Also See: Teachers who Realised Anatta

In their journey towards a deeper understanding of nonduality and anatta, individuals frequently face the decision of whether to seek a teacher, guide, engage in one-on-one personal mentorship, participate in coaching programs, or explore other forms of spiritual guidance. This complex and nuanced topic has been extensively discussed in various online platforms, shedding light on the experiences and insights of different practitioners and teachers.

I, Soh, an admin of the Awakening to Reality Facebook group and co-author of AtR, addressed this topic by highlighting the practical challenges of offering mentorship while holding a full-time job. I emphasized that it's difficult to mentor a large community and maintain a separate career unless one decides to dedicate full-time to coaching, which would necessitate charging a fee for survival. This is a path I have chosen not to pursue, preferring to maintain my current career over giving up for full-time spiritual coaching​​.

The conversation extends to different paths within spiritual practice. Some practitioners, like Yin Ling, are inclined towards the Vipassana path, which leads more to nondual and anatta insights. Yin Ling's journey, detailed on the AtR website in the article "6) Nice Advice and Expression of Anatta from Yin Ling and Albert Hong + What is Experiential Insight?", provides valuable insights for those interested in this particular path.

Regarding Dzogchen teachings, Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith stands out as a key figure. He offers teachings and practice instructions through his website,, with a structured fee. You can watch this YouTube video (highly recommended) for an introduction to Acarya Malcolm’s Dzogchen teachings that was recommended by Sim Pern Chong on the AtR group: . Also, some of Malcolm’s writings can be found here . His approach includes regular Zoom sessions and encourages students to email their queries, albeit concisely due to his large student base and other professional responsibilities​​. 

Do watch this talk by Acarya Malcolm Smith:

Similarly, Zen teacher Venerable Jinmyo Osho Renge offers a long-distance training program in Zen, accessible via, which is akin to Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith's approach in terms of structure and fees. You can read some of her articles here and

On Reddit, a user inquired about finding a good nondual coach and guide. In response, I, Soh, referred to teachers like Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith and Zen teacher Venerable Jinmyo Osho Renge, emphasizing that while these teachers do charge for their services, the fees are reasonable considering the support they provide to their communities and temples. I pointed out the importance of finding a practice, community, and teaching that resonates with the individual, rather than seeking quick solutions through one-time sessions. There are of course, many awakened teachers apart from these two that I have mentioned.

The teachings of Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith are particularly recommended for those interested in a deeper understanding of Dzogchen. His approach is structured and includes Dzogchen texts he personally translated, regular teachings and recordings which are also made available through his online platform, and the possibility of personal guidance through email correspondence. This method ensures a comprehensive and structured approach to Dzogchen, accommodating both beginners and advanced practitioners.

For those seeking mentorship or guidance in spiritual practices, the path is not always straightforward. The availability of mentors and the structure of their teachings vary, and fees may be involved. It's crucial to find a path and a teacher that resonate personally, ensuring a sustained and meaningful engagement with the practice. Whether through online platforms, formal teachings, or personal mentorship, the journey towards understanding nonduality and anatta is a deeply personal one, shaped by individual circumstances and commitments.

In addition to the various paths and teachers discussed in the context of spiritual mentorship and guidance, the significance of finding an awakened teacher cannot be overstated. As I, Soh, shared with someone recently, the teachings of the first Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma offer profound insights into this matter.

Bodhidharma, esteemed as the first patriarch of Chan/Zen, marking him as a foundational and transformative figure in the lineage and teachings of this tradition, emphasizes the crucial role of a teacher in the journey towards enlightenment. In his teachings, he states, "To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, being mindful of Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are not equal to it. Being mindful of Buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good intelligence; keeping precepts results in a good rebirth in heavens, and making offerings results in future blessings — but no buddha. If you don’t understand by yourself, you’ll have to find a teacher to know the root of births and deaths. But unless he sees his nature, such a person isn’t a good teacher. Even if he can recite the twelve groups of scriptures he can’t escape the Wheel of Births and Deaths. He suffers in the three realms without hope of release. Long ago, the monk Good Star was able to recite the twelve groups of scriptures. But he didn’t escape the Wheel, because he didn’t see his nature. If this was the case with Good Star, then people nowadays who recite a few sutras or shastras and think it’s the Dharma are fools. Unless you see your own Heart, reciting so much prose is useless.

To find a Buddha have to see your nature directly. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who’s free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don’t see your nature and run outwards to seek for external objects, you’ll never find a buddha. The truth is there’s nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a good teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand. Life and death are important. Don’t suffer them in vain.

There’s no advantage in deceiving yourself. Even if you have mountains of jewels and as many servants as there are grains of sand along the Ganges, you see them when your eyes are open. But what about when your eyes are shut? You should realize then that everything you see is like a dream or illusion. If you don’t find a teacher soon, you’ll live this life in vain. It’s true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher you’ll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help. If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn’t need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you’re so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you’ll understand.

People who don’t understand and think they can do so without study are no different from those deluded souls who can’t tell white from black.” Falsely proclaiming the Buddha-Dharma, such persons in fact blaspheme the Buddha and subvert the Dharma. They preach as if they were bringing rain. But theirs is the preaching of devils not of Buddhas. Their teacher is the King of Devils and their disciples are the Devil’s minions. Deluded people who follow such instruction unwittingly sink deeper in the Sea of Birth and Death.

Unless they see their nature, how can people call themselves Buddhas they’re liars who deceive others into entering the realm of devils. Unless they see their nature, their preaching of the Twelvefold Canon is nothing but the preaching of devils. Their allegiance is to Mara, not to the Buddha. Unable to distinguish white from black, how can they escape birth and death?

Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha; whoever doesn’t is a mortal. But if you can find your buddha-nature apart from your mortal nature, where is it? Our mortal nature is our Buddha nature. Beyond this nature there’s no Buddha. The Buddha is our nature. There’s no Buddha besides this nature. And there’s no nature besides the Buddha."

Also See: Teachers who Realised Anatta

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