GildedMushroom: Must the internal ideal of a Personal Legend or Hero’s Journey be dropped to follow the 8-Fold path to enlightenment?
Lama Surya Das: No, I don’t think so, not entirely. Though there is a certain amount of questionable hubris and ego in this particular formulation— especially around the words ‘personal legend’.
The Noble Eight-fold Path of Enlightenment is open to one and all, from wherever we may be starting, sinners and degenerates included. So why not one with a Personal Legend mentality? The kind of archetypal Hero’s Journey I sense you are thinking about— well elucidated by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his writings— can be elevated into the Bodhisattva aspiration for being of ultimate benefit to the greatest number of beings, and one can certainly walk this great and timeless path with head held high and arms and heart open as wide as the world.
The Bodhisattva, an Awakening Buddha or Buddha-to-be also known as Spiritual Warrior in translation by the late great Buddhist pioneer Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is a Buddha in training who might as well be known in these days of manga and celebrity culture as a spiritual super hero. In fact, the innate dignity and awesome power and dynamic energy of such a Bodhisattva, a truly enlightened leader and compassionate altruist, can also include what we call in the Diamond Path Vajrayana tradition “divine pride” or the awareness of one’s own rightful place in the lineage of nobility of the innate Buddha-nature common to us all.
This is the ego-less, transpersonal legend or tantric identity of a Tibetan Buddhist practicing Deity Yoga.
Submitted by @GildedMushroom via Twitter on September 7th, 2010.