The Narrow Path

The word ‘Bodhisattva’ refers to those who have achieved and those who have an inclination to follow the Path of Compassion, the Path of Love. The Hinayana Path, the Lesser Vehicle- known as the elementary path or the narrow path- is based on discipline, the first requirement for the development of Freedom. And this path disciplines not only mind, through the practice of meditation but also speech and physical behavior. Discipline of this sort is quite different from laying down a moral code of law or moralizing in the sense of ‘sin’ and ‘virtue’; it concerns acting properly, acting truly, acting thoroughly, acting according to the Law of what is. So we must see this concept of discipline, or Sila Paramita clearly. It becomes the basis of everything. It is, one might say, the Narrow Path, which is in itself a kind of simplicity. For instance, if there was only one little track through a mountain pass and the rest of the terrain was completely overgrown with trees and bushes and so on, then we would have no difficulty at all in deciding which way to go. If there is only one track, either you go on or you turn back. The whole thing is simplified into one event, or one continuity. Therefore discipline does not limit our activities by declaring that such-and-such a thing is against the Divine Law or is immoral; it is just that there is only one way of true simplicity ahead of us. Fundamentally, discipline comes down to the Samatha Practice of developing awareness, through which one merely sees what is. Every moment is now, and one acts through the experience of the present moment. We have now talked of the Narrow Path.

-Meditation in Action, Chogyam Trungpa