If you think about a tree, tradition would be in the roots, the trunk of the tree, the base.
Why? Because tradition is based on the experience of people. Tradition is based on the people who are realized, truly realized. Tradition is not based on the people who use information and power to control. Tradition is not like that. Tradition is based on the actual people who have reached certain realizations and experiences. Then, they share that with others. They share the technique to arrive to that point. So, that is why I think tradition is very important. However, we must be able to differentiate even within the institution.
There are two parts to the institution. The institution is based on the control and the aspect of power, influence and wealth. First, there is that part of the institution.
Then, the other aspect of the institution is the guardians of the teachings. The guardians of the philosophy in pure form. The untouched form. That is the important part of the institution. His Holiness talks about this aspect. This is much more important than, “Gurus,” and, “Tulkus,” because this is what really keeps the teachings alive. It is this part of the institution that creates the tradition. So, we must be able to differentiate this from the other side.
Then, of course, we must differentiate between the two different aspects of philosophy. One aspect is the intellectual aspect while the other is the behavioral or lifestyle aspect. So, we can understand the philosophy very well, but, if we do not put it into practice, then, there is not much meaning to it.
The tradition of doing mantra, of doing water bowls and of doing prostrations, all of that has meaning. It is creating a habit in our mind, in our brain, in our body. It is creating an imprint that is helping us to understand and to achieve the true nature of our mind.
So, these are all techniques that have been created for us to get there. We call it tradition, but it has a lot of meaning to it. People were probably wiser at that time. Although I cannot make a guarantee, probably, they were, generally, wiser.
We have more information these days. How we use that information these days is different. We are losing our roots a lot. In many aspects, we are losing touch with our roots. Planting, growing that is just one aspect we are losing.
How many people plant and grow their own food? Nowadays, you do not find many who take care of that part of their life. That is basic stuff. So, just in that respect, it is very few, because we are in this new time. If you suddenly took away all the supermarkets, most of us would not survive. We would not know where to go to get our food. Back in the day, people were wise enough to know where to find food without supermarkets. Anyway, that is just one more aspect.
So, tradition is helpful if we want to be able to branch out, if we want to be able to really have different branches that can help people to find meaning in their life, to be happier. However, for that to happen effectively, we must have the tradition. We must have tradition, the base. Otherwise it gets really lost. It becomes kind of like, what would you call it? It just becomes watered down. It is not the original nectar. It is like an example Lama Zopa would probably use: “The mark that the tea leaves in the cup after drinking it’’, that line. It becomes like that. Instead of having the tea itself you only have – what is it called? That line, that stain. It is a little bit like that, if you do not have the tradition. Without tradition, it is very difficult to really understand. It is very easy to misunderstand or misinterpret. So, the branches must always be able to come back to the base, to the tradition. Just like the branches on a tree always come back to the trunk or to its base.
I recommend to you to try everything. See what works for you. So, ultimately, we are all come from the same place and are going to the same place. There is no beginning or end to our mind continuum.