Different strokes from different folks.

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Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:16 pm

Over the years I have met and or learned from a number of teachers in the Theravada,Vajrayana, and Zen traditions.

. These teachers differed widely in style.

Some were twinkly and sage like. DT Suzuki. Ajahn Amaro, The Dalai Lama come to mind.
Some were noble and majestic. Ajahn Sumedho and TaiSitu Rinpoche for example.
Some were challenging and probing, Ajahn Sucitto and Ajahn Munindo would fit that
And some could be downright scary , Trungpa Rinpoche the Zen Teacher Myo Kyo Ni, and Ajahn Chah could and would pin you to the wall and skewer you.


Now, should Buddhist teachers show more uniformity of style ? Should we avoid the ones that we dont find sympatico ? Or should we gravitate towards them as they may be what we need ?.
Or should we stay at home and read about them online ?

What do you think ?
Last edited by PeterB on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:25 pm

I'm going to say no to uniformity. Out of hundreds of millions of Buddhists, I suspect that one or two of them may have different needs than the rest. :) Heck, even a single person may have different instructional needs over the course of their life.

As for reading about them online, I'd say that's about as bad as it can get. I think some of the members of this forum do a find job of proving that. I certainly suffer from that problem too, as my personal life doesn't offer time to participate in a community. Consequently, I have the most unstructured, crap meditation practice you've ever seen.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:40 pm

I guess to some extent Andrer9999 it depends on whether we want to keep or lose our illusions.
I we want to see all Buddhist teachers and indeed our fellow Buddhists as following the model of the Dalai Lama then we had better restrict ourselves to either only seeing the Dalai Lama or just watching edited videos.
Because if we rub shoulders with most Buddhists and most Buddhist teachers in the flesh we will find that that do not conform to any particular type or style and that metta takes many forms.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby bodom » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:19 pm

Over the years I have met and or learned from a number of teachers in the Theravada,Vajrayana, and Zen traditions.


Unfortunately Peter, I, as I am sure most, have not been as fortunate as you to have had access to a such a wide diversity of meditation teachers. Choosing between this many teachers is a problem I wish I had. Mpst do not have this luxury.

Now, should Buddhist teachers show more uniformity of style ? Should we avoid the ones that we dont find sympatico ? Or should we gravitate towards them as they may be what we need ?.


I would disregard there personality and teaching styles and focus on there teaching instead. Does it conform with the true Dhamma the Buddha taught?

Or should we stay at home and read about them online?


For most practitioners in the west with a family, mouths to feed and bills to pay this might be the only option. Outside of a small local vipasanna meditation group and a teacher i can go to for guidance with my practice,I restrict my practice and studies to the Buddhas own word and the words of the great meditation masters of our time whose words i can only read. My teacher has never told me i must follow him and his teachings alone but to use what works for me. When i run into problems then he is there to advise me but not babysit me.

I often keep in mind Ajahn Chahs words which is what my teacher has also told me:

Q: What about other methods of practice? These days there seem to be so many teachers and so many different systems of meditation that it is confusing.

Answer: It is like going into town. One can approach from the north,from the southeast, from many roads. Often these systems just differ outwardly. Whether you walk one way or another, fast or slow, if you are mindful, it is all the same. There is one essential point that all good practice must eventually come to--not clinging. In the end, all meditation systems must be let go of. Neither can one cling to the teacher. If a system leads to relinquishment, to not clinging, then it is correct practice. You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems.Some of you have already done so. This is a natural desire. You will find out that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own mind can you find our what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually you must return to face your own true nature. Here is where you can understand the Dhamma.


Also to add, the Buddha advises we should find a teacher with insight into the process of Dependent Origination:

At Sāvatthi. " Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is

aging-and-death [maraṇa], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is birth [jāti], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

"Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is existence [habitual tendencies]- [bhava], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is clinging-[upādāna], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is craving-[taṇhā], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is feeling-[vedanā], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is contact-[phassa], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is six sense bases-[saḷāyathana], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

" Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is name-and-form [mentality-materiality]-[nāma-rūpa], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

"Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is consciousness-[viñnāṇa], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

. " Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is volitional formations-[sankhāra], its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is."


