Author Topic: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?  (Read 3931 times)

mfad

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Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« on: May 26, 2016, 07:43:47 AM »
I will be going on a six month to one year retreat for meditation and was wondering if there was a way to get a meditation teacher?  I have never been to a formal retreat, but I know that a portion of it is dedicated to speaking with a guide that can help you along your journey. 

Is it something that is required or makes progress easier?  Anyone have any incites they can share?

Goofaholix

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2016, 09:42:29 AM »
I will be going on a six month to one year retreat for meditation and was wondering if there was a way to get a meditation teacher?  I have never been to a formal retreat, but I know that a portion of it is dedicated to speaking with a guide that can help you along your journey. 

Is it something that is required or makes progress easier?  Anyone have any incites they can share?

I'm not sure how you expect this six month to one year retreat is going to work but I'd strongly suggest participating in at least one or better many residential group retreats led and taught by a teacher first.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2016, 09:49:30 AM by Goofaholix »

Matthew

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2016, 02:21:17 PM »
Hi mfad,

I see you state your practice as Vipassana - can I ask where you learnt this practice - and what it means to you? When you say you are going on a retreat do you mean you are doing a solo retreat at home or somewhere else where you will be left in quiet? Or is it that you have some arrangement to actually go somewhere for this?

Have you ever spoken with a "real life" teacher? If so whom and how often, also in what circumstances?

Before offering any advice it would be helpful to have a little better understanding of where you are at with all this. I also agree with Goofaholix that you may benefit attending a group retreat with a teacher if that is possible - though I understand your circumstances might mean it is not.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mfad

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2016, 08:23:38 PM »
haha sorry that post did lacked some content and my reasoning behind what I am doing.  Honestly though, I find it hard to put those reasons into words.  At this time, I am about to turn 23, am not tied down to any particular location and thought it would be a perfect time to investigate where this experience might take me. I will be staying at my apartment for the first few months, then family for another one or two before heading to a campsite in California from September to April.  All baring on the fact that progress can be made and it is still the right decision for me.

Earlier this year, I became curious about meditation and decided to dive right into it.  I spent around four hours a day for a little over a month and was able to reach the first Jhana, understand quite a few aspects of my life, and experience after images that would arise in my vision immediately taking me to Jhana or Access Concentration.  I believe that more time and tad more isolation is necessary to adequately explore all avenues.

I ask this question because I have read quite extensively the literature, videos, and articles on the progression of meditation.  The most crucial factor that seems to be expressed in each book is developing your ability to concentrate.  With this - all else follows.  But, I have not spoken to a teacher that has experience and can shed light on how to develop as others have, nor would I know where to find one.

Hopefully, this fills in some of the missing gaps.  Thank you!

Goofaholix

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2016, 09:30:52 PM »
If you are delving into jhanas you definitely need a teacher, it's easy to go off the rails.  If you let us know where you're located we may be able to recommend someone.

Nicky

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2016, 07:35:15 AM »
I spent around four hours a day for a little over a month and was able to reach the first Jhana...

Lots of people talk about 'jhana' on the internet but it is only that, similar to your post, namely (empty) talk or imaginings.

Real 'jhana' is a supernormal state. If you could reach the 1st jhana, you would be a meditation master. You would be teaching us rather than us teaching you.

If you want to meditate, this sutta is enough: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

It is good to stay in a forest monastery, such as here: https://forestsangha.org/community/monasteries/abhayagiri 

 :)

 

mfad

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2016, 09:53:34 AM »
Here are some questions - hopefully someone will be able to answer some of them.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Also, I am from the California area, but will most likely be located in Arizona near the Mexican border for the retreat.  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

1) How does meditation outside effect the Jhana and Access Concentration?  Is Jhana possible in the hot sun or wind?  If you do achieve it - is it technically a harder Jhana because I would presume difficulty is impacted?

2) Walking Meditation and Jhana.  Can you enter the first Jhana while doing walking meditation?  How about with eyes open?  How about with eyes closed?  How about with eyes partly closed?

3) What are the differences between the after image(outline) created when staring at an object for a duration of time and then closing your eyes?  Versus the after image that arises natural within the mind - fractal geometry and almost seemingly random objects that will suddenly materialize when you have your eyes closed?  These objects seem to instantly drop you into access concentration... or are a result of Jhana and access concentration - not sure yet...

4) Necessary information - I have an extremely hard time experiencing both pleasure and happiness(emotional) - so the below might just be a personality trait.

The first jhana - has anyone experienced these variations of it?  Sometimes I will experience total bliss, another time I have experienced no body sensation, but did drop in the first jhana, another time I swear I dropped into Jhana, but experienced pain, another time I experienced a very dull sensation - almost like a bliss sensation that was incomplete.

These are the only things that come to my mind at the moment, but I am sure I have plenty of other questions.

