The word Tathagata refers to an authentic presence: not diluted, contrived or fabricated. A buddhist is thus a follower of authenticity. Way indicates a path, and a person on the path who has not yet achieved the authentic state. Hearing, contemplation and meditation are all methods we use along the path. During hearing and contemplation logic helps, but logic has to be discarded. Meditative experiences help but again, these have to be discarded. We take a boat to the other shore, and when we reach it, we leave the boat behind. In the same way, we need to follow the path, but recognize that it will ultimately be discarded. At this point we wake up to the authentic presence, the truth.
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