Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali, three languages used in the past by the enlightened people of this land, have a very rich vocabulary as far as inner experiences are concerned. The West today has a very exact language to express scientific research, discoveries, inventions and technologies, but the Eastern languages don’t have this. However, as far as the interior experience is concerned, the Eastern languages are immensely rich while the Western languages are absolutely poor. Of these three languages, Sanskrit has been used by the Upanishads and the Hindu mystics, Prakrit has been used by Mahavira and all the Jaina mystics and masters, and Pali has been used by Gautam Buddha.
Just for the word teacher, they have many words, all with slight differences. The first word is sikshak; that means a man who only imparts information. He may know, he may not know – that is irrelevant. But his information is correct; he is a man of the mind.
The second word, which goes a little deeper into experience, not just information, is adhyapak. That teacher is not only an informer but he himself is informed. It is not only a mental thing for him; it is part – but only a part – of his heart, too.
And the third word is upadhyaya which goes a little more deeper into experience. This teacher’s information is more alive than the previous two. He has traveled the path, but he has not reached the goal.
And then finally the acharya, who has reached the goal, and the information that he imparts is his own experience. He is his own authority, his own argument; his own presence is the whole evidence.
But in English there is only one word, teacher, which is used for all kinds of people. The other word is master, which is not used very much by the English speaking people themselves. But I would like to use the word master, equivalent to the word acharya: One who knows, not only through mind, but through experience.
Most of the sutras in this part are unpolluted. The disciple has simply noted them down as Bodhidharma must have spoken them.
If you don’t understand by yourself, you will have to find a teacher…
Instead of teacher, the word master would be right because a teacher is one who teaches you about things of the outside world. Even if he teaches about the inner experiences, it is borrowed. He may be knowledgeable but he is not knowledge itself. To make the distinction, the translator has made the point in a different way.