Leere Wolke - Zenlinie Willigis Jäger
Verzeichnis der Lehrenden

Teacher-student-relationship Print

The companion on the journey can be compared with a mountain guide helping the inexperienced to climb a mountain. There is something good about having an experienced companion on our spiritual journey, especially as we often overestimate ourselves.


Dogen Zenji is a lot more radical here, only having trust in someone able to prove an accepted line of succession. "In order to maintain or to pass on the teaching of the Buddha, it is necessary to have a teacher who has received the seal of authority. A scholar who appreciates just the literal sense, is useless as a master - he is like a blind man leading a blind man."(Shobogenzo)


In the teacher-student relationship, we need always to remain aware of the danger of transference and countertransference. Former relation patterns such as father-son or mother-daughter relations can become reactivated. Affective needs can also be shifted to a spiritual level. There is sometimes a threat of the relationship to the teacher becoming clinging, or used as a defence.

For some people the relationship is too intimate, for others it is not intimate enough.


A further danger lies in the tendency to worship a master. Masters are often put on a pedestal, being idealised, and with every word they say being lapped up without question. What really characterises a master is the insight which they have achieved through long practice and the associated experience. A true master is someone who only awakens in other people that was is already there. The student must aspire to establish contact with this level of the master, continuing until the two – teacher and student – become one in mind and spirit. To travel this road requires trust on both sides.


To become a student, one starts by practising Zazen, then going on to experience Teishos and Dokusan with a few different teachers, and thereby getting a feeling for Zen. Anyone then wanting to establish an individual teacher-student relationship chooses a master or teacher and asks him or her to accompany him / her.


At the Benediktushof in Holzkirchen, the home of our Zen lineage, all practitioners are welcome to come and take part in Zazen and Dokusan, irrespective of whether they are true students.


Order Course Booklet

Here you can order or download our course booklet 2011.


The course booklet is only available in german.


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