A wandering ascetic, having heard of the Buddha, traveled everywhere looking for him. One night he came to stay in a house where the Buddha was also staying but, not knowing the Buddha's physical appearance, he was unaware of his presence. The next morning, he arose and continued on his way, still searching for the Buddha.
To search for peace and enlightenment without correct understanding is like this.
Due to a lack of understanding of suffering and its elimination, all the subsequent factors on the path will be wrong—wrong intentions, wrong speech, wrong actions, and wrong practice of concentration and tranquility. Your likes and dislikes are not a trustworthy guide in this matter either, although foolish people may take them for their ultimate reference. Alas, it is like traveling to a certain town—you unknowingly start out on the wrong road, and since it is a convenient one, you travel it in comfort. But it will not take you where you want to go.
- Ajahn Chah, A Still Forest Pool (Quest Books)