If the teacher has actually intuited the One Mind it is far easier for the student to also resonate with it, although it is still not easy. In the example of the Buddha, there were far more who entered the stream than now. If the teacher has not intuited, or the same, converged with the One Mind or Buddha-nature he or she is little more than a student farther up the path. Making matters worse, the average person has no way of telling which teacher has and which teacher hasn’t actually realized the One Mind. It is simply impossible. The statistical odds of finding an awakened teacher to study with is remote.
Trying to make up for this, an institution of Buddhism is still very much limited. It can teach the scripture and can encourage us to follow the monastic regula to the letter. It can even teach meditation. Yet, this will not open the treasure chest of Dharma. Until the ocean-like waves of mind stop, all at once for a split second, we remain bound to the body of the five skandhas mistaking what is not the ātman for the ātman.
Suppose, bhikkhus, a dog tied up on a leash was bond to a strong post or pillar: it would just keep on running around and revolving around that same post or pillar. So too, the uninstructed worlding [assutavā puthujjano] ... regards form as ātman ... feeling as ātman ... perception as ātman ... volitional formations as ātman ... consciousness as ātman .... He just keeps running and revolving around form, around feeling, around perception, around volitional formations, around consciousness. As he keeps on running and revolving around them, he is not freed from form, not freed from feeling, not freed from perception, not freed from volitional formations, not freed from consciousness. He is not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; nor freed from suffering I say” (S. iii. 150).
The message is clear enough: we are fettered by the conditioned world beginning with our conditioned thoughts which have never once subsided. The world we are looking at is the One Mind phenomenalized, turned into a fantastic appearance which includes our corporeal body which is constantly subject to suffering. Those of us who want to study the teachings of the Buddha to see beyond the illusion often, carelessly, run to the first teacher or institution we find (as I did). Over time, they find out that they haven’t really advanced—the longer they stay the worse it gets. They haven’t even got to first base understanding the basic goal of Buddhism which is to awaken to the unconditioned (i.e., One Mind, Buddha-nature, ātman etc.). In one respect Buddhism is so simple and profound. In another, its simplicity hides it.