If you don’t understand by yourself, you will have to find a teacher to get to the bottom of life and death. But unless he sees his nature, such a person is not a teacher.
It is better to call a man who has reached to the highest peaks of experience a master, and leave the word teacher for those who impart knowledge from one generation to another. And master, also has a dignity of its own.
The teacher is almost like a computer. He has read, he has studied, he may have crammed all scriptures but his presence does not indicate that he knows anything. His actions are not arguments for what he says. His sayings come only from the superficial layer of the mind; they are not coming from the innermost core of his being. The teacher cannot teach without words. But the master, on the contrary, cannot teach without silences. If he uses words, it is only to create silence.
The master is a living example of what he is saying. The teacher simply shows a very well-versed, educated mind. The master shows a transformed being, a luminous presence. Anybody who has eyes can see it…his grace, his beauty, his blissfulness, his laughter; even in his silence much is said, without words. Even his silence is a song of the ultimate; even unmoving, he is a dance expressing the dance of the whole universe. The master is so far away from the teacher that it is better to use the word separately.
I would prefer to say: If you don’t understand by yourself, you will have to get a master, because the master knows his own nature. And by knowing his own nature, he also knows the nature of every living being because it is the same nature. By knowing himself, he knows you too. His knowledge, his knowing, is a bridge between him and his disciples.
Even if the teacher can recite the twelve-fold canon, he can’t escape the wheel of birth and death. He suffers in the three realms without hope of release.
Just knowledgeability is not going to give you the experience of your immortality or your eternity or your oneness with the whole. It fills your mind with many words, but it leaves your being empty and hollow. You don’t know anything firsthand, and truth can only be known firsthand. The moment it is secondhand, it is no longer truth; it is just a dead word, with no life.