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Is enlightenment possible without a teacher? - Dhamma Wheel

Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Stiphan
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Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:31 pm

Is Nibbana (or at least sotapatti) possible to attain without a teacher or a kalyanamitta?

Individual
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Individual » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:49 pm

Last edited by Individual on Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.
The best things in life aren't things.


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Stiphan
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:58 pm

I mean that I have no access to a monastery, monks, Buddhist teachers, etc. So, is awakening possible for me, or people like me, who have no teacher, however hard we try, in this lifetime?

In other words, is a teacher absolutely necessary for a student to obtain the fruits and the paths?
Last edited by Stiphan on Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Individual
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Individual » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:00 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Stiphan
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:05 pm


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AlaskanDhamma
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby AlaskanDhamma » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:18 pm

Well, didn't the Buddha reach enlightenment by himself after failed attempts to find a teacher?
"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace." -Buddha

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Stiphan
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:38 pm


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David N. Snyder
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:54 pm

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Stiphan
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:17 pm

Thank you Dhamma!

But the question still remains: is nibbana possible without a teacher? I know I can make progress without one, but that's not exactly what I am asking.

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Kare
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Kare » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:35 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

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kc2dpt
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:37 pm

There are those who realize Nibbana without any instruction from a Buddha. Those who then teach others are called sammasambuddha. Those who do not teach are called pattyekabuddha.

Then there are those who realize Nibbana after hearing only a brief teaching from a Buddha or Buddha's disciple.

Then there are those who realize Nibbana only after much instruction from a Buddha or Buddha's disciple.

Then there are those who never realize Nibbana no matter how much instruction they receive from a Buddha or Buddha's disciple.

Which are you? Who can say? Maybe the instructions you have at your disposal (books, videos, audio talks, web forums) will be enough for you to realize Nibbana. Maybe it won't be enough. Who can say? :shrug:
- Peter


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Stiphan
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Stiphan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:43 pm


Individual
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Individual » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:00 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Rhino
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Rhino » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:28 pm

With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.

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Ben
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:11 am

Hi Stefan

I don't think there is any barrier to you attaining sotapanna in this life because you are not physically proximate to a teacher. You have access to the teachings and you have access to online support from monastics and other lay practitioners. So, you've got everything you need. So you just need to apply yourself diligently.
My only suggestion would be try to attend a residential retreat when you can. Its not absolutely necessary but it will be of great assistance in helping you to establish yourself and gain some depth of experience in a meditation object/s.
And I might add that my experience has been that the more mature I have become in my practice, the more self-reliant and independent I have become. So at some point in one's development, the teacher becomes less important.
Metta

Ben
“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

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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zerotime
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby zerotime » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:35 am


mindfullmom
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby mindfullmom » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:13 pm

Hi Stefan,

I have had those very same questions myself. I live in an area where there is no opportunity in close proximity to learn teacher or benefit from a sangha. Well, there is one but I have found out it is not reputable. I have practiced for about three years on my own and have come to realize that much can be accomplished on my own. I think sometimes we box ourselves into the limited idea that we need to pursue the path the way it has been traditionally pursued, ie, with live in-person teachers and support. If the masters of the past had access to a magical "machine" (computer) that had every teaching inside it that they could look at any time of night or day, and could provide them with conversations as well, would they have travelled great distances to find a teacher? I wonder.

Maybe the conditions are not ripe yet for you and I to have live teachers near enough to us but we were fortunate enough to be born in a time and place where we have the internet. :toast:

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kc2dpt
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:52 pm

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was hosting a web forum at http://www.jeta-wood.savatthi.gov/anathapindika. Then a devata who was a former blood-relation of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth IM'd Bahiya thus: "Yur no arahant foo. Email [email protected]." Then Bahiya of the Bark-cloth, profoundly stirred by the IM of that devata, then and there departed from http://www.supparaka.gov/seashore, stopping only to check his bid for a zafu on eBay. At that time a number of bhikkhus were in chat. "The Buddha is AFK," they said.

- Ud 1.10 (sort of)
- Peter


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acinteyyo
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 pm

Hi Stefan,

Ajahn Chah said: "We will come to understand that everything in the world is a teacher."

it may be helpful ;)
best wishes
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Nibbida
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Re: Is enlightenment possible without a teacher?

Postby Nibbida » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:03 am

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