Tag Archives: dharma


‘We act as though Truth were something we could stuff in our pockets, something we could take out every once in awhile to show people “Here! This is it!” We forget that they will show us their slips of paper, with other Truths written upon them.’
~ Steve Hagen Roshi

The Ultimate Authority

In his final talk before his death the Buddha said,

“Each of you be a light unto yourself; betake yourself to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself.”

buddhaYou are the final authority. Not me. Not the Buddha. Not the Bible. Not the government. Not the president. Not Mom or Dad. You. No community of philosophers, scientists, priests, academicians, politicians, or generals—no school, legislature, parliament, or court—can bear responsibility for your life, or your words, or your actions. That authority is yours and yours alone. You can neither get rid of it nor escape from it.

Of course, you can pretend to give up this ultimate authority, or ignore it and act as if you haven’t got it, or try to give it to someone else. But you haven’t really gotten rid of it. You gave your authority to someone else. You chose to deny or ignore that authority. You made the decision to lie to yourself…

Hagen, Steven (2011-06-21). Buddhism Plain and Simple (p. 22). Perseus Books Group.