Friday, 11 April 2014


It seems to me that the person with real understanding, true enlightenment with regard to states of being and ways of living, avoids the concept of "guru" as one would avoid a mad dog. The cult of personality is like a lethal and easily-caught virus, and you don't have to belong to some horrible cult to come across it in those seeking to dispense wisdom, especially wisdoms that can't be "dispensed."

Shunryu Suzuki was a Zen Buddhist teacher who settled in California and worked at a zen centre there. 

One morning a student at the centre arrived early and was horrified to find the Zen Master cleaning the toilet. He asked Suzuki to let him take over such a menial and unpleasant task. Suzuki merely said "Why don't you go and make the coffee?"

Gautama Buddha is believed to have told his followers "Be your own light." 

Any true teacher doesn't want the people s/he is working with to follow his example, or to use his ego to dominate them. S/he wants them to shine their own light into every corner, question everything, work for their own understanding.

Here's poor old Brian, in the Life Of same, telling his followers not to follow him, they are all different, they are all individuals:


But it's hard, especially when times are uncertain, to work through Big Stuff with your own devices. We like to be led. Brian's followers - well, you know the response:

"Yes! We are all individuals!" (In unison...) 

The difficulty lies in an internal conflict; to be widely-regarded as having unusual insights, powers or authority is to receive ego-inflating responses from those who feel they have benefitted from your particular kind of leadership. It is a pleasant thing, to be told you have helped others. It reinforces your sense of self-worth. 

But what many people want from such a leader-figure is a way of lessening the clamour of ego, and if the leader-figure shows just the kind of egocentric insensitivity s/he is supposed to be leading us all away from, the result is: disillusion.


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