How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:37 am

ignobleone wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:ignobleone,
I think we do 'get it' but you don't, i.e. we understand exactly what we are saying but you have misunderstood or are not willing to accept it.

Hi Kim,
You both don't 'get it' since you both have misunderstood, not me. I haven't delivered my main message, yet you both think as if I have nothing more to say. I used the title of the thread for an entry point to the discussion of my main message. We'll get into this.

ignobleone,
You started the thread with a question. We answered it. That's the way we usually operate round here.
If you didn't want an answer, you were being deliberately misleading or playing games. That's not the way we usually operate round here.
If you know the truth - or just think you do - please put it in front of us as clearly and simply as you can.

:juggling:
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby ignobleone » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:05 pm

retrofuturist wrote:You've mentioned saddha a few times... aka faith/conviction - so what do you regard as the object of saddha?
A teacher? The Buddha? The Sangha? The Dhamma? All of the above?

Hi retrofuturist,
Buddhists always chant Vandana and Tisarana. This should answer your question.

... or faith/conviction in general?... or the experience of faith/conviction?

Conviction in general is clear by itself. But if you say: conviction in The Buddha, conviction in The Dhamma, conviction in The Sangha (you mention it in different sequence,) they are different.
Regarding "the experience of faith/conviction", I'm not sure what you mean. But there's one thing I can say. For me personally, conviction in The Sangha in a way helps my conviction in The Dhamma (but you may interpret it differently.)
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Moderator note and warning: There will be no more of this sort of inappropriate speech in this thread:

Good luck with your ignorance!

Be polite with each other, please.
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: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:49 pm

What is your point, ignoble one?

A standard question will get a standard (general) answer. ;)

The only way to specifically assess a meditation teacher, as taught by the Buddha:

  • examine mind with mind
  • examine by eye and ear
  • defiled & undefiled (noble) states
  • results (seeing for oneself)

:ugeek:
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby ignobleone » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:13 pm

nibbuti wrote:What is your point, ignoble one?

A standard question will get a standard (general) answer. ;)

The only way to specifically assess a meditation teacher, as taught by the Buddha:

  • examine mind with mind
  • examine by eye and ear
  • defiled & undefiled (noble) states
  • results (seeing for oneself)

:ugeek:

The point is: "do you investigate what your teachers have told you?"
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:27 pm

ignobleone wrote:The point is: "do you investigate what your teachers have told you?"

I do investigate what the Buddha has told and resulting states (dhamma).

Investigation (vicaya) it is part of enlightenment factors (bojjhanga).

Do you?

:)
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:01 am

ignobleone wrote:The point is: "do you investigate what your teachers have told you?"


I investigate body.
I investigate feeling.
I investigate mind.
I investigate dhammas.

Generally speaking this is the main thrust of what my teachers tell me to do.

To investigate whether I should be investigating what they tell me to investigate could invite infinite levels of regression, but sure it's a good to be able to reference these kinds of instructions back to scripture.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby ignobleone » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:56 am

Goofaholix wrote:
ignobleone wrote:The point is: "do you investigate what your teachers have told you?"


I investigate body.
I investigate feeling.
I investigate mind.
I investigate dhammas.

Generally speaking this is the main thrust of what my teachers tell me to do.

To investigate whether I should be investigating what they tell me to investigate could invite infinite levels of regression, but sure it's a good to be able to reference these kinds of instructions back to scripture.

To give an example of investigation: suppose a jhana teacher says that jhana is indicated by blah-blah-blah, then you should find somewhere in the suttas that blah-blah-blah is explicitly mentioned as an indication of jhana.
Simple, there's no infinite levels of regression.
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:49 am

ignobleone wrote:To give an example of investigation: suppose a jhana teacher says that jhana is indicated by blah-blah-blah, then you should find somewhere in the suttas that blah-blah-blah is explicitly mentioned as an indication of jhana.
Simple, there's no infinite levels of regression.


Or you could realise that experience is experience and jhana is a label for it, not to see to attach to labels or develop concepts around what the experience of those labels may be like.

As you probably know different teachers have different criteria for what they label jhana, this doesn't necessarily mean that some are right and some are wrong rather points to jhana being and evolving process rather than a single event.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:06 am

Hi ignobleone,
ignobleone wrote:To give an example of investigation: suppose a jhana teacher says that jhana is indicated by blah-blah-blah, then you should find somewhere in the suttas that blah-blah-blah is explicitly mentioned as an indication of jhana.
Simple, there's no infinite levels of regression.

I think that it is important to work out things for oneself, which means trying things, not just listening to words and reading texts.

Of course, if a teacher seems to be talking complete nonsense I'll just walk away, but if a teacher is legitimate I think that it is important to listen very carefully with an open mind.

If I'm working with a teacher, what I do is to follow his/her instructions during the retreat, or over a longer period, listen carefully what she/he says, discuss my progress, and so on.

Later, I'll make some comparisons with suttas and ancient and modern commentary, to put it into perspective. And generally it fits into the suttas, but sometimes not in the way that I expected. So I learned something new.

My experience is that when I have approach working with a teacher with the idea of challenging her/his instructions and interpretations from the start, I don't learn anything, and I just waste my time.



:anjali:
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:03 am

I think that it is important to work out things for oneself, which means trying things, not just listening to words and reading texts.

Of course, if a teacher seems to be talking complete nonsense I'll just walk away, but if a teacher is legitimate I think that it is important to listen very carefully with an open mind.

If I'm working with a teacher, what I do is to follow his/her instructions during the retreat, or over a longer period, listen carefully what she/he says, discuss my progress, and so on.

Later, I'll make some comparisons with suttas and ancient and modern commentary, to put it into perspective. And generally it fits into the suttas, but sometimes not in the way that I expected. So I learned something new.

My experience is that when I have approach working with a teacher with the idea of challenging her/his instructions and interpretations from the start, I don't learn anything, and I just waste my time.


:goodpost:
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby ignobleone » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:57 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
I think that it is important to work out things for oneself, which means trying things, not just listening to words and reading texts.

Of course, if a teacher seems to be talking complete nonsense I'll just walk away, but if a teacher is legitimate I think that it is important to listen very carefully with an open mind.

If I'm working with a teacher, what I do is to follow his/her instructions during the retreat, or over a longer period, listen carefully what she/he says, discuss my progress, and so on.

Later, I'll make some comparisons with suttas and ancient and modern commentary, to put it into perspective. And generally it fits into the suttas, but sometimes not in the way that I expected. So I learned something new.

My experience is that when I have approach working with a teacher with the idea of challenging her/his instructions and interpretations from the start, I don't learn anything, and I just waste my time.


:goodpost:

practice + practice [+practice+...] = uninstructed run-of-the-mill
text study + practice [+practice+...] = practice rightly

Some people can see, some people can't. Let it be.
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Re: How to assess meditation teacher quality/worthiness?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:54 pm

Greetings,

ignobleone wrote:practice + practice [+practice+...] = uninstructed run-of-the-mill
text study + practice [+practice+...] = practice rightly

That's one way of putting it, however (after having done text study 8-) ) I think it's not "text study" per se that is the necessary ingredient, but Right View.

AN 10.121 wrote:Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states.

For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up.

MN 117 wrote:"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view...

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view."

It just happens to be that the suttas are an excellent source upon which to develop Right View. I wholeheartedly recommend them, but similarly, Right View can be gained from listening to a good teacher... which is evident when you consider those who learned directly from the Buddha, and what many of them achieved under his guidance.

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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