Malcolm’s statement “And that is why there is no closed Canon in Buddhism, why there never can be.” is an amusing take on the raft simile. But I have to remember that this comes from a mahāyāna forum.
In Buddhist cultures that are heavily invested in tradition, the ‘narrative of liberation’ is painted on the temple walls. And acceptance of this tradition may be the basis for what makes one a ‘Buddhist’, indeed for some it is all they have. But what for some may come off as comparisons of East & West perspectives is the question – is this the same for the adherent motivated by the empirical results of contemplative work?
For myself, the liberation narrative is little more than a necessary part of the hagiographical picture. Rather, it is easier for me to assimilate the Tathāgata’s realisation through his instructions on contemplative praxis and analysis, and finding these confirmed in that work. In other words, I accept the former but seek through the latter.
“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)