Do you need a master, guru or group?

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

  1. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I might should bite my tongue, but I will go on to say it ...

    ... the person who thinks s/he can `raise the serpent-fire' successfully & safely, and direct it to the proper centers, in the proper order, at the proper time ...

    ... and all of this without the assistance of one who has already done so ...

    -- has apparently come across some mistaken information.

    That's about as concrete a reason that I think anyone can give, for WHY we all need a `Guru,' at a certain point along the spiritual Path.

    Yes, it lies considerably ahead for the vast majority of us (I wouldn't imagine that for myself for MANY more lifetimes to come) ... and umm - when someone here has already accomlished the task in question, do let us know about it, if you still find that the rules of Initiation do not prevent it. Eh?

    I am reminded of a quote by the Brithish mystic Laurence Oliphant, who likened certain occult experiments to "an ignorant child going
    into a powder magazine with a lighted match in its hand
    ." This is as good an image as any, though I suppose we might say today -- that tampering with the Serpent-Fire is like setting a small thermonuclear device in the fireplace to see just how protective might be its outer casing.

    STILL feel like walking the Path without a Guru? Sure.

    I think all the points made thus far have been valid, each from a certain point of view, given certain circumstances, and along certain stages of the Path. And so, too, is what I've just said - a valid observation, in precisely the same way.

    Most of us can pretty well ignore the specifics for quite a long time to come. Having never even heard of this particular energy (and aspect of our psyche), I don't expect any concensus of opinion ... but then, that's beside the point.

    All of these things, of course, will take care of themselves, for as Chris has already pointed out -- "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." :)

    There may be some who think that they will never need a Teacher, but I would have to argue that if that were the case, they would already be completely enlightened! As indeed, would all of us! ;)

    Nor is there a simple, failsafe formula, for precisely this same reason -- if one existed, enlightenment would be no challenge, and we could all just as well snap our fingers - and reach the Goal.

    Riding that train, becoming the Path, is certainly part of reaching the Goal, yet I'm pretty convinced this track has neither beginning, nor ending, just periods of manvantara (Activity, Manifestation), and pralaya (Rest, Return to Source).

    And actually, the closest thing to a formula for Spiritual `success' (Advancement, the Hastening toward Enlightenment) already has been provided, MANY times, even several, different ways - in the past 150 years or so ... but the vast majority of those who have attempted to follow it have found the requirements far too demanding. Thus, they have benefitted, and progressed, but will have to complete their growth in future lifetimes - as must we all.

    Some few have managed, and have testified that the Teachings provided are exactly what Humanity is seeking, but who wants to WORK, when it's much easier to play ... and pray. I know that sounds harsh, nor did I say that I think prayer is "ineffective" or "pointless." But if you familiarize yourself with the requirements for the `fast-track' to spiritual enlightenment ... it isn't exactly like baking a batch of Nestle, Tollhouse cookies. ;)

    Oh that it were? I dunno. Sounds pretty unfulfilling, to me. I don't WANT an easy road to Heaven, personally. Sounds cheap, pointless, a real LETDOWN, even in comparison with everything else I've lived, learned, experienced and aspired to -- here on planet earth ... in THIS lifetime even, thus far.

    Oh, you've been a nice boy, why don't you sit down with these angels, and sing happy songs for the rest of eternity.

    No thanks. :p

    Anyway, that's what I started out to say, plus a couple more points for giggles and grins. Jibe with anyone? :)

    cheers,

    ~andrew
     
  2. Bruce Michael

    Bruce Michael New Member

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    Shalom,
    It doesn't discount the fact that as well as the forgeries, there are real Masters.

