“Sometimes, we have strange ideas about the Buddha. We go to him for refuge and then think that he will extend his large hand down from the sky and lift us out of samsara. Actually, the Buddha came into the world, taught the path to liberation, and then passed away.
Since we cannot go looking for him now, what should we do? We can rely on the Dharma he bequeathed to us and practice as much as possible this path to full awakening.
The Dharma is the Buddha’s representative. If we put into practice the meaning of his words, it is the same as if the Buddha were present and we could see him and hear him teaching us. This is why the Dharma is so important.”
– 17th Karmapa
from the book “Traveling the Path of Compassion: A Commentary on The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva”