A. To think that mixing traditions and practices is a bona fide way to practise the Dharma.

For the first time in the history of Buddhism we have (in the West) people putting together a “Universal Practice”. A bit from this tradition and a bit from that tradition, etc., until we have a practice that we have assembled and decided is the best for me. We do this not realising that this desire to create our own practice is nearly always born of restlessness because we are unable, through lack of commitment, to stick with one way. This “pick and mix” approach is highly suspect if you are trying to commit to a serious practice. It is true that all branches of Buddhism are growing from the same trunk, but it should be understood that the practice of Dharma by its nature is a very narrow, subtle, and transforming path. Any part of a practice that doesn’t harmonise with other parts will keep you off that narrow path, and because of the inherent subtlety involved it is likely that the disharmony created will not be recognised.

Whilst sticking to the totality of a traditional way, rather than walling yourself in with your commitment, it could be considered helpful to show interest in other traditions alive in your land. Doing so may prevent conceit and intolerance. By all means show interest in the other traditions and learn from the richness of wisdom that is on offer. However, keep to one practice of one tradition, thereby ensuring you are on a tried and tested path of transformation, rather than being on one that you have, in your “wisdom”, cobbled together.