Many people are collectors, gatherers, sometimes hoarders.
Not surprisingly. Our ancestors (still many this very day) spent a lot of time collecting food. Food is categorized by the brain in things we really like to eat and things we only eat if there is nothing else. And that is essential if you try to survive. Favouring nutritious food: the things we like if we follow the child in us.
This gathering of food has been extended to the accumulation of property and later money.
And, in a not so different way, some people collect stamps, while others collect stars through their telescopes, and others collect tv channels, while many also collect experiences and kicks (must do this once in your life: ride the back of an aligator), and some collect teachers and saints. (didn’t I start a page like that 🙂 )
Our mind will conceptualize and categorize the stamps, stars, channels, experiences, teachers and saints. The process of conceptualization is always accompanied by some hierarchy of value, most of the time only based on our own personal perception or on some second hand criterium.
So what is more important? Collecting the pictures of thangkas with name and surname and some encyclopedical knowledge about them, or understanding the teachings and the later insights they might bring, while being inspired by their beauty?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t ‘collect’, it really is a way to learn. But I’m saying that we shouldn’t stay in that level: the teacher has to disappear, and the knowledge should become us. And preferably, the knowledge should evolve within us, killing the remnants of the teacher(s) within, with all those pre-chewed concepts.
While attacking the doctrines, axioms and dogmas, we will learn a lot about what really is.
The last step is often to give away our old books and pictures and thangkas, though sometimes nature does help a little with moulds, silverfish, chewing dogs and little children needing paper to fold a plane.