A Zen master said, “Sitting silently, doing nothing, and the grass grows by itself.” Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourself.” I agree in toto. So what is the need for a master? Cannot an intelligent and courageous man walk alone?
How to explain what a master is in a country where “master” only means “one who owns people”?
There is no need for a master.
An intelligent and courageous man can walk alone – but he will have to walk many lives before he comes to the point. With a master the long journey can be cut short.
Walking alone, you don’t know where you are going. You know where you want to go, but there is no map. And there are not paved roads to the truth. As you walk you make the path; it is not already there. And there are thousands of doors.
The person who is walking alone will have to knock on each of the doors; and all the doors don’t lead to the truth. There is only one door in those thousands of doors which leads to the truth. A man walking alone will have to depend on some coincidence that he happens to knock on the right door; otherwise he will have to eliminate all the wrong doors by knocking on them, finding that they are not the right one, until finally all wrong doors are eliminated, and only the right one is left.
This can take thousands of lives. The journey will be infinitely long – so long that the courageous man may lose courage, the intelligent man may get fed up with all that. And rather than reaching the goal, he may turn his back on the whole pilgrimage.
Yes, it is possible without a master, but the difficulties are tremendous. The master does not lead you to the truth because he has already traveled the path: he has already found the right door, the right method. He can help you to eliminate the wrong doors.
In other words the function of the master is not to give you the truth but to make you aware what is false, to make you aware what is not truth. He cuts your journey down to the shortest possible way.
And a master is not a person who owns people. One who owns people is not a master at all: he is a politician. He is on a power trip.
A master can only be a master if he does not own people, but loves them.
Love never owns. Love gives without asking anything in return. Love makes no conditions. Love has no expectations.
A master is only a friend. He is not higher than the people he is leading towards a certain experience. He has no superiority complex. He does not create any guilt, any inferiority, any kind of spiritual slavery – because these are the barriers to finding the experience he is teaching.
Only an independent, totally autonomous being, living in freedom, can attain to the experience of truth.