A. Among the many virtues of a teacher and a sangha is they act as a counter-balance to check and reaffirm that you are practising correctly and are really on the path. There is, I can assure you, only one thing worse than being lost and confused in practice, and that is being convinced you are on the path when in fact you are well off it. The self and the accompanying delusions are so clever and so subtle that there isn’t a person alive, short of being fully enlightened, that can truly know if the path is being correctly pursued.

Even those who have returned to their original nature and clearly see reality can still unwittingly wander off, all this being due to the clever subtleties of the remnants of self. Always be on your guard when you say to yourself ‘this is it!’. The Buddha (teacher), and sangha are two thirds of the triple gem and are not an option in practice if you wish to tread the Buddha’s path wholly and correctly. They are there to see you walk this path, a journey that requires such subtle perception (the word ‘subtle’ actually doesn’t really do justice to the refinement of practice that is necessary).

If you are convinced that you don’t need the complete support of practice, you can join the large band of practitioners here in the West who are like minded, and I look forward one day to listening to one of their stories oftheir breaking of the root of becoming and going beyond rebirth. Self-reliance and confidence is very important, but be very careful with thinking that your convictions need no airing or challenge. The mind is very clever. Not for nothing have we all been wandering lost in samsara since time began.