When seeking or on the path, is the journey intended to be for the one on the path or can it be travelled by more than an individual i.e. is the path different for each being?


The Path is the same for all beings, although since all beings have different kamma due to past actions, all beings are on different stages of the Path.

So one being might need to practice certain path factors, e.g. Sila more than another being and vice versa.

Regarding The Ten Perfections (Paramis) they are often compared to jars and when one practices a parami one fills the jar with a drop. So again, how full a jar is, is different from being to being. One being might have worked extensively on the Dana-parami, while lacking in the Aditthana-parami.

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Is the path an individual journey?

The Path proclaimed by a fully englightened Buddha is always the same. A fully enlightened Buddha does not invent the Path. He discovers the Path by himself with no help from anyone else, then he proclaims it and teaches it to other beings. Its often described as discovering an ancient path (purānam añjasam), covered by a dense forest which leads to a bygone kingdom.

The Path is an individual journey. No one can walk the Path for us. We ourselves has to work. Only oneself can free oneself. Only oneself can issue liberation from the rounds of suffering by practicing the Dhamma.

One has to become ones own refuge. The Buddhas only show the way and guide us but we ourselves must walk the Path. Throughout the Buddha's 45 years of teaching-career he constantly emphazized the importance of practicing diligently, consistently and with great effort in order to win Nibbana.

If you are interested in further readings about the self-reliance-factor of the Path, then I recommend the following chapter in the book "What Buddhists Believe", by Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda.

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    Yup! Although I prefer emptying jars to filling them. ;-) – user698 Jan 2 '16 at 18:13
  • Just to understand that, the Buddha did not taught the path to Buddhahood, or what ever hood, but just to get ride of Dukkha (suffering) and such as developing the paramis is far beyond ordinary people, jet not even able to stick just to the path, Mr/Ms Lanka. Buddha did also not give much value of what "Buddhist" believe but traced the path out well, for all possible to use individually. – Samana Johann Jan 3 '16 at 5:41

Perhaps this excerpt from "From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment, Refining Your Life" by Dogen and Uchiyama, from the section called "How to cook your Life", and the chapter, "Tenzo Kyokun and Shikan-Taza", will go some way toward answering your questions.

"When we look at a cup that is set down between two of us, we have the feeling that we are looking at the same cup, though actually that is not so. You look at the cup with your vision, and from a certain angle. Moreover, you see it in the rays of light and shadows that come from your side of the room. This applies equally to me as well. In a very rough sense, we proceed to separate the reality of the situation by entertaining the idea that we both see the same cup. This is what I mean by the fabrication of ideas."

"In the same way, we assume that there exists a world which you and I experience in common with all other human beings, that this world existed prior to our births, and that it will continue to exist even after our deaths. But again, this is nothing more than an idea. Not only that, we wind up thinking that we live and die within this world of fabrication. This is an utterly inverted way of looking at ones life. My true Self lives in reality, and the world I experience is one that I alone can experience, and not one anyone else can experience along with me. To express this as precisely as possible, as I am born, I simultaneously give birth to the world I experience; I live out my life along with that world, and at my death the world I experience also dies."

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  • Thanks. How does this align with ultimate reality? My understanding is that there is no duality between the reality that both you and i see. Isn't the intention of realization to see the world as it is? If so, how can there be a fabrication of ideas? – Motivated Jan 2 '16 at 7:31
  • @Motivated: I can’t answer your question about ultimate reality. Because we have different experience / understanding, we may look at the same thing, and experience different results. The Buddha taught the Dharma as a pathway to reduction/elimination of suffering. Realization is a result of correct practice. One of the often cited descriptions of correct practice is: Do not dwell in the past - Do not summon the future - Do not think about the present - Rest in awareness. Deviation from this standard will likely result in fabrication of ideas. – Scott Jan 7 '16 at 23:41
  • Thanks. I don't quite follow Do not think about the the present. So do you mean to say Don't think i am hungry or I am in pain, etc? – Motivated Jan 7 '16 at 23:45
  • @Motivated: Yes, but the initial observation is enough. Too often the initial observation leads to a whole story (mental fabrication). Excerpt from "The Diamond Sutra" (translation by Red Pine, Counterpoint, 2001. – Scott Jan 8 '16 at 0:12
  • follow-up - "...After begging for food in the city an eating his meal of rice, he returned from his daily round in the afternoon, put his robe and bowl away, washed his feet, and sat down on the appointed seat. After crossing his legs and adjusting his body, he turned his awareness to what was before him." This points to observation of immediate experience, with no elaboration or mental story telling. – Scott Jan 8 '16 at 0:29

There is one Goal but many starting points (different kinds of confusion). To the extent that you and someone else have the same set of delusions, your paths will be similar, and to the extent that your preconditions are different, your paths will be unique.

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    That's the path to the path, yes. But the path we are talking about the path to liberation is simply on of eight factors. And it would be not being on the path, is certain factors are unique and various developed, Mr Andrei. – Samana Johann Jan 3 '16 at 5:44

The path is the same for everyone which is the noble 8 fold path divided into morality, mastery of the mind and wisdom. The practice is individual as nobody else can walk the path for you or take you on the path. Any body seriously practicing can walk the path but you have to practise yourself. Sometimes the path is described differently using the landmarks than the direction in different audience in the Suttas.

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  • Maybe a comparison is useful to make it understandable what Upasaka Dharmasena is talking about. – Samana Johann Jan 3 '16 at 5:48

The paths beginning differs, yet the end is always the same....enlightenment. Yet enlightenment in all things leads to another path indeed...

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