To move on, on the one hand, I think that we can make progress even without a religion. On the other hand, if we go totally wild and crazy, without depending on the experience of many great beings and so on, we will have no idea where we’re going to land.
Our life is only life we have right now, honestly, so we cannot just gamble and play with that. Maybe sometimes we can make good progress, and sometimes we go the wrong way, but we really cannot afford to gamble. This is why we lean towards and rely on the experience of great masters and Buddhist teachers and try to travel accordingly. We can compare ourselves to them. They did make that much progress, to that great level, with that much effort, so am I going in the same direction or not? Compare yourself to them. Comparing gives you a support, a base. That’s what I was thinking of earlier, in terms of a base, rather than the kind of base one cannot do without. It is a base that sort of gives us points of reference, points that show us whether we are going in the right or the wrong direction.
That is what the lineage does for us. Their experience and their development is our point of reference. If we use that, it will be much safer than just going crazy and wild. Many people used to ask me, “Can you do it without a teacher?” The usual official religious answer is, “No you can’t.” But, if you think about it, you can. You really can, but, without a teacher, you have no way of knowing whether you are going in the right direction or the wrong direction. Working with someone who knows what to do will make it much easier. You know, if someone knows what to do, when you look at that person, that person will show you the way to do it.
That goes for everything. That’s why the teachers teach us their subjects, right? It’s because the person teaching knows what he or she is doing. They have the know-how and their sharing makes it easier for us. Otherwise, we would have to discover each and every point ourselves. That would be a tremendous, horrible effort. It would be really tremendously difficult, and we would get nowhere.
This is why we rely on people’s knowledge and the lineage masters’ knowledge. That’s how we try to share when we teach. That is why I call this our base. If you have that basis, it is a point of reference for you. You have a direction; you have a point where you check and see whether you are moving in the right direction or the wrong direction.
~ Gelek Rimpoche, Chapter 1, 2013 Green Tara Teachings, Garrison, NY