In one small village there were two brothers, twin brothers. One was a doctor and the other was a priest, and the whole village always had difficulty in recognizing which was which. A stranger had come to the town. He saw both of them and he could not believe his eyes. They were not exactly alike, but they used to have the same clothes, the same hairstyle, and it was almost impossible to make a distinction. He approached one of them and said, “Is there a way to distinguish between you two? Only you can say…”
This brother was the doctor, and he said, “Yes, there is only one way: he preaches and I practice!”
The false teacher only preaches. If you look at his practice you will be very much disappointed; he goes against his own statements continuously.
Thirdly – and this needs a little more intelligence and awareness to see – the false teacher is always hesitant. He himself is not certain whether what he is saying is true or not because it is all borrowed. But the true teacher is an absolute authority. What he says he means, and he says only that which he means.
The teacher is only paying lip service to all the good things that you have been told. You will not find any original freshness; he stinks of dead corpses, very ancient corpses. The authentic master has a freshness, a newness. You may go on hearing him for ages, but you will never feel that he is stale because it is always coming from the original source.
Consider the things that Ta Hui wants to point out to you:
Old P’ang said, “Just resolve to empty all that exists: don’t make real all that does not exist.” Just master these two propositions, and your whole life’s task of study is completed.
With the masters you will always find something strange, because you are unfamiliar with their world; it is untrodden. With the teachers you will find very familiar things which you already know – you have heard them. In every church the same sermon, in every temple the same discourse; the whole atmosphere is filled with old and rotten statements.
With the real master you will always find something strange, some wildflower which does not grow in ordinary day to day gardens. Its taste, its fragrance, its color, its form – everything will have a newness.
Now what master P’ang says is absolutely unique. Nobody has ever said that: “Just resolve to empty all that exists.” He is making two statements. And in those two statements, Ta Hui says, your whole religion is complete: “Resolve to empty all that exists: don’t make real all that does not exist.”
But people are doing just the opposite: they go on creating the unreal – that which does not exist. What do you know about God? Yet millions of people every day are praying to a fiction. It is pathology. What do you know about heaven and hell? But they have entered deep into your psychology: you are greedy for heaven, afraid of hell – and these are all nonexistent things.