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What teachers of Buddhist meditation can guide students skillfully? I mean, teachers who are lay or monastic, teachers who are alive, teachers who have died but left skillful dhamma works to guide students and teachers of any tradition that follow the Buddha's words from the three baskets.

*I am basically asking about teachers that might not be we'll known but the few students that do know always praise the teacher's approach as skillful.


Edited from:

It seems there are some great and unique meditation teachers out there that aren't as popular as some teachers, possibly because they shunned publicity, didn't allow teachings to be recorded, lived far from the world in hard to get to places and so on. . So the questions are:

1- What tends to be the differences between the more charismatic or popular teachers and the less known but master teachers? 2-What hard to find master teachers of Buddhist meditation are out there and what is there approach to teaching? Thank you :) It seems there are some great and unique meditation teachers out there that aren't as popular as some teachers, possibly because they shunned publicity, didn't allow teachings to be recorded, lived far from the world in hard to get to places and so on. . So the questions are:

1- What tends to be the differences between the more charismatic or popular teachers and the less known but master teachers? 2-What hard to find master teachers of Buddhist meditation are out there and what is there approach to teaching?

Thank you :)

  • First, welcome to Buddhism.SE :) Second, could you provide examples of the situation you observe? Third, questions that include language like "tends" and "are out there" are difficult to answer. Fourth, you are trying to ask several (related) questions at once, which makes this also difficult to answer. Can you simplify this to ask what you really want to know in a single, (relatively) straightforward question? – yuttadhammo Oct 31 '14 at 23:00
  • I think there is merit in asking about meditation teachers. It would be most helpful if you could specify if you want historical information or are you trying to locate a living meditation teacher. If you are trying to find someone that shuns publicity and is not interested in having a herd of followers, it is unlikely such a teacher would let themself be found. – soulsings Oct 31 '14 at 23:51
  • @yuttadhammo It Always gives my practice strength to hear from you. I finally reedited the question.I hope it is OK now. Is there a FAQ for "Area 51 Buddhism"? Thank You so much Bhante 😊 – Lowbrow Dec 26 '14 at 17:33
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    Hmm, this could be a "soft question"/"list" and community wiki? – Gottfried Helms Dec 26 '14 at 20:41
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As far as my curiosity managed to spread to far, I think Ajaan Fuang is a great example. Not much is known about him except for a few transcribed talks and some quotes here and there, and some stories told by his students of their experiences with him.

One thing I remember about him, as far as being different goes, was that one time some Thai Monk Magazine (or something along those lines) went after him, trying to get an interview. When he heard about this, he avoided them at all cost. Finally they managed to pin him down somewhere, and asked him, "Could you give us a dhamma talk?" His response was, "Yes. Today's dhamma talk is one word: 'buddho.' If you can't keep this in mind, there really isn't any point in my telling you anything else."

Another great quote is,

If I have to explain everything, you'll get used to having things handed to you on a platter. And then what will you do when problems come up in your meditation and you don't have any experience in figuring things out on your own?

I highly recommend the book Awareness Itself available for free at DhammaTalks.org.

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    Ajaan Fuang is the teacher that sparked this question, I thought that he can't be the only one. Thanks – Lowbrow Dec 27 '14 at 16:14
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When looking for a skilful teacher you have to look at:

  • Instructions
  • Teaching

Instructions

  • easily understandable
  • easily actionable without abstraction or philosophy
  • theory backed by practice - Dhamma is to be realised at the experimental level. If there is too much theoretical teaching which is not matched with practical experience this will be a issue as your understanding will be flawed

Teaching

  • Teaching should be traced backed to the Suttas
  • Should be taught through what has been practice and experienced
  • Should deal with the following in some stage of advice:
    • Calming the fabrications - actionable and practical instruction to do so
    • Being equanimous to sensations with the understanding of its true nature
    • Practical and actionable way to reduce perception / view as means to calm the creation of fabrications
    • Analysis of mind and matter, aggregates, faculties with a view to understand and clam the fabrications
    • Develop understanding of cause and effect
    • Identify fabrications, how they are created and how they dissolve
  • I don't know... when I think I should have observed all this when I began to contact with the buddhism (sangha and literature) I could not have done a single step forward. How should I have discerned that a teaching conforms to the suttas or not before knowing them? A single example only: actually I've overcome my scepticism against misleading because of completely "external" reasons, for instance because I could read about Thich Nhat Hanh and his peaceful practice in the Vietnam war - and that met my (already relatively matured) own pacifism. After that I could proceed and check him. – Gottfried Helms Dec 27 '14 at 11:17
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    You can check Anapanasati Sutta and Maha Sathipatana Sutta and some other selected Suttas. But this is one of least important of the items. What you should see is what your are taught a way to experience what is been taught. By practice you experience is what is been taught is in fact in line with reality. The key is way and method to experience and empirical verification. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 27 '14 at 12:25
  • By learning a bit about them. At least the above 2 are a must. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 27 '14 at 17:04
  • @Gottfried Helms Some teachers won't say much about the suttas. They rarely talk about the Dhamma. Instead, these teachers will guide you to focus on your experience. They know that one's own direct experience is the best teacher of Dhamma. Just to make it clear, this approach is in harmony with the Pali Suttas – Lowbrow Dec 27 '14 at 17:40
  • @user535875: after the remark "Some teachers won't say much about the suttas" how should one interpret Suminda's criterion: "Teaching should be traced backed to the Suttas" ... and so on... When I try to remember how I felt as a "newbie": that was just left on my own, if you understand what I mean. Twenty doctors, everyone critizising the other one, and I'm dying before getting medicine - and whom of all of them can I trust... and I should decide who is the correct one , this was really rude and its still the same today... – Gottfried Helms Dec 27 '14 at 22:51

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