And exactly the same is the problem with man. Every man is a bodhisattva. The word bodhisattva means, in essence a buddha. The distance between a bodhisattva and a buddha is the distance between the seed and the flower. It is not much, it just takes a little courage to bridge the distance.
But hidden in the darkness of a cave, who is going to give you the encouragement? Who is going to pull you out from your security? The master’s function is to give you a taste of insecurity, to give you a taste of openness. And once you know that openness, insecurity…. They are basic ingredients of freedom, without them you cannot open your wings and fly in the sky of infinity.
It is absolutely essential to avoid the teachers, they are fake masters. It is very difficult, because they speak the same language. So you have not to listen to the words, you have to listen to the heart; you have not to listen to their doctrines, their logic and arguments, you have to listen to their grace, their beauty, their eyes; you have to listen to and feel the aura that surrounds a master. Just like a cool breeze it touches you. Once you have found your master, you have found the key to open the treasure of your potentialities.
Dogen is talking about this ancient and eternal problem. Dogen says:
In the practice of the highest supreme wisdom, it is most difficult to meet prominent masters.
It is difficult, and if it was difficult in Dogen’s time it has become more difficult nowadays. The world has become more worldly, education has become irreligious, science predominates – and science does not believe in the insight of your being. Our whole culture for the first time in history is absolutely materialistic. It does not matter whether you are in the East or in the West, the same educational pattern has spread all over the globe.
Although you may go traditionally, formally – just as a social conformity – to the temple, to the mosque, deep down you don’t have any trust, deep down there is only doubt. Deep down you are going into the temple not because of any realization, not because you have to show your gratitude to God. You are going there out of fear of the society in which you live – you don’t want to be an outcast. It is simply a social conformity.
It became very clear when in 1917 the Soviet Union went through a revolution. Before the revolution Russia was one of the most orthodox countries in the world. All kinds of superstitions were believed, there were many saints, a great hierarchy in the church. It was absolutely independent from the Vatican, it had its own church. But after the revolution, just within five years, all those beliefs, cultivated for centuries, disappeared. Nobody bothered any more about God.