Nicky

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2016, 10:29:14 AM »
Quote
1) How does meditation outside effect the Jhana and Access Concentration?  Is Jhana possible in the hot sun or wind?  If you do achieve it - is it technically a harder Jhana because I would presume difficulty is impacted?

Sun & wind is irrelevant.

Quote
2) Walking Meditation and Jhana.  Can you enter the first Jhana while doing walking meditation?  How about with eyes open?  How about with eyes closed?  How about with eyes partly closed?

I have never heard of jhana while walking. Standing meditation can come close but, when walking, the breath would not calm sufficiently. In 1st jhana, the breath cannot be felt due to it being calmed. As for the eyes - closed.

Quote
3) What are the differences between the after image (outline) created when staring at an object for a duration of time and then closing your eyes?  Versus the after image that arises natural within the mind - fractal geometry and almost seemingly random objects that will suddenly materialize when you have your eyes closed?  These objects seem to instantly drop you into access concentration... or are a result of Jhana and access concentration - not sure yet...

In the 1st jhana, the mind sticks to the image like glue, which is ekaggata. Those shapes & vague lights referred to are not jhana.

Quote
4) Necessary information - I have an extremely hard time experiencing both pleasure and happiness (emotional) - so the below might just be a personality trait.

It is not a personality trait. It is simply not reaching jhana.

Quote
The first jhana - has anyone experienced these variations of it?  Sometimes I will experience total bliss, another time I have experienced no body sensation, but did drop in the first jhana, another time I swear I dropped into Jhana, but experienced pain, another time I experienced a very dull sensation - almost like a bliss sensation that was incomplete.

When jhana is reached, there will be no one single speck of doubt about it. By that time, one will be a meditation master. A meditator sits in jhana for many hours with zero effort.

With metta


Goofaholix

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 09:54:27 PM »
Wit the sorts of questions you are asking I think it's pretty foolish to attempt what you are undertaking to attempt without the guidance of a teacher, asking questions on internet forums is no substitute for a teacher.

In California you are very lucky as you're spoilt for choice, so I don't see why you wouldn't take advantage of this, I don't know about New Mexico though.  Here are a few places you might start looking at finding a teacher...

www.imsb.org/ Shaila Catherine
www.watmetta.org/ Thanissaro
https://www.abhayagiri.org/ Abhayagiri
www.spiritrock.org/ Spirit Rock


mdr

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 08:16:13 AM »
Wit the sorts of questions you are asking I think it's pretty foolish to attempt what you are undertaking to attempt without the guidance of a teacher, asking questions on internet forums is no substitute for a teacher.

In California you are very lucky as you're spoilt for choice, so I don't see why you wouldn't take advantage of this, I don't know about New Mexico though.  Here are a few places you might start looking at finding a teacher...


I agree. I am "conservative" too, i think one needs a teacher, a real life one. If the student is ready, the teacher will appear, even if the student is unlucky with their geo-political location, like i was (imagine a country torn by civil wars, under economic sanctions, bombed by NATO... that was the very time i learned to meditate with a known organization and serious teachers. Sooo, anywahere US in 21st century is a peace of cake imho  ;)

Matthew

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2016, 03:42:25 AM »
You can follow your intuition yet it may lead you astray. You can follow a teacher and they may lead you astray.

If you want to retreat on your own I would not deny this may be a good thing, or something that leads you astray.

Stop labelling experience - it is a form of craving and contradictory to the path and real progress. First Jhana, second Jhana ... it's all meaningless. When you hit the Jhanas you will know without question.

I would suggest you spend three months at a meditation centre in Cali or Thailand and then retreat to a cave or the jungle for six months. If you aren't up for the six months alone, or ready for it, you'll find out in the first three months.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mdr

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2016, 12:57:58 PM »
You can follow your intuition yet it may lead you astray.

You can follow a teacher and they may lead you astray.

If you want to retreat on your own

I would not deny this may be a good thing,

or something that leads you astray.

Stop labelling experience - it is a form of craving
(and)  contradictory to the path and real progress.

First Jhana, second Jhana ... it's all meaningless.

When you hit the Jhanas you will know without question...

Matthew

Wise words, as always coming from Matthew and a beautiful, deep poem in its' own right  :)

Nicky

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2016, 02:22:23 AM »
...If the student is ready...

Well-spoken... ::)

Quote
How to Get Kids Excited about Reading Poetry: Make It Fun!

http://www.poetryteachers.com/poetclass/excitedpoetry.html


Nicky

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Re: Online Teachers - Possible or Necessary?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2016, 02:31:48 AM »
...i think one needs a teacher, a real life one. If the student is ready, the teacher will appear...

For what you are intending to do, a teacher is not needed. The core teachings & practise can be expressed in 3 or 5 words.

 ....



 

 

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