By Swami Nirmalananda
If you were studying Zen, you’d look for a Roshi. In Tibetan Buddhism, the teachers is often a lama, even a Rinpoche, who is a reincarnation of a previously recognized lama. In Theravada Buddhism (aka Mindfulness Meditation), the root teachers are honored by the title Ajahn, a monk who is a teacher in the forest tradition of Burma.
In yoga-based meditation, for the deepest teachings and fastest progress toward enlightenment, you study with a Swami, a yoga-monk. As a student, you get benefit from any teacher who is ahead of you on the path, but you get the most from the teacher who has gone the deepest. A swami is one who has dedicated their life to Self-Realization, commonly called enlightenment.
Mainstream lifestyle focuses on family, wealth, beauty, sexuality and peer pressure, well depicted in media. Monks are people who say, “Been there, done that,” whether it…
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