“Walk alone”

Most spiritual traditions expect that the individual will need to associate with a group of practitioners and learn from a master or spiritual director. This assumes a culture wherein the group is inherently trustworthy and wise, and the individual holds not merely an open mind but an attitude open to obedience or authority. And the results are not guaranteed. For the solitary, the goal of searching for such trustworthiness is not only unlikely to be fulfilled but the whole idea of such a search seems to oppose personality, temperament, and judgment. In the Dhammapada (61), the Buddha says simply: “If on the great journey of life you find no one who is better than yourself, joyfully walk alone.”