Lineage – a meeting of minds.
We are unique individuals, rather than one whole: the universe is full of unique individuals. People talk of Oneness, but that has never happened! We can be at one with our unique being (the unity of the two truths), and by doing so, we can be in harmony with others. And so, there may be unity in diversity!
Having said this, we do need the right company on our journey. It’s not a matter of joining a club: it is hearing a certain view that sounds familiar to us, and that feels right.
Finding such a connection is a rare occurrence, and very important. It is feeling part of a lineage that our inner being merges with, and this creates a sense of trust, confidence and a firm foundation
There are many lineages, but it is rare to find a lineage that is unbroken from its source. From a Buddhist point of view, an unbroken lineage is a series of teachings that have been handed down by word of mouth (breath) and continuously practised. Getting such support is unbelievably valuable.
If we are left to our own devices, we can easily go astray. This may seem a contradictory thing to say, but if we truly want to be free and independent, we first need the discipline of a lineage. This is like studying anything! We then realise that we are on a well-trodden and trustworthy path.
The problem, in this New Age, is that people want to reinvent spirituality because they don’t understand it: they have no lineage, and so much is speculative. Although a few ideas are borrowed from ancient teachings, they stay in the realms of fantasy with no real substance. The hallmark of such activity is passive aggression, with everything relating to “my way”.
Lineage is not a matter of joining a group and getting along with other students: they are there to cause you a lot of problems!!! This seems to work as a catalyst to bring one’s negativity to the fore, and this can feel very raw. It’s a tough bootcamp, because there is an assumption that you will all get along because you are all in the same lineage, but that is not always the case.
It is the teachings, and the living commentary of a teacher, that are the outer lineage. If there is an outer lineage, there must be an inner lineage. This is to do with devotion. Devotion is a deep appreciation for the teachings and lineage: this comes under Guru Yoga, and is a direct link to the lineage holders (knowledge holders) who have gone before.
I cannot begin to express how magical this is. There is a sort of longing, a supplicating, to certain deities who exhibit qualities such as Compassion, which, in turn blesses us with Compassion and Clarity.
It is here that we can feel confident and happy to be on our own…in oneness!
Guru Yoga is a huge subject. It is the path of Vajrayana (the Diamond path), and it’s for those with a certain unbreakable attitude towards the emotions and the teachings. This entails commitment, and a lot of preliminary practices…a lot…known as the Ngondro.