In creating a lineage, it is crucial that the students feel they will never be able to surpass the master.
There are of course, creative and competent individuals who could very well re-invent practices, adapt their understanding toward an evolution of practice. But these individuals won’t be attracted to a top-down system in the first place.
The lineage holder (the main teacher) in this sort of system would have to be a great actor and a sociopath in order to sell the charade that the teachings can’t be beat, over the long term. It is then much better that the main teacher really feels this to be true. He feels the teachings can’t be surpassed because he himself is only _holding_ the teachings – he didn’t invent them. They were invented by a figure the main teacher sees as mythic, divine – unattainable. This sort of figure is a placeholder for the absent father. The main teacher themselves may come from a background where the father was in some way absent, as well as his love.
Seeking a conditional love – the condition being making oneself a Fit Vehicle for the Divine – the main teacher struggles to overcome the parts of their nature they feel are unloveable. Their students see this intensity of practice and mimic it, thinking this is the way to overcoming their own troublesome nature. Just exactly how a physical practice affects one’s psychology is never explicitly stated.
I understand this sort of deconstruction can feel depressing. It is out of the rubble of these ideas that my perspective, and the way I approach practice is built. More and more, it seems the only safe way is to learn to build something that suits you, don’t expect it is going to suit anyone else, and stay away from large buildings housing institutions. They always seem to crumble from within. As humans, we retain the potential for wisdom, compassion and reflection not because of these institutions, but in spite of them.