Off to the Mountains

We often see new Buddhists, or old Buddhists who have not studied much dharma, getting ahead of themselves and making plans to run off to the mountains. This shows a lack of understanding and experience of dharma. In order to practise alone in solitude, and to be able to practice properly, we must have first recognised the nature of our mind. And for most people this takes many years of sitting at the feet of an authentic lama receiving daily personal instruction. Even if we haven’t fully ascertained the nature of mind, we must have at least trained in the way of studying and analysing thoughts and mind, such that we are able to continue with this by ourselves. Until that time we must continue to stay with the lama.

The very best case scenario is that we stay with the lama until we can even maintain meditation during deep sleep; it goes without saying that at that point we can maintain meditation while awake during the day. So we now know how to meditate and practise and no longer need to stay with the lama because we are able to integrate all our activities and meditation. Although the second scenario – where one has studied and trained under the close guidance of a lama but not yet recognised the nature of mind – is workable, it is a much slower path.

To act on naive notions of doing the advanced practices without having first studied and trained in the dharma is utter folly. But if we do things properly, in their correct order at the right time, we will not waste time and in the end achieve a very meaningful result for this and future lives and will be able to do wonderful things for ourselves and for others.

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