    And in the Theosophical Movement there are instructions from these Masters, such as:
    LIGHT ON THE PATH - Part 1

    :)
     
  3. greymare

    greymare New Member

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    I like the train/railway story. It feels right. I like to talk to people of differnt faiths mainly because I want to know why they believe what they believe..... I probably ask a lot of stupid questions. I get answers but im not really any closer to a conclusion. Now after reading this new thread and all the posts Ive finally realized for me THAT is what its all about. Looking, Looking. Asking Asking. the penny has dropped. DUH. lol love the Grey
     
  4. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    look... ppl don't find out about buddhism in a vacumm... they are quite capable of guiding themselves to where they need to go- that "essential nature", so to speak, is already there, supposedly... its all there, u just need to "wake up"... and what do u wake up to? U wake up to urself. U don't wake up to another, do u?

    a bodhisattva, " (a person who has) bodhi- awakened (to the) sattva, (the sat- being, tva "I") should then, theoretically, know themselves... what use then is another here?

    maybe in 5BC, when I didnt have a pc, or a local library, or bookstores, maybe I would need a guru. Maybe I would need someone to tell me of such things before I understood, but... there is internet, and books... if u find something which u don't understand, u look it up. This is how u study. Eventually, things will fall into place, you will understand.

    I am relatively well educated. I can read, write, opine, philosophize, and I fail to appreciate how my interpretation of existence and life, etc is any more or any less valid than anyone elses... just because a man is in a robe and has no hair it does not mean he understands dharma. If you think he knows more simply because of his racial characteristics or his outfit, then you are fooled by mistaken appearance and do not see things "as they are". Just because you have been born in Tibet, it does not give you an automatic pass to understanding, does it?

    did buddha, mohammed, jesus, have a guru? did they? what made them come up with their own thing, then, ppl? or are they not men after all, like the rest of us?

    why not forge ur own path, make ur own way?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2007
  5. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    francis

    well said! ~ i have no need to add anything to that.

    hmm apart from; whilst i don’t see the need for any intelligent person to have a ‘master’ and indeed i find the idea quite patronising, i do think temples and monesteries are good. i would love to be able to escape life’s ravages in some kind of hermatage, and also be around people of like mind. however there are no universal temples around, and beside one could ask if life is our temple - as much as our body is?
     
  6. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    People are so gosh frightfully enamored of all Eastern things. And American Indian stuff, and flippin' Goddesses and unicorns and King Arthur and crap. It's all so gee whizzy.

    Chris
     
  7. earl

    earl ?

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    Actually, of course, the Buddha did study with a number of individuals prior to attaining enlightenment. One might wonder if/when he would have achieved his own unique break-through without it. If we are not particularly concerned with checking how our own perspectives fit with the context of those of others, either of countless millenia ago, or this very moment, than of course following only the school of francisim or earlism makes sense.:) have a good one, earl
     
  8. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    We have all those things at our disposal, and yet if we want to drive a car the standard process is still to learn under the guidance of a driving instructor. Similarly, if we want to learn how to be a doctor, we still have to go to University for several years to learn both the theory and it's practical application from qualified surgeons. Fair enough if people want to go their own way, it's a relatively free world in that respect (no-one is being forced, at least not in England). But I wouldn't want to replace personal spiritual teachers with books and Google. That's starting to sound a bit 1984 to me. Surely spiritual life is more than just a fact-finding exercise, it's a change of heart? I'm thinking there is room enough for both methods.

    ... Neemai :)
     
  9. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    yes, earl, the buddha did study with others- in fact, the sutras themselves tell us that, but the sutras also tell us that after Buddha found his truth, he went back and discussed such with the people he had studied with, and they laughed at him and suggested that as he did not think like them he was not one of them and they kicked him to the kerb...

    as for... no practising buddhist would tell beginners to go their own way- they would Earl- I do... so, there's one... and, if u look, u might find a few more too...

    "the natural is not fabricated and does not rely on another"- Nagarjuna...
     
