Is it necessary to have a confirmed master to evolve in the way?

Dear Doctor,
I started reading books on Buddhism at the age of 15, it always brought me a lot of understanding, calming and also meditation techniques that I experimented alone. Five years ago, I started zazen meditation with Marc de Smedt, and I immediately felt that it was for me. It's been a year that I practice daily, but alone, because I moved to the countryside. Is it necessary to have a confirmed master to evolve in the way? THANKS.

Doctor Dinh Hy Trinh: Dear Madam,

This is a tricky question, and I think views may vary between Buddhist schools. Some, like those of Vajrayana, whose teaching can be partly esoteric, or of Chan (Zen) whose teaching would be transmitted "directly, from heart to heart", would advise, I believe, to follow a master rather than to manage alone. In the original teaching of the Buddha, this one insists on the contrary on the personal effort, as it was reported in the Sutra of the Great Extinction (Mahaparinibbana): "When I am no longer there, remain by making the Dhamma your own island (dipa), your own refuge, but nothing else. Remain making yourself your island, your refuge, but no one else's”. The master is there to guide the disciple, but it is up to him to walk the Way.

In your particular case, who has already studied Buddhism for a long time and practiced meditation regularly, I am not sure that you would need another master ("confirmed" you say, but how and by whom can he be " confirmed”?). Follow what you feel, it is deep inside you that you will find the answer.

Best wishes !

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