Does my teacher possess this insight? I don't know but he is all that I have and am grateful for that.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:32 pm

All it takes to have met lots of teachers Bodom is to be very very old... :(

I have certainly found that ignoring a teachers personality display is the best way to actually hear what they are saying.

:anjali:
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:07 pm

Hello Peter,

These suttas (and others) at this link may be of assistance:

How to choose — and learn from — a teacher: MN 95
A skilled teacher is like a ferry-man: Sn 2.8
How to recognize a teacher: AN 4.192
Three kinds of Dhamma teachers: DN 12
How to teach Dhamma: AN 4.111
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... l#teaching

with metta
Chris
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:35 pm

You are a marvel Chris...

:anjali:
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:46 pm

PeterB wrote:I have certainly found that ignoring a teachers personality display is the best way to actually hear what they are saying.


I agree.

Some people think that enlightenment is some kind of labotomy of the personality, I think if anything the evidence you've seen points to an enhancement or a freeing up of the personality. This is comforting to know but is seperate from the teaching given.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Greetings Peter,

PeterB wrote:Now, should Buddhist teachers show more uniformity of style ? Should we avoid the ones that we dont find sympatico ? Or should we gravitate towards them as they may be what we need ?.
Or should we stay at home and read about them online ?

What do you think ?

I'd be pleased to have any Theravadin Buddhist teachers within a reasonable proximity of myself, let alone whether I found them sympatico or not.

To that end, only the last option is viable in my book, but that doesn't mean it need be a passive relationship. I can and should be challenged by what they say, just as I am by the Buddha in the suttas, and I should feel comfortable to challenge them back if what they're saying doesn't seem consistent with the suttas (being a monk doesn't prevent one from singing from their own hymn sheet). I see perceived inconsistencies as an opportunity for deeper learning and understanding, and therefore do not pave over them in fan-boy awe of their speaker... to me that would not be in accord with the four great references taught by the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. Revering monks as personalities is fertile grounds for the development of sham Dharma and cults - luckily the primacy of the Pali Canon in Theravada provides a good layer of protection against such things.

I suppose not much of that addresses personality though, does it? It's probably because I see such things as a distant second to what they teach and how they use that wisdom to enrich their lives and the lives of their students. Even without meeting someone in person, such things often come across in their words.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:54 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:59 am

Hanzze wrote:Dear friends,

I guess in "traditional" Theravada (maybe it is better to call it the way of the pali canon) there is no such thing as a teacher as all is teaching as it is observed. Learning is what you can take, it is a question of "getting debt".
Your source for such a statement?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby plwk » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:02 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:44 am

:thumbsup:
Thats pretty much it. There is and can be no monoculture in Buddha Dhamma. No one tone. No single expression of what a metta filled post would like like in contrast to what a non metta filled post would look like. Just as teachers online or in the flesh differ greatly in temprament, so do will forum members and (gasp ! ) mods. There are guidelines and they are sensitively used by the mods. Outside of that attempting to usher in a single emotional tone in communication according to any subjective standard is both impossible and in fact highly undesirable. The thought of a forum of would- be Pollyannas fills at least one member with dread.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby alan » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:55 am

The ocean tastes like salt.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:08 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:41 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:09 am

Hanzze wrote:Dear friends,

maybe it is good to work out the question "What grows to a lie?" first.
Edit: ***?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:27 am

What does it even mean ? And having read the thread it links to I am none the wiser.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby andre9999 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:Why?


Don't we have enough people dragging every thread back to their flavor of the month topic? I'd rather not know.
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Re: Different strokes from different folks.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:44 am

andrer9999 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Why?


Don't we have enough people dragging every thread back to their flavor of the month topic? I'd rather not know.
You are quite correct.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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