  10. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste earl,

    in what way? on how i found my guru after his physical form had ceased to arise? it isn't nearly as neat as it sounds... i was fortunate to read a Dharma talk of his and i instantly was aware of the nature of our relationship.

    it was and is still a very strange experience for me and i've only encountered such an experience one other time before... when i saw my spouse for the first time i knew, in no uncertain terms, that we were meant to be together. it was like a shock of naked, raw awareness that is so overwhelming that we try to conceptualize it and compartmentalize it as it's happening yet the experience, itself, is nearly beyond our comprehension and we are forced to simply experience without reflection on the experiencer.

    dunno if that helps or not but it is a common enough feature within my tradition for this sort of awareness to arise in relation to a guru/student.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  11. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    I beg to differ. Many years ago I attended a talk (arranged by the Theosophical Society) by a Tibetan Lama. When it came to question time, his answer to every question was: "Find out for yourself." This person, who virtually gave no instruction, so impressed the audience that, as he walked up the aisle to leave, EVERYONE stood up so that they could get a closer look at him.

    However on the other extreme, I have a friend in Brisbane, Australia, who is a Shaolin monk. When the Dalai Lama was finally persuaded to leave Tibet for his own safety, he was accompanied by some 40 monks. All but seven of these lost their lives while escorting the Dali Lama to safe territory. One of those remaining seven travelled to Queensland. My friend's father met this monk at a Masonic meeting. My friend was 3 years of age at the time and so was under the guidance and tutorship of the monk from that early age.

    For what it is worth, my friend is a living example of all that is good in Buddhism.
     
  12. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.

    do you honestly feel as if intelligence is all that is required and that a lack of requires one to accept a teacher? in my view it is demonstrably not so.

    i think that a great deal of Western beings angst regarding teachers is their own hang up regarding them and has little to do with the idea of a student/teacher relationship or, to put it into craftsmen terms, master/apprentice.

    it also seems to me that many beings have a misconception about the role of the guru and the relationship that a student should have towards this being. within the context of Buddhadharma the method for testing a teacher is fairly explicit especially within the Vajrayana and, perhaps more germane to the conversation is that the teacher learns from the student as well.

    essentially my view is thus: when travelling to a land of which we have no experience we need a guide to find the watering holes and avoid the quicksand. once we've journeyed through the land a bit we can dispense with our guide if so desired.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  13. earl

    earl ?

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    Gee, I misinterpretted your commnet V. Thought you were implying your end was in sight.:D earl
     
  14. earl

    earl ?

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    Hi there intrepidlover-interesting screen name. I'd say it may be a safe bet on my part to assume if that guy was a vajrayana practitioner-the lama-he definitely would not be discouraging a teacher-student relationship as practice under the supervision of an advanced vajrayana practioner, what is referred to literally as "guru yoga," is a central, defining feature of vajrayana Buddhism, though vajrayana is not my chosen approach to Buddhism. take care, earl
     
  15. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    It was created for matchmaking websites, but for convenience I use it for all websites.

    Thank you for the information.
     
  16. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Hello and greetings,

    I thought I might slip in . . .

    This is a rather interesting observation. Gurus versus books and the Internet.

    With regards to Internet usage, I would say it's not all fact-finding. Could we not, for example, guide each other on the journey by our exchange of ideas, like we're doing now at CR? Sure we come from many different faiths and paths, but that does not mean that an insight produced by a walker of one faith can't also apply to another. I've seen some rather interesting ideas from all sorts of people here. The dangerous conflicts that go on from time to time also have a bright side. All that expression of anger, frustration and hostility goes into helping us learn and grow. One advantage of that is that I don't have to go anywhere. We can stay at home and type. (I believe I've learnt more from discussion than from reading books and Internet articles.)

    I suppose there's a downside, though to staying at home and typing. It might lead to spiritual obesity. Because we're not going out there to meet, greet and connect with people face to face, we become fat with ideas and insights but don't really develop the associated virtues. We gain a lot of spiritual weight, but don't do enough spiritual exercise to burn off the spiritual calories. If I was to take the idea to the extreme, it could lead to . . . a spiritual cardiac arrest due to a mind overloaded with ideas.:D

    Just some thoughts.:)
     
  17. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    I think there might be something crucial in what you say here. I love communicating with spiritually minded people and teachers via email, but the effect of focusing on the internet could be leaving us (as a society) lacking in other areas. Interesting train of thought ...

