The Raft

The Buddha compared his teachings to a raft. If you are on the dangerous side of the river where it is treacherous and you want to go to the other shore where it is safe, you can gather some sticks and twigs to construct a raft, working with what is available . With effort you can use that raft to cross over. Once you arrive there is no need to carry that raft with you. You can put it down for others to use.

In this way religious teachings are skillful means and not ends in themselves. They are maps pointing to something. In many ways much about our lives works in the same way. We often find ourselves attached to ways, stories,beliefs and other ideas and things that we might be better served in knowing ourselves if we were able to know better when to let go of them. There is a more intimate way of knowing our experience if we were to use our thinking as we use the raft. There is an advantage to using our words and ideas but they are not ends in themselves.

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