Chapter 9: Duke Hwan and the Wheelright
But with a living person it is impossible unless you have a heart of faith, total faith; and for those who have a heart of total faith Buddha is never the body, alive or dead. He is never the body. Because they penetrate deeply, the Buddha is transparent. He may be in the body but he is not the body; he may be living amongst you but he does not belong to you - he is from somewhere on high. That is the meaning of a Christ, the son of God; that is the meaning of an avatar, a descendance of the divine; that is the meaning of a tirthankara - a buddha. He comes from the invisible, but that can be seen only through the eye of faith. The mind cannot look at it. But when he is dead the mind can project.
So the first thing is that the longer the period, the gap - the more the time between you and Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira - the more your imagination has freedom. You can project, you can create a dream around them. Then they become more a myth and less a reality, then a whole myth is created around them. Then you can worship, then you can listen to them.
But the trouble is that when a buddha is alive he can help you. When a buddha is alive you can imbibe his spirit. When a buddha is alive it is possible for something to be communicated, transferred. But when he is dead, it becomes more and more impossible. Why? Because that which is to be given cannot be given through language. If it can be given through language, then there are scriptures, then there is the word of the buddha. But it cannot be given through the word. The word is just an excuse. Buddha speaks to you: it is just an excuse to create a contact on the plane of the mind. And if you are receptive, something is constantly happening on the side; just between the words, or between the lines, Buddha is reaching to you - that is a living experience.
He has to transfer not a theory, but himself. He has not to communicate a hypothesis, a philosophy, but a living experience, and that is more like a skill and less like a philosophy. Even if you know how to swim you cannot teach somebody just through words. What will you say? Whatsoever you say, you will feel it is not adequate. The only way is to take the disciple with you to the river. First show him how you swim - give him confidence, give him courage - then tell him, come. And if he trusts you, he will come with you. Then by and by let him pass through the experience.
Only experience can teach. And spirituality is just like swimming: you cannot say anything about it. You can describe it, but the description is dead. It is an alive experience. Something happens when somebody is there who knows the skill. He cannot tell it to you, but you can learn. And this is the mystery: he cannot teach it to you, but you can learn if you are receptive.
So remember, more depends on the disciple and his receptivity, and less on the master. He is there, he is present. Now you have to be receptive and imbibe; you have to be receptive and allow; you have to be receptive and let him penetrate into you. If you are afraid the whole being shrinks; you are closed. When you are closed, the master can go on knocking at your door but there will be no response. The more he knocks the more you will shrink and become scared. So he will not even knock because that too is aggression. He will simply wait at the door. Whenever you are ready and open, he can give it to you, he can deliver it instantly. But the disciple has to be ready.