The Buddha placed great emphasis on personal experience and understanding. But we’re inclined to forget this and try to obtain understanding second-hand, from someone else. In other words we abdicate our responsibilities. We may fall into the trap of going to teachers/gurus — not to learn from them, but to lean on them. Wisdom, compassion and realization, of course, cannot be found this way. Naturally, unless we’re very foolish, we shall learn from others. But there is a very fine line between learning and leaning.
From the August 1989 Buddhism Now.