    ... Neemai :)
     
  18. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I will tell you what Is an interesting thought.... What is the point of the jellyfish...... Why is it here?..... Uhm, No that isn't the thought, the interesting thought is this; You -love- to communicate with "spiritually minded people" in texts/email.... Wouldn't you prefer to be in a "touchy touch" situation face to face with "spiritually minded people" I would have thought to communicate via text like this for example would be, acceptable at best, but not that good......
     
  19. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    neemai... you say you "wouldn't want to replace personal spiritual teachers with books and Google"

    maybe you wouldn't, but I like the sound of it- hasn't occurred to me before to actually replace them, but maybe... then, at least, we would learn our own truths, our own insights, making our own judgements and realisations along the way, and live a full life, a truely independent life, and be fully liberated...

    neemai, you say this is a "bit 1984" for you, but to me, it's true freedom. You have no master, no boss, no guru, no leader, as you are then all these things to yourself. You are self reliant. Self actualising. self propelled.

    yes, you are right, "spirituality should be more than just a fact finding exersise" but I can't agree with the "change of heart", as what we are really changing is not the heart, but the mind... and for me, therein lies the problem...

    as a buddhist, I am led to believe that my "self", such as it is, is fine as it is. Yes, I might be contaminated with afflictions, I might feel a little poisoned, I might be bound, fettered, blinkered, et cetera, but by understanding thought and the nature of thought I am able to forsake all these afflictions and be happier, less bound, less fetterred, et cetera. By understanding the chain of causation, by understanding the interrelatedness of things, by understanding how I became "me", I realise "me" doesn't exist, as such, and I am just like a hard disk, full of disparate bits of information and subjects and objects that I have been presented with and either embraced or rejected. My opinions, such as they are, are not actually mine, but my fathers, my friends, the product of the wider society, etc, etc.... eventually, I wake up, but what I wake up to is .... myself....

    ....

    Vajradhara, you ask Z if he feels "as if intelligence is all that is required and that a lack of requires one to accept a teacher?"

    he might not, but I do....

    maybe you though, Vajradhara, are right to suggest this angst regarding teachers is our own hang up, as I hate to be told what to do, and I hate having to modify my behaviour, attitudes or opinions simply on the basis that I am in the company of supposedly higher status beings, and yes, I am anti-guru, anti-monarchy, anti-class stucture, et cetera, yet I do not think this is a fault- in fact, I think this is very rational and sane response.

    seeing as we all like Orwell, how about this one?

    "all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others"?

    yes, we need guides, but we are not cattle. We are not lesser beings because we chose to have a life in the real world rather than sit on a hill. We are humans, and yes, we sometimes need guidance and instruction from other humans, but we have to be careful we do not defer responsibility to ppl who are not worthy of such consideration, which is what a lot of ppl do.

    saltmeister said: This is a rather interesting observation. Gurus versus books and the Internet.

    I want to say- saltmeister- no! there is still a guru here, my friend, the guru is you, and your doctrine, whatever that doctrine may be.

    But yes, I agree with you: it isn't all fact finding, and indeed, hopefully, loftily, this is what we do here, between us. I have been inspired, mortified, displeased, educated, right here, by my fellow humans, and maybe you have, too.

    love this... :"We gain a lot of spiritual weight, but don't do enough spiritual exercise to burn off the spiritual calories. If I was to take the idea to the extreme, it could lead to . . . a spiritual cardiac arrest due to a mind overloaded with ideas"

    and yes, I agree with u, but.... you're only making the assumption that the virtues really are worthy objects... what is virtue, really? It's just another construct, and something which most ppl will never discern for themselves, and again, rely on the others to tell them what it is... but hey...

    ...maybe ppl aren't really exersising like they should... although... I'm wearing spandex at Xmas, and I could do with losing a few pounds... lol...

    cheerio
     
  20. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    The self propelled search to realise that there is no self?

    I wouldn't agree philosophically, but am I reading this right, or lost the plot? It's late on a friday afternoon, so my brain is not functioning at normal speed...

    Hari Om :)


    ... Neemai
     

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