Becoming independent practitioners ~ 17th Karmapa

The main point is that if we are going to be real practitioners of the dharma, then we need to become independent practitioners, people who actually know how to practice by learning how to be quite direct and honest with ourselves. We might think we can always be sitting in front of our teacher or master and practice the dharma by continually receiving advice from him or her about what we should and should not do. But if we are always in need of advice, then someone who can give us advice is not always going to be there for us.

Therefore, we have to learn how to pay attention to what is going on in our own minds and figure out what are our faults, and what are our qualities, and what is the way to distinguish between faults and qualities. Instead of constantly looking to something that is outside of us, we have to develop the ability to pay attention in a mindful way and an insightful way to what is actually happening within us, so that we can become capable, autonomous practitioners of the dharma.

17th Karmapa

from the book Heart Advice of the Karmapa

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