continued to hang out under the tree. earl
     
  9. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    For most of my life, I sought vainly for a body of like minded believers. However, like yourself, not only do I not need that but I don't think there IS any group which shares my personal spiritual views, which are open-ended anyhow and subject to change according to new information or experiences. :)

     
  10. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Alone With Others; an existential approach to Buddhism

    Awesome book, and a great read:D
     
  11. taijasi

    taijasi GnĊthi seauton

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    Much along the line of what you've posted, earl, I feel that a Guide is necessary at certain points, to help us with that little matter of Perspective.

    And that can be humbling, yet it is can also be so tremendously empowering ... uplifting ... and Joyous.
     
  12. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    Namaste Vajra,

    From the perspective of Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition I'm totally with you on both counts.

    ... and can also have sympathies on this count. Thought you might like this:

    He reasons ill who says that the great saints die when thou are living still in sound! The spiritual masters die to live, and living, spread the holy names around!

    Best wishes,


    ... Neemai :)
     
  13. earl

    earl ?

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    I was tempted to ask about the apparent contradictions in your posts earlier, francis, and gave in to the temptation now.:D So, if you were intending to dissuade others from opening themselves to any form of spiritual guidance, what was up with your hearty endorsement of this vajrayana teacher's stuff?

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/hey-buddhists-fancy-some-at-8311.html

    have a good one, earl
     
  14. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    I have no problem with ppl learning from others, earl, as that is what we all do, and no- I am not trying to dissuade others from opening themselves up to any form of anything- my gripe is against those who think teacher knows best when he often doesn't... is all... I have met many ppl along the way who have influenced me, and I accept that as part of the human condition, but I do not hero worship them, as they are just human beings, like the rest of us...

    by the same token, I would not line up in a neat row and curtsey to the king/queen either, regardless of how much I was supposed to, and again for the same reasons... I am no worse or better than anyone else, and I'll be damned if I'm going to tie myself up in knots pleasing others and towing the party line just for the sake of it...

    ...most members of a heirarchy have an interest in maintaining the heirarchy so they can maintain their status...

    by birth one is not a brahmin, by deed one is a brahmin... this is my point...

    i remember meeting a "guru", whose name I will not mention, and I felt he was looking at my breasts... I attempted to put this thought to the back of my mind, as, after all, he was a guru, wasn't he, and didnt think like that, of course.... but.... well, he actually was looking at my boobs... he had a thing for boobs, and later got thrown out of his gang because he was feeling up the ladies...he wrote books, toured the world telling ppl about the dharma, and preyed on the weak simpering middle class neurotic ladies, so he could feel their boobs! oh! and they paid him too, usually, via donations...hahhaa...

    did I tell u about meeting another supposed "master", who deliberately ensnared ppl into his cult and persuaded them to give up their houses, etc, to build a church? which he did? only he also built a big house for himself too, and then disposed of the members who had paid for it by creating scandals about them and having the group turn against them...?

    Did I tell u about the master I met one time who wanted me to join his gang so he could marry me off and I would make good babies for Jesus, or the master who stole my shoes and wouldn't let me leave the ashram we were in...?

    I have met plenty of people who have big flocks around them of earnest devotees, and the masters themselves are involved in naughty things, or evil doers, playing the lost sheep, and I hate it...

    everyone of those ppl in those organisations thought they were right to trust these men, who, by virtue of their status, where beyond stain, beyond fault, and the majority of ppl involved in these organisations are weak, or sick, or desperate, or disparate and become blind to what is really going on...

    now... I posted the "Gampopa's ornament" pc, because... online buddhists study seems interesting... the Kaygu's at Samye Ling are not a cult- they do charitable works with their profits, it doesnt all go on a cushy life for their masters... they are "worthy" buddhists, in my humble opinion, and I treasure them for the precious jewels they are... that does not mean I have to agree with every aspect of their presentation of doctrine, and I don't... it simply means I thought it might interest others here...

    is all...

    I am not especially fond of vajrayana... I think it isn't the quickest, but the slowest vehicle, and I think it is, in the main, overworked... I think fundamentally, dharma is much simpler, and easier than that, and I think it involves study of the texts, and ethics, and meditation, and nothing else... I do not have a lineage, so to speak, and don't think it is necessary either...

    although plenty will disagree...
     
  15. earl

    earl ?

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    Always the potential down-side to entrusting our learning in the hands of the guidance of another. Hero worship-any credible spiritual leader who encouraged/fostered that sends up a red flag. Like Jesus said, "by their fruits shall ye know them.":) earl
     
  16. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Francis...Yeah, all too often well meant spiritual teachings are often wrapped up inside of all-too-fallible human packages. Of course it it so confusing when one of these beings comes into your life somehow and says, "do what I say, and not what I do".

    In The US it seems that television-based spiritual teachers have an especially difficult time with this.

    BTW, I've been wondering about your brother's situations. How's that going, any better?

    peace...flow....:)
     
  17. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    yes, indeed, ye shall know them by their fruits... its easy to talk the talk, and make it seem u have something important to say, but, in truth, for me at least, if you want buddhism, or any other -ism for that matter, u are much better off learning as far as ur own capabilities will take u first, before u look to others... especially in this day and age, with the wealth of knowledge we have at our fingertips, its not hard...

    yes, ppl can guide u, but first look at who and what ur following... blind faith is just gilded ignorance...

    nagarjuna says... if subject and object (have no inherent existence), then what is there to praise and who to praise it?

    for me, I want my master to actually know more than me... so far, on the quest for a master, a "proper" one, so to speak, I have found only two ppl who come up to speed- both buddhists, and both from entirely seperate traditions... one is very knowledgeable about dharma, the other is knowledgeable about , erm, "the powers", shall we say... of course, my wild ego says "take the man with the magic powers", but my sensible self says- "dharma is king", so who knows what will happen, if anything...

    as for my bro, flow, yes, he's okay, thanks for asking...lost his job, forced to stop drinking- result! lol... the Lord works in mysterious ways, hey..?

    so u see, ppl, I'm not that different from the rest of u... I'm on the same quest... just maybe a bit more choosy than some... !
     
  18. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Francis...Yeah, so many of us here are in the same boat. I'm the same way. I pay attention to things to the extent my heart informs me that it is true and not false. When alarm bells start going off, I move on for my self-preservation. So happy to near that your Bro is moving on with his life, such as it is.

    flow....;)
     
  19. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    Unfortunately all of what Francis says does really go on in the "guru" business. In all walks of life and religions I'm sure. However, in my experience when you meet someone who is actually 'for real', then that meeting is the most priceless thing you can practically have.

    No amount of logical arguments or personal endorsements from other people ("oh he's a really great guru" etc.. etc..) mean a thing - it's just the sheer reality of when it happens. "What proof it wasn't just your imagination?" I hear people shout - well if you truthfully see your consciousness becomes more purified (short & long-term) as a result, then it has worked. Simple as that.


    ... Neemai :)
     
  20. earl

    earl ?

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    francis, as to Buddhism, no actual practicing Buddhist would ever suggest that someone fairly new to the Dharmic path should rely only on themselves, if a teacher can be found-quite the opposite. Even Nagarjuna needed one when he started out.;)
    Biography of Nagarjuna

    take care, earl
     

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