Ben wrote:To be honest, "required" is not a word I would use. I apologise if it appears I am eel-wriggling.
That's OK, I know it's not necessarily a simple yes or no question.
Ben wrote:I have seen some people excel on their own but I have seen many more who, in the absence of teacher or retreat, misunderstanding something and develop a wrong view to which they become very attached. That is where I think the problem lies (from my perspective at least). And I believe for those people it may have been better just to concentrate on dana, sila and pariyatti than attempt meditation without support.
That sounds reasonable.
Ben wrote:I also recognize that some people may not be proximate to a meditation centre and teacher and that their only access to meditation practice is via CD or book. In such a case I would recommend that they make contact with people who are experiencd in the meditation practice one is doing who are willing to be their practice "buddies" and be ok with answering questions.
Would you consider the people on this forum to meet that requirement? I know no other Buddhist practitioners in my town, though I'm sure there must be some.
Well, I did meet one person last year who said he was a Buddhist after he heard me tell someone else I was studying it. I was certainly surprised because he had been spouting off all kinds of ego-centric, self-promoting stuff all evening. He proceeded to tell me I should meditate on drawing in negative energy from the world and "transforming" it into positive energy or something like that.
I told him I already had more than enough negativity of my own to transform thank you very much.