Raising questions

A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 3:22 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 3:21 PM

Raising questions

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
There has been this interesting thing I have noticed while interacting on this forum. For whatever reason when I raise questions about my practice or otherwise, I always get a kind of guilt feeling that says "you know you really are just wasting your time because this isn't going to help you in any ultimate sense."

When asking questions in person at retreat centers or to my local teacher, this phenomenon is more pronounced, and (especially with my Tibetan teacher). It as actually got to the point where I will ask the latter questions via text and he will not respond at all (for a while he would just give curt responses, at the beginning lengthier responses), so I have given up on such questions as I kind of feel deep down they are meaningless.

So, taking this in mind, another thing I have noticed is that when I respond to other peoples questions (typically having to do with stream entry and the territory just beyond it for whatever reason), I often adopt the same kind of dismissive (albeit hypocritical) attitude that questions are unhelpful and thus have to be very careful that I am not being overly arrogant.

On the flip side of this, I have a habit of trolling through the archives here and trying to grasp the practices of others and how they describe it, ask for assistance. One thing I have noticed is some really praise the value of teachers, guidance, and technique.

From my vantage point, when someone says "you could really benefit from a one-on-one teacher relationship" I read it as "please fuck off," not because I don't value and respect those elder brothers of the dharma, but because I have never had an interaction with someone who "seemed enlightened" that left me with the sense that some kind of teaching or learning had taken place. Once while on retreat a senior monk asked me how I was doing and I replied "learning alot." In hindsight this seems like a smart ass thing to say as I didn't really believe in what I was saying.

I guess the question I would ask, is if there are people on this forum who really feel like when they ask questions they are learning something, or conversely, if giving advice they feel like they are actually teaching something.

I am not exactly sure what I am asking here, or why it is important, but its a burning question nonetheless.
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Jake , modified 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 3:58 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 3:58 PM

RE: Raising questions

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
huh, neat question...
When pressing questions come up for me in my practice, often as soon as I can formulate the question clearly I feel as if I know the answer already and just need to follow up on that in my practice. (In retrospect, it seems as if all my questions have always boiled down to some kind of either/or which was contrived anyway; and the answer has always been to shift into a both/and mode). So in some strange way I can relate to the discomfort around asking teachers questions. Basically the good answers seem to point me back at clarifying the method I'm using, and/or clarifying the assumptions I am bringing to the method and other aspects of my life... clarifying 'view', i.e.

When responding to others' questions, I suppose I should take the above as advice, and try to clearly address either a point of method or a point of 'view'. I've never really thought that through, thanks.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 4:02 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/17/13 4:02 PM

RE: Raising questions

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
huh, neat question...
When pressing questions come up for me in my practice, often as soon as I can formulate the question clearly I feel as if I know the answer already and just need to follow up on that in my practice. (In retrospect, it seems as if all my questions have always boiled down to some kind of either/or which was contrived anyway; and the answer has always been to shift into a both/and mode). So in some strange way I can relate to the discomfort around asking teachers questions. Basically the good answers seem to point me back at clarifying the method I'm using, and/or clarifying the assumptions I am bringing to the method and other aspects of my life... clarifying 'view', i.e.

When responding to others' questions, I suppose I should take the above as advice, and try to clearly address either a point of method or a point of 'view'. I've never really thought that through, thanks.


I agree with what jake said here. It's been the case with me.
Roger that, modified 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 12:44 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 12:44 AM

RE: Raising questions

Posts: 10 Join Date: 4/8/13 Recent Posts
No,

To answer your question, I highly doubt that there is any reason for asking or answering questions. The reason being that anyone with even a modicum of intelligence who can fathom this Dhamma, then can discern what the task to be done is. At that point there is no further reason for conversation. There really is nothing to talk about, only something to do.
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 8:20 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 8:20 AM

RE: Raising questions

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
A D R:
From my vantage point, when someone says "you could really benefit from a one-on-one teacher relationship" I read it as "please fuck off," not because I don't value and respect those elder brothers of the dharma, but because I have never had an interaction with someone who "seemed enlightened" that left me with the sense that some kind of teaching or learning had taken place.


I suspect I may have made that suggestion to you at one point, and I definitely didn't mean to say 'fuck off.' It's just that kind of misunderstanding that prompts me to think a lot of us would be better off with teachers than asking questions on forums. Not only will you get multiple - often conflicting - answers from posts, but it's likely they're written poorly, or ambiguously, or that you'll misread them through your own filters. Half the discussions I have here immediately turn into debates about what was said, even though it's written right there. It's not a great medium for clarity, alas.

Maybe you're expecting too much from teachers? Like some kind of magical transmission? If you get a clear instruction on how to practice, just follow it. Suspend your disbelief.

Personally, I appreciate your questions, and I've been rooting for you. It's true that in most cases the answer to most questions is "practice!" On the other hand sharing your experiences and getting input is invaluable and that's why we're all here. The self-examination and awareness reflected in your post is evidence of the benefit.

I guess the question I would ask, is if there are people on this forum who really feel like when they ask questions they are learning something, or conversely, if giving advice they feel like they are actually teaching something.


To the first part, yes. I've learned a lot. To the second part: when giving advice I feel like I'm also learning, mostly to stop giving advice. emoticon
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fivebells , modified 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 10:41 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/18/13 10:41 AM

RE: Raising questions

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Welcome back, James.

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