Group spiritual practice is crucial,
in case you lack mindful discipline
and do not know this is the case.
Geshe Ben was an erudite and accomplished monk of the Oral Precept School who lived in the eleventh century. He was noted for his rigorous ethical training and conscientiousness in adhering to the altruism of the Bodhisattva, the awakening Mahayana practitioner.
Wandering in search of alms one day, the young monk Ben was invited into the home of a devout couple. While the faithful householders went out of the room to prepare some food for the poor mendicant, Ben suddenly awoke – as if from a reverie – to find himself with his hand in the cookie jar, as if it were, pinching some delectable tea for himself from a sack in one corner. There he was, caught red-handed – if only by his own meticulous conscience.
Shouting, ‘Thief, thief!’ Ben created such an uproar that the entire family came running, makeshift weapons in hand. To their amazement and relief, they beheld the novice accusing himself of pilfering and threatening to cut off his offending hand at once if it ever acted so disgracefully again. Thus the novice met his inner guru, the innate integrity of wisdom itself, from whom he was never thereafter parted.
The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane: Wisdom Tales From Tibet