So far my limited understanding on the concept of Zen in it’s purest form; One is not suppost to follow Buddha, but instead walks with Buddha as a friend.
This is an important objective, which runs like a thread through the growing process; By recognizing that you are your own Buddha and not a “follower”, you take ownership of yourself, your actions and thus your growth as an individual.
This doesn’t mean you don’t need a teacher, as a good teacher can guide you through the process of growth without yourself getting lost or walking the wrong way.
Now I can hear you say: “There is no wrong way!” (which, is a spiritual wisdom, and can be a way of seeing outside the limitation of duality. However, it is often used by some as an excuse to defend a descision made from the ego).
Let me give you an example of a wrong way and why it is important to recognise this, in order to understand the absence of right and wrong:
- You have followed a Tai Chi teacher for more than 10 years, who has not got the right skills and knowledge to pass it on. Having paid a lot of money over the years; you have learned movements which leads to little or zero health cultivation at best, and injuries at worst. Then one day you start to give lessons too, because you feel you have the right to do so after all your hard work. Of course you ask a fair amount of fee, because your are told that you are worth it. Now you have put yourself in a powerful position as a teacher, and have influences over people who are searching. When a student asks a question which you have no knowledge of, you work your way around instead of admitting that you just don’t know. And when confronted with a student’s doubt (who might have experienced quality teaching somewhere else), you play the spiritual card by saying: “there is no wrong way”.
Can you say that this is not a wrong way if you are either the student or the teacher?
If we are going to make something good about this experience, then first we need to recognise it. Then we can learn that the wrong way is not necessarily a bad thing.
If the student can “see” it, he or she can decide to unfollow the teacher. And if the teacher is willing to “see” his own limitation, there is the choice for him to also change the path.
The key lies in the observation of oneself;
By observing the self, causes and effect are becoming more clear. Decisions based on impulses or emotions feel less sticky. From this point, wrong ways can be lead to right ways. To see the co-existence between wrong way and good way, leads ultimately to a “way”. Not good, not bad. But only if one observes the co-existance of the opposites.
First recognise the differences, then the unification.
By being your own Buddha and own your mistakes, you can learn and move on. This is a very powerful realisation of “there is no wrong way”. It is no longer used as an excuse to please the ego and do whatever it likes.