Buddhism · Commentary

Lineage is an Obstacle

Lineage is valuable only so far as a person who has produced true results in their spiritual practice can pass on their direct experience to close students.  Within the first generation of disciples, these teachings become codified and are then passed down as dogma. Meanwhile, the unconscious social requirements among the group of students becomes primary, and a religious institution forms.

The process of deep spiritual practice requires one to deconstruct habitual patterns of thought, paramount of which is unconscious social conformity.  Yet religious institutions place social conformity at a higher value than the teachings themselves, as evidenced by practitioners – past and present – who have been ostracized from their spiritual communities for acting in alignment with high spiritual principles that threaten the cohesion of the social group.

The original teachings – lacking the power of subtle transmission – are preserved in writings, recordings, and the minds of conformist students, which can be useful to a true deep practitioner only inasmuch as it provides access to the academic presentation of the original teacher’s experiences.