The technique of self-remembering seems easier for me than witnessing. Do they both lead to the same goal?
They both lead to the same goal, but the technique of self-remembering is harder, longer and dangerous. Only very few people in the whole history of mankind have attained to enlightenment through the technique of self-remembering.
Many have tried, but utterly failed – it looks easy. The reason is that your self-remembering is not going to be your self remembering, it will be your ego remembering; that’s why it looks easy.
You don’t know the distinction between the self and the false self. The false self is our ego, and the ego is very subtle, very cunning, and tries in every way to pretend to be the real self. That’s why in the beginning it will look easier than witnessing, because in witnessing there is no place for the ego. From the very beginning the ego is avoided.
In witnessing, the ego cannot enter. But in self-remembering, there is every possibility of the ego pretending to be your self. Then the more you will practice, the more your ego will become stronger.
If somebody wants to travel on the path of self-remembering, he absolutely needs a master. He cannot move alone, because he cannot make a clear-cut distinction of what is false and what is true. He knows only the false, he is not acquainted with his true being. Unless he is under a very rigorous master it will be very difficult to create a separation between the ego and the self.
I will explain it to you by an ancient Chinese story….
A great master had a big monastery – five hundred monks – and they were all practicing the path of self-remembering. Self-remembering is one of the paths Buddha has recommended.
One man entered into the monastery – he wanted to become a disciple. The master accepted him, but he was a very simple man from a village, almost uneducated. The master told him, “Your job is cleaning the rice in the kitchen.”
It was a big kitchen – five hundred monks. The poor man was cleaning the rice before sunrise and late into the night. He had no time to go to the sermons, to go to the prayers; he had no time to read the scriptures or listen to the wise talks. Those five hundred monks were great scholars, and the monastery was known all over the country.