What is the difference between a teacher and a master? A teacher teaches you, he has a doctrine, he has a philosophy. He argues, discusses, proves. A master is himself the proof. He does not argue, he does not propose any philosophy, he does not give you any ethos. He has no commandments. He does not create any should, he does not give you any ideals. In fact, he takes all ideals away. He does not give you a scripture. He teaches you how to burn all scriptures, how to be free of the word, how to be free of theory – because once you are free of the word and the theory and the scripture, you are free to be. Otherwise, thoughts go on clamoring within, thoughts go on clouding within. And thoughts go on distracting you from your center.
A thought is a distraction, any thought – the worldly, the other-worldly. Thought as such is a distraction, it takes you away from yourself. A thought leads you into the world of dreams, illusions, abstractions. It does not allow you to see and feel and be. The whole work of a master is to help you drop off your mind. And all commandments go into the mind, become your memories.
So a master has no message as far as your action is concerned. A master certainly has a message as far as your being is concerned. He teaches you what to be. And he teaches you in a thousand and one ways.
A great Zen master was asked by one of his disciples, “I have been with you three years and you have not taught me anything, sir. When is my teaching going to start?”
The master laughed and he said, “What are you saying? For three years continuously, day in, day out, I have been teaching you. When you bring my tea in the morning, have I not thanked you? When you come and bow down, have I not touched your head? When I go for a morning walk and you come and follow me, have you not been seeing how I walk? Have you not observed that my feet don’t touch the earth? – they are six inches above it. Have you not looked in these three years into my eyes? – these eyes are those of a drunkard. What else do you want? What teaching are you talking about? I have been teaching day in, day out, year in, year out. Sometimes you must have entered into my room when I was asleep, have you not seen me? How a Buddha relaxes? – like a small child. What else do you want? You are waiting for words? Then go to a teacher.”
A master is basically a presence. Even if he speaks, he speaks only to lead you towards the wordless. Even if he talks, he talks you out of language. He tries to talk so that you can be led into a world of no-thought. A master’s teaching is a no-teaching. He does not propose any ideas so that you can cling to them. A master is utterly destructive; a master creates a chaos. He drives you insane as far as your mind is concerned – because when the mind has been driven insane, it stops…and suddenly a new consciousness arises.