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Be a lamp unto yourself redux

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

We have discussed this before, but I like to revisit these things every few years to see what new insights have presented themselves. Here is the old thread:

The Buddha said “appa dipo bhava”, be a lamp unto yourself, which can be taken to mean ‘cling to no external refuge in your pursuit of truth’, and it points to the fact that the spiritual journey is ultimately a solitary one, that one cannot walk in another’s footsteps or duplicate their enlightenment.

I like to think it also points to the quality of light, that the darkness is but the absence of illumination and that all the properties of the lighted world were there waiting to be revealed. Much like the nature of enlightenment itself, if some teachers are to be believed. First mountains and rivers are just that; then they are something quite different; then they are just mountains and rivers again.

The other thing I see is that the words of the enlightened kindle the flame, that from one taper many candles may be lit. It doesn’t matter so much whether that one taper is the words of the Buddha, or the words of Sri Ramana Maharshi, or even those of Tony Parsons. If it touches off a genuine search, then that is to be respected.

Lastly, I have found I have a difficulty with the example of the Awakened One, the Buddha. If you take his state as the measuring stick, and you set out to achieve some pinnacle of consciousness defined by him some 2500 years after he passed away, then what happens to your own unique flowering? Perhaps the most we can expect to do is free ourselves from conditioning.

Namasté beloveds, may you find love, peace, freedom.

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