He who tries to learn too much from too many teachers and books will end up with mental blocks and doubts. It is not always a blessing to be an intellectual, it is not a great advantage to have too many to advise, it is best to be able to learn faith through simple learning and with the help of a sincere teacher. The one who helps you to realise right from wrong, who points you to the virtuous path, he is your true teacher and benefactor.
Greed has been the cause of such miseries and it does not only apply to the material alone. If this can be understood, then one is contented even with one Deity, one mantra. Then practice will be simple and the mind undisturbed. Too many people are fond of collecting Deities and Mantras as a hobby, so that true spirituality is lost. Too many seek one teacher after another, hoping to gain more by receiving higher teachings. All these people are likely to end up with confusion or even disappointment, and most of the time, they will have to battle with their own ego without realising it. One should not be impressed by other people’s practices or who their gurus are.
One must not be swayed by those who talk with great promises or who are backed with a vast body of supporters behind them. One should learn not to be moved easily or lured by attractions of any kind, but one should learn to see the sincerity and purity of the person himself, he who has, and still is, practising the Dharma, who practises it effortlessly, who need not give you a hundred rules to adhere to, or require you to perform this or that act which makes your life miserable. One must have the wisdom to seek the guru who cares, who encourages altruistic practices, who does not require you do the impossible but urges you to do your best, to search your heart and to live with the least of complications. One should not choose a teacher for the sake of having one. In fact, why have one at all? It is better for one to teach oneself. It is not impossible to do so if one has the discipline and the right motivation. Start with self-analysis and see what (kind of) person you are. Recognise your good and bad points and earnestly begin to improve yourself each day. After you have discovered the difficulties of self-correction, you will understand and forgive other’s faults quite easily; after you have known what you want, you will know why greed abounds, you will realise the dangers of unchecked desires and so on. Then you will seek a path and you will come across people and books which will be useful guides. And if your search is sincere, you will find a suitable method of practice that will not cause you strains and the world will move with you. If you can find such an uncomplicated way of practice which turns you to altruistic practices, you will soon meet your teacher!
Tuesday, 17th September 1985
8th Moon, 3rd Day