Punk Zen Priest
FIle under: Real True Gurus
The Guruphiliac list is on a roll. Long-time list traveller Andrew Macnab turns up with Hardcore Zen, the blog of punk rock filmmaker and Zen master Brad Warner:
When you get to be a Zen Master, people are always quick to try and give you power. People try it with me constantly. I had a e-mail a couple weeks ago from some guy who desperately wanted me to show him the way to Enlightenment. Obviously he hadn't been reading what I write. But, be that as it may, what he wanted was to give me the power to bestow this thing called Enlightenment upon him.In our years traversing satsang culture, we've found the lion's share of those who pay lip service to the search for enlightenment are really only looking to score a bit of self-acceptance. Finding a guru who will give you brownie points may naturally seem the surest route to achieving that goal. While self-acceptance in and of itself is not a bad thing, a good psychotherapist is way more qualified to help you find it than a guru. Any guru in the self-acceptance business isn't doing his/her job, which is to show you that any self seeking acceptance of itself, is itself ultimately illusory.
There are plenty of people out there who are all too happy to accept such power. They train their students to have certain kinds of experiences which they then helpfully label for them as "steps on the path to Enlightenment." Once the student's racked up enough of these, the Master bestows his blessings and the student gets to lord it over on someone else. And so the cycle of sickness continues.
A good Zen teacher will toss the power you attempt to hand him right back at you like a hot potato. For the student this is extremely frustrating. When it happened to me, I hated it. Hated it. Wanted desprately to find someone who would take my power from me, so I could relax and let him take the blame for everything. I mean, how can you possibly know if you are progressing unless your teacher tells you you're progressing? How indeed? But the idea of "progress" is one of the things you need to give up. You will never progress. Not one bit. You will never reach Enlightenment. And if you do, you can be sure it's a scam.
Do you want the Great Master to give you Brownie Points? Cuz if you do, you just might get 'em. That's where the trouble starts...