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What will happen to you if you practice Vajrayana with out a teacher on it?

Discussion in 'Vajrayana DIR' started by FashionOfMyLove, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. FashionOfMyLove

    FashionOfMyLove Non-Conformist

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    People seem to make out that something horrible happens to you if you practice Tantra without a teacher as it is esoteric but I have practiced Mahamudra without a teacher on it and nothing negative has happened as a result of it.

    Surely recieving written instructions from books is just as helpful as been given them in person?
     
  2. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    namaskaram :namaste

    the difference between taking instruction from a book and reciving personal instruction is simply that verbal transmition caries with it a blessing to practice , but what is also of utmost importance is that with a qualified teacher to watchover you there is someone to correct you if you are not holding the right understanding ,

    it is not a matter of something bad happening , it is more a matter of if one wishes for ones practice to be fully efective one needs to be taught how it is best practiced .

    it can be dangerous to practice alone without full instruction and guidance , as it is easy to perpetuate missunderstandings , these might act as a hinderance in otherways in ones practice at a later date .

    even those taking initiation into a pratice through group teachings need the backup of a personal teacher who can give guidance where needed .
     
  3. Deva758

    Deva758 Member

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    I think its not so much that something horrible will happen, its just that the practices will not have the effect on you that they would on someone who has a teacher.

    Perhaps someone without a flesh and blood teacher can do guru yoga, but I don't know if it would have quite the same impact.

    Some teachings are restricted also, because they are liable to be misinterpreted by someone who doesn't have a teacher.
     
  4. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    A teacher connects you to an accumulation of knowledge - knowledge about human nature, accumulated over centuries. Particularly, knowledge about the particular teaching and how students typically misunderstand it. Without a teacher, you will just adjust the teaching until it fits what you already believe, and habitually do.
     
  5. StarryNightshade

    StarryNightshade Folk Catholic
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    I often have the same feeling. I'm interested in Shingon, but there are absolutely no teachers or temples near me, so what's the worst that will happen if I practice on my own?

    Honestly? Nothing. Despite what others claim, my psyche is not going to break, my karma is not going to become negative and I will not be in shambles.

    However, like others have said, it's not that you are going to psychologically break, but you won't get the full benefits without a teacher. Kind of like if you want to study physics. You can learn a great deal by learning on your own, but you can learn more from a great teacher.
     
  6. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Hardly. A book does not know you. It can not perceive you and give you feedback. It can not realize and correct any mistakes or misunderstandings that you may be commiting.

    Incidentally, much the same concerns apply to a choice of teacher as well. Not all are truly wise and responsible.

    I don't think the consequences of self-study in Vajrayana are generally meant to be disastrous, but I would not advise it either.

    It may be useful to remind oneself of the duties one has with a tradition and teachers, as well as to make comparisons with the learning of languages. You may do just fine, but then again you may go disastrously and only realize it when you interact with others.
     
    #6 LuisDantas, Sep 3, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  7. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    This ^

    In my experience with a vajrayana teacher, he taught his circle of initiated students for years, and the process involved disabusing his students of all sorts of personal interpretations and biases which were deeply ingrained in them. Many had been students for a long time too, and were well versed in the texts and practices - we may have seemed like 'advanced students' to beginners, but we all required some direct interaction with the lama to expose habitual misunderstandings, even about the fundamentals.

    The lamas are specialists. Within their own milieu they develop insight into the patterns of students, and how to recognise and correct classic misunderstandings. They have the huge resource of the tradition behind them, which has dealt with the stubborn (and subtle) inner tendencies of students for centuries.

    Without a teacher, students will make of the vajrayana what they want it to be, which in some cases is sentimental deity worship, more like hindu bhakti than buddhism - and there is a world of difference between those practices.
     
  8. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    hindu bhaktas also have gurus who perform the same function assuring that their serva (deity worship) is above mere sentiment , ..... which ever dharmic tradition one enters into the function of ones teacher , lama or guru is the same , to remove conditioning and endoctrinated veiws (ignorance), ....and lead the deciple , student or devotee on to
    buddhi :namaste
     
  9. apophenia

    apophenia Well-Known Member

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    If a self-teaching student of Vajrayana treats the visualisation practices as if they are worshiping deities, then they they are not practicing buddhist vajrayana.

    This is where a teacher is necessary.

    You won't find Tibetan teachers suggesting that the student relate to the visualisation practice as if they were practicing bhakti or some other religion.

    Fine if you want to mix it up, but if the aim is to study Vajrayana buddhism according to the tradition, then the teachings of that tradition are what is required.

    Otherwise, why even bother calling it Vajrayana buddhism ? Just call it "Adventures in Imagination".

    The process taught is just that - a process. It is very specific. It has very specific instructions and outcomes. It is not Vajrayana buddhism if practiced as hinduism.

    They are not the same.

    So in answer to the OP question - what will happen if you practice without a teacher is that you will assume you are practicing Vajrayana, when in fact you are just following your own imagination wherever that takes you.
     
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    With any tradition that strongly suggests having a teacher, if you forge on ahead without one, you won't know what could happen until it happens. Thinking something might not happen may be naive. Then it's a big surprise. So best to listen to someone who has already tread the road.
     
  11. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear apophenia , namaskaram :namaste

    I am not sure why you are telling me this ?
    I think you have missed my answer above ....(post 2)

    I think we are saying the same thing a teacher in ones chosen tradition is most certainly needed .


    the remainder of your comments relate to what you belive regarding my practice and do not have any bearing on the original post ....

    please refrain from making assumptions and comenting on my practice when you know very little about it or my history .

    you assume that I am mixing the two which is incorect . if you wish to discuss it in private message I would be perfectly happy to do so .

    I dont think it helps anyone if you keep bringing personal issues into other peoples questions it simply derails their thread and confuses the issue in hand .

    many thanks :namaste
     
  12. Red Zambala

    Red Zambala Member

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    From my experience...:
    1. Mahamudra - it is Vajrayana.
    2. Teacher is absolutely necessary for mantra - initiations.

    3. If you have initiation - you can practice on your own, but better mix it with practicing together with some community and under teacher; although - in most Buddhist communities in west - there rarely is some constant teacher; usually teacher arrives 1-2 days a year, gives initiations and some teachings and later groups do on themselves...

    4. If you are asking about philosophical teachings - you can learn on your own, if - if you are very experienced and with good understanding generally....it's rarely when Lamas themselves actually teach any philosophical staff....
     
  13. Yeshe Dondrub

    Yeshe Dondrub Kagyupa OBT-Thubetan

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    Most schools even laymen require transmission to continue foundational practices to the mahamudra. Don't be surprised if you are asked to start aspects over.

    However. You have to work with your mind. If you are serious, you will take it serious, ask, seek, and guide yourself as much. Blessings/transmissions do not make you more wise. It holds a mirror up.

    Even in Monastic settings, you do not always have personal individual teachings with a Guru, you spend more time in personal practice with other monks.

    You will spend 90% of your time in early refuge doing prostrations, while meditating of the core teachings, holding that view. Don't power drive through it. My teacher once told me, if you want to power prostrate , which is exercise, go take a run down the hill side, this won't do anything for you. I already knew that myself. I simply ignored it.

    Keep this in mind. All you need, you already have. No guru will give it to you, be give you a possible glimpse, and hold a mirror to you to point out aspects. The guide. WHiel taking former refuge, and the transmission is required, you will spend more time working with your own mind, then the guru.
     
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