Q. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to start seeking Liberation all over again, what potential mistakes would you avoid this time?
Tom: I would relax more, much much more, and trust my own intuition in Silence, knowing that I already know this, what I am looking for is already totally and fully known, not with the mind, but intuitively effortlessly ‘known’. It is nothing else but my very BEING.
The Buddha likened his teachings to a raft that takes you from the shore of suffering (samsara) across the river to the shore of enlightenment (nirvana). When you get to the land on the other side, you do not carry the raft around with you – the raft would actually be an impediment on land.
The teachings are therefore provisional constructs and concepts and are not true in themselves. Ultimately we can let go of attachment both to the teaching and teacher once it has done its work.
If we fall in love with the teaching or teacher, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It can serve as a useful and positive motivation force, keeping our search and inquiry strong through both good and bad times, and may well continue after a genuine enlightenment. However I have often seen how the attachment to (and belief in) a teaching or teacher can impede a genuine realisation, as it can restrict our ability to freely inquire and see things as they really are.
In this Hindu saying, a thorn represents a concept that gives rise to suffering when it pierces our skin. The teachings are another concept/thorn that you can use to remove the first thorn from your body. However you must throw the teaching away too when it’s work is done, otherwise it simply becomes a thorn in your side that binds you.
Ramana Maharshi used to speak of his teachings as being like a wooden stick used to prod the burning carcass in the funeral pyre. Once the teaching has done its job of ‘burning the ego (sense of being a separate doer)’, the stick is also pushed into the fire and it too burns away.
If you have no questions,
We can sit here,
Self seen through,
This is the real sadhana:
Just an unforced appreciation of the way things are.
If you have questions, ask them, do not hold back.
The true answer is when the question disappears.
Do not cling to knowledge.
This is the advanced path for advanced seekers.