I have seen people beeing adviced to find a teacher countless time.
I am interessed in the practicalities of finding a teacher, since I live in France and I have never met any buddhist in my entire life.
I assume in other countries where buddhism is more widespread things are a lot different. Please excuse the naivety of my question.
What is a teacher ?
Is it the kind of person who owns of diploma or certification and teaches for a living, like one whould teach maths, history or biology in high school ?
So finding a teacher would be like attenting a class ?
Or is it more like finding a mentor, somebody who is more exerienced and who whould guide you along the path, like a friend.
Perhaps it is a mixture of both, a person who provides advices for a living by having face to face chats with it's pupils.
I can imagine the concept beeing more abstract. A teacher can be a book, or a community on the internet.
Knowing that, where do I need to go in order to find teachers ?
Are there places buddhist like to meet, like churchs for christians ? People often mention retreats or retreat centers, what are they ?
Do I need to travel to India or Tibet ? Judging from what I've heard, it seems like a must.
Please note that I am not intersted about the question of finding the right teacher, for now I just want to find teachers.