I submit for your consideration a question posed earlier in the comment section here that I found interesting as a lama.
“I’d like to pose a question, if nobody cares to or has the balls to answer, no problem.
If I had the inclination to sit in a box for three years, three months and three days – like a chicken perching on an egg – what would hatch? I am concerned someone would consider egg sitting a spiritual attainment, creating another ego issue. Are the retreat instructions perhaps a metaphor? I enjoy metaphors.
If this act of incubation actually hatched great spiritual teachers, we should pay the chicken so to speak, and not the farmer.
You may or may not have another opinion, I’m interested.”
Here’s my response.
“In the Karma Kagyu lineage at least, the result, the realization of the true nature of the mind, is not a metaphor. We take the result, said realization, as the path. As such the purpose of the so called “traditional” retreat of which you speak, the three years, three months, three days spent in a box under the supervision of a retreat master is a form of pointing out the true nature of the mind, not to produce a result but instead to habituate oneself in the result, that which is empty, luminous, and capable of anything. Whether this so called tradition works or not is debatable of course, but I shall limit my response to the question asked, or at least my understanding of it.”
58 year old me, 25 years after then 68 year old Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, my guru, entered retreat at Karme Ling, in Delhi, New York, I am so glad Rinpoche saw a lama in me, thus sparing me from having to prove myself to him to receive his lung and tri for Mahamudra.