Originally posted by robbie carrobie
If you are going to practice Zen seriously, do you need a master or can you practice by yourself.
I believe at some stage you do need direct attention from a decent master. (btw 'master' refers to self mastery , not mastering pupils)
But everyone is different.
Some have been fortunate enough to just read a few words from a master which can instantly put them on the right path (or even better), others need many years attention from a master to keep the pupil on the right path.
For me it went like this :
I wanted very much to goto Japan and join a monastary. I really felt strongly about it at a time in my life when me, my lady and our young girl were living in a very remote country area, with very little contact with others unless we wanted to initiate it by ourselves by travelling the 15 km to town.
Long story short, I started meditating daily and often picturing me walking upto the gates of a Japanese Zen monastary. After a few months of meditation I got some sort of message. It was not like telepathy but more like my own mind telling me ,in a very direct and clear way, that I should stay in Australia.
I felt that when I got to the gates the master would prolly just tell me that I'm more needed here, and better at communicating my insights to the people and society I was already used to.
Since then I have been in no doubt about where my place should be, and true masters have an uncanny knack of showing up just when you need them .