How can one choose their own path in a world of complacency and conformism?
The Buddha explained this in a really subtle and prudent manner in one of the more secretive teachings, focusing on how to find and walk your own path while also finding great dignity and power.
In the 329th stanza of the Nagavagga, one of the oldest core teachings of Buddhism we find this metaphor – in fact multiple metaphors:
If for companionship you cannot find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, then, like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom, or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest, you should go your way alone.
There’s something glorious in the way the Buddha transmitted his wisdom. Afterall, back then just as much as now most people were conformists and those who didn’t go the beaten track were most often ignored or openly ridiculed and maligned.
It is a wonderful thing when one can find spiritual wisdom on how can one find serenity and strength while going on your own path. The whole chapter is really enlightening and I warmly recommend it to everybody wishing to find more courage for being themselves.
May you have a great day and find your path even under the cold shining of the Black Sun!
P.S. I remember this fragment being partially quoted in the animated Ghost in the Shell: Innocence full length movie which was really farsighted and philosophical. I wonder if the American version will be just as good.