Chapter 2: The Brash Student
You listen to me. With listening I have two categories also: you can listen like a disciple; you can listen like a would-be master. If you listen like a would-be master you will miss, because you cannot listen with that attitude. If you are just waiting, getting ready, and wondering how to jump into being a master and teach others, you cannot be receptive. You can learn only if you are a disciple with no thought of becoming a master. This was one of the oldest traditions in the East - that a person would not start teaching unless his master told him to.
There was one disciple of Buddha who remained for many years with him; his name was Purna. He became enlightened, and he still remained with Buddha. After his enlightenment he would also come every day in the morning to listen to Buddha. He himself was now a buddha; nothing was lacking, he stood now in his own right, but he continued to come.
One day Buddha asked Purna, “Why do you go on coming? Now you can stop.”
And Purna said, “Unless you say so, how can I stop? If you say so, it is okay.”
Then he stopped coming to Buddha’s lectures, but he remained just like a shadow moving with the sangha, with the order. Then after a few years, again Buddha said, “Purna, why do you go on following me? You go and teach people! You need not be here with me.”
And Purna said, “I was waiting. When you say so, I will go. I am a disciple, so whatsoever you say I will do. If you say so, it’s okay. So where should I go? Which direction should I go? Whom should I teach? You simply direct me and I will follow! I am a follower.”
This man must have listened to Buddha totally, because even when he becomes enlightened he remains a disciple. And there are people who are absolutely ignorant - and they are already “masters.” Even if they are listening, they are listening with an attitude that sooner or later they have to teach. You listen just to tell others what you have learned! Drop that idea completely from the mind, because if that idea is there, if the would-be master is there, the disciple cannot exist with that idea; they never coexist.
A disciple is simply a disciple. One day it happens that he becomes a master - but that is not the end, that is just a consequence. Just by being a learner one becomes wise. That is a consequence, not the goal. If you learn simply to become wise you will never learn, because to be wise is an ego-goal, an ego-trip. And if you are just waiting to ripen, mature, and become a master, and this disciplehood is just a passage to be passed through - the sooner the better, it has to be finished, you are not happy in it, you would like to end it - then you are not a disciple, and you will never be a master. .Because when a disciple ripens, he becomes a master spontaneously. That is not a goal to be followed, it happens as a byproduct.
The brash student - impudent, rude, thinking that he already knows.and that is the only impudence that can happen to a mind: that you already know.
When Yamaoka was a brash student he visited the master Dokuon.
Wanting to impress the master he said..