As my mind willed I visited my local temple for a chat with the monks . Surprised to learn, this time I was advised to independently seek out my emancipation from suffering and only use the dharma for a guide !! Then arose this question ...are other peoples experience etc on this path valid for my own personal path ( if u could call it so as mind has no beginning or end nor an owner , but the ego claim !!) So why read up on Buddhism at all ? If my inner being is not compatible with the author of the book/ books ?
If you want to build a house, it is easier done having read a book about it than without. It will guide you through the process, hint you at problems that may arise and give possible solutions. But then, there may be other solutions around, no problem with that.
On the other hand, reading the book alone will not be much beneficial; without actually building your house, you will not be able to sleep under the protecting roof.
As for "being not compatible" - I think this is rather unlikely, as long as you are open-minded. Of course, one has to be careful not to take laziness as incompatibility, i.e. it would be too easy to give up meditation after 30 seconds, labelling it "frustrating, my mind isn't built for that".
So I take the literature as a wealth of wonderful ideas I can ponder on.
are other peoples experience etc on this path valid for my own personal path?
To an extent, you have to see patterns. What they did, how things happened, etc., But spiritual path is a very subjective process, your internal nature as it has happened by your past accumulations and external circumstances. It is about YOU. Unconscious and conscious mental/physical impressions have played a large part in how you are right now.
One more thing, please don't split yourself up into parts like
ego, etc., It is all a mental construct. Throw it away. You are one person. Please be that first, and start from there.
So why read up on Buddhism at all ?
Why not? Simply read? Take what you feel is right? There are many explanations. You may be mislead. That's why I said simply read. Don't stop yourself from reading/exploring. But why should you get carried away by what's in the books of a person? Most importantly, start reading your own life. Look at what's happening to you in situations, how you react, how you respond, what you are doing. Take conscious actions. That will give you more than enough knowledge on what you need than all the books in the world.
If my inner being is not compatible with the author of the book/ books ?
What is this
inner being? Define that clearly. For yourself. Ask yourself. Then worry about authors of books or something else.
independently seek out my emancipation from suffering
Nobody can emancipate you. Only yourself. Reason being liberation is based on experiencing the reality and not doing things which are not conducive / unskillful and doing what is conducive / skillful. No bodies experience can be a substitute to your experience. Say someone describes a taste of a good dish, you cannot reconstruct this task by any description without tasting it yourself.
use the dharma for a guide
The taught Dhamma is guide. It has theoretical and practical aspects about stress and the was out of it. The theoretical aspects will be milestones in the path for you to validate if you are in the right route. The practical aspect is how to travel the path. Anybody who walks the path will reap the benefits of the practice.
are other peoples experience ... on this path valid for my own personal path
You cannot validate the path by other people's experience. If there is an epidemic and you and your neighbour both sick you have to take medicine to become better. Just because your neighbour taking medicine will not make you better.
So why read up on Buddhism at all?
To learn the path and the milestones.
but the ego claim
Always our notion of self is deluded and tied with craving. Unless we let go of this deluded notion of self there is misery.
If my inner being is not compatible with the author of the book/ books ?
Buddhism is universal regardless if you agree with it or not. There are lot of misinformation about Buddhism. Some of this will become clear when you practice. Each step of the way validate the results at the experiential level. Also validated what you practice with the original teaching.
my mind willed I visited my local temple for a chat with the monks…
You did the correct thing in seeking the company of the friends in Saddhamma. But is is not easy to find a true disciple. On the ‘Noble Friend’s guidance, Ananda, one of many principal disciples of the Supreme Buddha, once asked the Buddha if half of the reason for the spiritual life was friendship with others. The Buddha turned to Ananda, rebuking him mildly with the words, “Don’t say that, Ananda. The whole of the spiritual life is for friendship.” This shows that the Buddha elevated spiritual friendship to the highest status.
was advised to independently seek out my emancipation…
Sadly many are of this view in the present day. So it is important that we compare todays views to the Sutta & Vinaya Pitaka, and to find out the truth of the matter. Always remember that the Scriptures are out Teacher. Buddha once said that “By not understanding, and not penetrating this doctrine beings have become entangled like in a knotted ball of thread and have become like munja grass and rushes, unable to pass beyond the woeful states of existence, and Samsara, the cycle of existence.”
are other peoples experience etc. on this path valid…
The simple answer is Yes. Specially at the outset, until you become a Stream Entrant others company & guidence is important. Just as the great ocean gradually slopes and inclines and shelves without any sudden drop, so too this Dhamma and Discipline there is gradual training and work and practice without any sudden penetration of final knowledge.
So why read up on Buddhism at all ?...
Because that is The ONLY Way. . Buddha said “Let an intelligent person come to me, sincere, straight forward and honest; I shall instruct him in the doctrine so that on my instruction he could practise by himself in such a way that before long he would himself know and himself realize …”(M.II.44)
Methodology of learning …
- It starts with careful listening with full attention (Suthaa).
- Then what he has heard has to be registered in the mind (dhathaa).
- The next step is to familiarize himself with what has been learned by reciting (vacaya paricita).
- Then it has to be internalized with pondering over it, contemplating the meaning by applying it to yourself. (Manasaanupekkhitha)
- The next step is practising what one has learned to become a real knower of the teaching - The realization. It is the result of the above 4 actions. (Ditthiya Suppatividdha)
If my inner being is not compatible with the author…
The issue of compatibility is not what is important. Of utmost importance is whether your inner being has recognized the URGENCY. Whatever means that you will employ to instil a sense of urgency, then that is the way to go. If there is one single word that is more important than any other in the whole of the Dhamma of the Supreme Buddha, it is URGENCY. In whatever way, if one could develop a sense of urgency, then by all means stick to it. For that you have to develop a sense of dismay (samvega) with what is happening around you. To see the other side of life - the universality of suffering and develop an attitude of heedfulness (appamada) to avoid being duped by types of desires that come our way. How many will have a sense of urgency towards the practice of Dhamma?