Protea
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THE IMPORTANCE OF A TEACHER

Created On: 2015-04-09 12:07:34
Living in a small village in a predominantly Christian country that has few Buddhist communities, finding and studying with a teacher seemed impossible and far out of my reach.
I had been on the path for a few years, feeding myself with knowledge wherever I came across it. Trying to do as best I could with the options available to me at the time, which was reading books and searching the internet. There is a maze of information out there, and often it left me more confused and bewildered than anything else. It became a little easier eventually as I had found a Buddhist tradition that I felt comfortable with and wanted to pursue, that narrowed it down a bit.
But then at some point, it all came to a halt when it dawned on me that I actually was not getting anywhere, there was no progress. There was this persistent feeling of something I was not getting, despite all the reading, contemplation and meditation. Something very subtle but profound I felt, was eluding me. At some stage this was so frustrating that I even tried rejecting to whole idea, but I guess I had already reached the point of no return by then.

There was so much longing, and it was that longing sustained me.

Maybe I needed to read that chapter once again or maybe if I meditated longer. Yes, there were moments of clarity or glimpses, moments of awareness of being infinitely connected with everything. But now what? I still didn’t know.
This is when I came to remember a discussion with a friend a few months ago. He had mentioned knowing someone that had been studying and practicing as a monk in the East for some years.
This surely sounded too good to be true.

Looking back and reflecting on the changes that have taken place in my practice and life since meeting with my teacher, there are many.
Mostly that he has opened the door for me. The door to understanding, getting to the roots you may say, of that which had eluded me earlier. It was no longer only on the intellectual level, but rather experiencing through practice. Applying in practice the teachings I received of him. The path to understanding is gradual and it often feels like one step forward and two back. Not always will I grasp the meaning behind his words immediately. Here the experience and knowledge of the teacher is invaluable. He will recognize the place you are at and try again and again until you finally get it.
I still find myself trying to intellectualize, but if you do not contemplate and experience the meaning of the teachings it will get you nowhere. You have to practice to experience. As my teacher would say to me: ”keep it simple, just let be, everything is already as it should be”.

Generally we are so busy with living our lives outside of ourselves that we hardly ever touch home base.
We think we are in tough with our emotions. We laugh, are sad, love, or are indifferent. But usually when we are happy we want more, when we are sad we want less. Rarely do we accept our emotions at face value, just for what they are, acknowledge them, look at them and then to let them be and dissolve into themselves.
We look so much out there, that we don’t take notice of the subtle underlying awareness. This to me was quite profound. He had said those words before, but suddenly one day, it became clear.

Working with a teacher involves complete trust, which can be difficult and challenging for us westerners. You will dismantle deep-rooted believes of your “self”, which can be deeply distressing and even cause anguish. Like dismantling a stone structure brick by brick, layer for layer stripped bare right down to the core.
For me, a beginner on this path, there is very little resemblance with the pictures of nuns and monks with serene smiles and quiet demeanor, at least not for the moment. To achieve that kind of state takes work, real hard work into places one normally seriously tries to avoid. And this cannot be done without the proper guidance and support of a teacher.
Buddhism is not for the fainthearted, but if you can stick it out with trust, faith and devotion the rewards will no doubt be mind shattering.

For those still searching, it may seem difficult accomplishing the favourable conditions to find your teacher. Nevertheless, don’t lose heart for there is truth in the saying: “if your wish is strong enough and the time is right, you will meet your teacher”.

It is with much gratitude to the patience and kindness of my teacher, that I can write this.


Protea

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Protea

Protea
Created On: 2015-05-08 03:48:14
Edited By Protea On: 2015-05-08 03:53:40

Prayer to invoke the presence of the lama

"O lama, care for me!
From the blossoming lotus of devotion,
at the centre of my heart,
Rise up, O compassionate lama, my only refuge!
I am plagued by past actions and turbulent emotions:
To protect me in my misfortune
Remain as the jewel-ornament on the crown of my head,
the chakra of great bliss,
Arousing all my mindfulness and awareness,
I pray!"
- Jigme Lingpa


Protea

Protea
Created On: 2015-01-07 11:49:16

Faith
The Great Master of Oddiyana says:
For all men and women with faith in me,
I Padmasambhava
have never departed - I sleep beside their door.
For me there is no such thing as death;
Before each person with faith, there is a Padmasambhava.