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Teacherlessness

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There was a thread in our Intro to Buddhism class site about what to do if you don’t have access (or at least easy access) to a teacher, if you’re a relatively new and relatively serious practitioner.   There's no doubt that it's important to be in contact with teachers from time to time, for inspiration, connectedness, and lineage, and for checking in with questions or to make sure understanding is correct.  This is difficult of course when there are no teachers readily available; but that can be viewed in different ways.  If it's our karma to be teacherless for now, so to speak, we may be inspired to study extra hard – this is especially the case when there are others around us who look to us for teaching!   If that happens, we get extra responsibility that we may not have looked for, and that forces us to try to be awake even when we might not really want to be.  When we are far from a teacher, vacations could often mean travelling to a dharma center for a program, in lieu of, as Chogyam Trungpa would say, "lying in the dirt" (there weren't any beaches in Tibet, so I suppose he didn't really appreciate them) -- and if we have the time and inclination, maybe spending a solid block of time in a dharma center.  Of course the fact that we can participate in an on-line course with IDP is a tribute to Ethan and the IDP in reaching out to the far-flung, and can alleviate at least some of the longing that our isolated ancestors 40 years ago who didn't have the internet must have felt when they yearned for a teacher.  So appreciating what we do have, and then deciding what we need to do to work with our and others' spiritual longing (short-term and long-term), are useful ways to work with teacherlessness. 

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