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Chapter 12: The Other Shore

The first question:

What is the difference between a master and the perfect master?

First try to understand the difference between a teacher and a master, then the difference between a teacher and a perfect teacher. Only then will you be able to understand the difference between a master and a perfect master.

The teacher is one who teaches borrowed knowledge. He knows nothing, he has not experienced anything - it has not happened to him - but he has heard it, read it. He is skillful in transmitting it verbally, intellectually: he is capable of communication.

The perfect teacher is one who knows this: that he does not know. The teacher forgets it, tends to forget it. He starts believing in whatsoever he is teaching others. He is not only a deceiver, he is also deceived. He starts living in a deep auto-hypnotic sleep. First he convinces others, and when others are convinced, seeing their conviction he becomes convinced himself.

Sometimes it happens that even though he is only a teacher he may get a perfect disciple and he will see miracles happening in the disciple. Then the temptation is great to believe that he must be somebody special, extraordinary.

It happened in Marpa’s life: Marpa went to a teacher. He was well known for his scholarship. A great pundit and many followers, many students, many disciples were gathering around him. Marpa was in search. He went to the teacher, he surrendered to the teacher, and from that moment miracles started happening.

The other students were very jealous, obviously. They told everything to the teacher. The teacher himself watched him; he could not believe his eyes - Marpa was able to walk on water. He asked Marpa, “What is your secret?”

He said, “You are my secret. I just take your name and that’s enough. I say within my heart, ‘My master, take me to the other shore.’” His trust was so total that he was capable of walking on water, walking through fire.

Marpa’s teacher tried to test him. He told him to jump from the mountain into a deep abyss. The moment he said, “Jump!” Marpa jumped. It was absolutely certain that he would die, that not even pieces of his body would be found. And when the teacher and the crowd that was watching came down, Marpa was sitting there in deep meditation, unhurt, unscratched.

Again the teacher asked, “What is your secret?”

He said, “You are my secret. And each time things like this happen my surrender to you goes on deepening, it goes on becoming more perfect than it was before. It was perfect before too, but there are possibilities, dimensions of even perfection becoming more perfect.”

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