Bokuju said, “Yes, I am following him.”
But the man who asked the question was disturbed because it was well known all over the country that Bokuju was not following his master at all. So the man said, “Are you trying to deceive me? Everyone knows and you are also aware that you are not following your master at all, and still you say that you are following. What do you mean?”
Bokuju said, “I am following my master – because my master never followed his master. This is what I have learned from him. He was himself!”
This is how a Buddha, a Jesus is to be followed. This is how! They are unique! If you are really following them, you must be unique.
Buddha never followed anyone, and he achieved enlightenment only in that moment when he had completely stopped following. When he became himself, when he left all paths, all teachings, all doctrines, then he could achieve. If you follow him, you are not following him. It is not paradoxical, it only looks so. If you follow him as a dead routine, if you imitate him, you are not following him. He never followed anyone, and only then could he become the peak. Understand him, don’t follow him; and then a subtle following will happen. But that is inner – not an imitation.
In Nietzsche’s great work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last message of Zarathustra to his disciple is “Beware of me. Now I have told everything that was to be told to you. Now beware of me. Don’t follow me; just forget me. Leave me and go away.”
This is the last message of all the great masters. No great master would like to make you a puppet because then he is killing you. He is a murderer then. He will help you to be yourself. And if you cannot be yourself in the intimacy and communication with your master, then where will you be yourself?
The master means an opportunity for you to be yourself. Only small minds, narrow minds who pretend to be masters and who are not masters, will try to impose themselves on you. Great masters will help you to grow on your own path, and great masters will create every barrier so that you don’t become a victim of following. They will create every barrier! They will not allow it because your tendency will be to follow. It is easy, imitation is easy; to be authentic is arduous. And when you imitate you don’t feel responsible for it, the master is responsible. No great master has ever allowed anyone to imitate. He will create every hindrance so that you cannot imitate him. He will throw you by every means to yourself.