I need a teacher and a community

Jan 8, 2024

 

QUESTION

Hello dear Venerable Robina,

 

I had a question from today’s Zoom teaching that felt a little too long and personal to raise, and am hoping for your words on this.

 

I live alone these days. I’m content with that. I’m studying as well as I can and practice. I have friends and colleagues, but as I further my Buddhist practices and learning, whilst I love all the people around me, I do feel I’m heading in a direction they don’t understand, although some try.

 

You mentioned the word support today and how important it is to have that, and the lights were flashing for me! I feel I need to be more involved in a community, a center, but there’s nothing anywhere near me.

 

And I think I need a spiritual teacher. I always try and do your Zoom teachings, but I don’t get physical personal contact. If I am choosing a teacher specifically, what should I be looking for? Or can I say you are my teacher as you are the one I feel close to? Or should I be looking above you, at your teachers? A lama?

 

I can see what I’m looking for is more structure. So a teacher where I can say this is my teacher and be clear about that.

 

And also some actual physical contact with others, and I can see that I should connect with Tara being my closest.

 

Do you have any of your pearls of wisdom and knowledge that may shed light on my situation?

 

Thank you so much for all that you do.

 

Kindly,

K

 

ANSWER

I understand, dearest K!

 

Yes, we need connections with mentors/spiritual teachers: we need the encouragement and the inspiration. I find my relationship with my teachers fundamental to my practice. We’ve all got human hearts and we need to nourish them!

 

These days with the internet and Zoom and so forth we can make many connections, which is fantastic. The direct contact, of course, is excellent, but we can still get so much remotely.

 

And it’s we ourselves who choose our teachers: we need to check them carefully, their qualities, their teachings, even their other students. We need to have confidence in them, and this is how to get it. It’s common sense.

 

Some people also like the connection with other practitioners; that’s a personal choice. But, again, because of Zoom, people are finding their community online. It really seems to work! 

 

For example, you can check my schedule – and these days I’m not giving so many teachings – and then go to those classes, no matter what country the center is in. For example, starting in January I will do two Sunday evenings for the Santa Fe, New Mexico center, which is convenient timing for you. They’ve got an excellent program of classes, including 30-minute meditation practice every evening; again good for your time zone. 

 

In other words, you don’t need to go to a center close to you; it can be anywhere online these days!

 

I’ve seen this on Zoom: people connect with a certain center, no matter what part of the world it’s in.

 

So try this yourself. Investigate. 

 

And I’m more than happy to support your practice, K, for sure!

 

It does help to have a bit of a structure, something morning and night. 

 

Much love, K,

Robina

 

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