kayy wrote:Point taken about TNH, Batchelor, Goldstein etc. In order to teach a lay community effectively, though, I would still argue that it is necessary to have real experience as a lay practitioner, so as to gain a real understanding of the things we have to deal with living in society, having jobs, relationships and so on.
I read ya. Definitely appreciate having teachers around who have insight into those things -- either from personal experience, or in some cases just because they have a real affinity with laypeople.
Of course it depends on the student. Personally, I feel the need for teachers with experience of a lifestyle similar to mine. Other lay practitioners, as I know, prefer the teachings of some of the monastic community. When it comes down to it it's just a personal feeling caused by our personal karma, that we attempt to justify using 'rational' thought and language.
When I started out exploring Buddhism, I felt alarmed and threatened by the emphasis on monasticism. Maybe I felt my balls would fall off if I thought about it, or that I'd feel some mysterious urge to ordain. And so at first I tended to minimize that aspect of the tradition. My entry point was through Zen, anyway, where these days even priests can get married.
But, you know, this was just ignorance and aversion. It makes a lot more sense to try and understand rather than shutting it out.
I agree about rationalizing one's karma. So easy to fall into that mental trap.