Finding a teacher, when and how often?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Finding a teacher, when and how often?

Postby innerd00r » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:15 am

Hi all,

My name is Bill and I'm new to the forum, thanks for being here.

I took a Mindfulness course 8 months ago, and since then have been meditating almost daily. Although the course didn't specifically say so, I believe it followed the basic outline of Vipassana technique (it's based on Jon Kabat-Zinn's MIT MBSR course, which having read his books is basically secular Vipassana).

In any case, although I feel secure in my practice (it is what it is what it is), I'm thinking of finding a group in London to sit with for the community aspect (I'm currently checking out Shambhala, who are very nice). But also, I'm thinking that it might be good to find a teacher, and thus to my question:

What is involved in finding and working with a teacher? Do you meet weekly, monthly, just as needed? I'm a bit confused as to what is involved. Also, how does one find one? I know there are groups in London (London Insight for example) but would I just attend a talk, and then ask for a teacher? Or is it more a case of finding a group lead by a teacher and attending until you feel that it's appropriate to formally ask to be taken on as a student? How does one tell if someone would be a good teacher (other than gut feeling, which will of course play a role)?

Sounds like a ridiculous question, but I'm a bit unclear about it tbh.

Thanks in advance for your responses, :)


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Re: Finding a teacher, when and how often?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:14 am

Welcome Bill!

There are no hard and fast rules about this. I would visit a few places and see how they operate. Many will have group sessions that you can just turn up to.

There is a directory here that may be helpful: ... &tradition[]=theravada

Bhikkhu Pesala, who posts regularly here, is in the London area and would presumably be happy to offer some advice:

Best Wishes,

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Re: Finding a teacher, when and how often?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:55 am

Hi Bill and welcome to Dhamma Wheel!
All the best with your own noble search.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Finding a teacher, when and how often?

Postby innerd00r » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:37 pm

Thanks everyone :)


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Re: Finding a teacher, when and how often?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:31 pm

Hi Bill, if distance is not an issue there are some great places outside of london also who have weekly lessons during the weekend, and you can make it a break from the hustle of london.
The Buddhist society has some classes which have visiting teachers form different places each week/month so there is a good veriety of traditions to see there which may make your choice easier, but then charisma of an individual is not always the best indicator.
good journeying!
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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