A university education really boils down to sticking with the past—don’t rock the boat of long established theories. In light of this, a university does not teach students how to discover new truths which still lie hidden, from truths about physical reality to mysticism, that is, knowing my true nature. A university can teach verification and even this is not without problems since scientific verification rests upon the fallacy called, affirming the consequent, also known as the converse error. Universities can teach history. But history is always being revised after other primary sources are found. After we graduate, we will not discover any hidden truths about nature or ourselves if we don’t have a pioneer spirit setting out to make new discoveries which may supersede what we have previously learned in school.
Being a person who likes to discover new things, one is never content with settled theories which, after all are only theories! Our pioneer will soon find that a journey of discovery is not a pleasant undertaking. One needs to be prepared for battle, in other words. The Buddha in fact said: “The way which goes against the stream is a profound one, very difficult to see. Those who are afflicted with passion will not see it; they are enveloped by a heavy darkness.” The truth is this: most everyone is enveloped in darkness including our leaders. It is another example of the blind leading the blind. Those who are looking to discover light in the land of darkness, eventually, have to put away much of their education about darkness being the highest truth.
In the example of Zen, in order to observe, directly, our true nature, a person must first of all learn to become their own subject. Our true nature is not a publicly discernible phenomenon. Thus, discovery must be turned inwards if we hope to comprehend what Zen master Bassui had discovered when he said: “Your Mind essence is not subject to birth or death. It is neither being nor nothingness, neither emptiness nor form-and-color.” This, to be sure, is a difficult path of discovery—one of the most difficult insofar as the path is more about clearing away our delusions and our defense of those precious delusions which we greedily hang onto.