Chapter 15: The Long Journey Can Be Cut Short
Buddha used to say that you cannot condemn that man. You have to be compassionate - he is blind and his experience of so many failures discourages him. And he misses the right door. He simply does not try - he is tired. Perhaps one round more and he may drop the whole idea of getting out.
Perhaps it is just a fallacy that there is a door that opens towards the world of light, sun, flowers, and sky and stars. Perhaps this is all there is. And those who have been telling him about the right door may have been simply deceiving him, perhaps they are deceived themselves.
What is theoretically possible is not necessarily practically the right thing. Every master will say you can go alone, you can find the truth on your own; there is no need of a master. And only a master will say that. But he will also make it clear to you that you are choosing a very long journey. You may be tired, you may drop out of the search; you may turn your back towards truth. You may even become antagonistic to the very idea. The master is a practical necessity.
And the master is only a lover. He loves truth, and he loves to help people to reach that wonderful experience.
He is just like a gardener. Whenever there are flowers coming to the plants it is not only that the flowers blossom, something in the heart of the gardener also blossoms with each flower. The same is true about the master. Each time a disciple reaches the goal, attains his potentiality, blossoms, something in the master’s heart also blossoms. With each disciple becoming enlightened, the master becomes again and again enlightened.
That is the master’s reward. He does not want anything from the disciple. His reward is in the success of the disciple.
So always remain aware of the distinction between what is theoretical and what is practical.
You have quoted Basho, an authentic master: “Sitting silently, doing nothing, and the grass grows by itself.” This is the theoretical position, and every great master will agree with it - that all that is needed is that you sit silently, don’t do anything. On your part doing is not needed. Don’t start pulling the grass in order to make it grow. You simply sit silently, the grass grows by itself.
But this is a theoretical statement. Who is going to teach you to sit silently? That is the most difficult thing in the world. You can do everything very easily, and the easiest thing - to sit silently - seems to be the most difficult.
You will need a master for many reasons. First, as an example; otherwise soon you will find that you cannot sit silently. That’s how the mind works, to console itself: “It is not my fault that I cannot sit silently; it is just human nature. Nobody can sit silently. I have never seen anybody sitting silently doing nothing.”
The first function of the master is to prevent you from drawing such a conclusion. You know at least one man who sits silently. There is one man, at least, who is capable of not doing anything, just being. And if it is possible for one man, it is possible for all men.