Q. My master’s talk is always excellent and he teaches us very well, but I hear that he sometimes behaves immorally. Should I continue to learn from him?

A. Let’s suppose that you are suffering from a fatal illness. Fortunately, you found a doctor who can cure you of the illness. He is really skilled and talented in saving people from the illness you have, but has a bad reputation as a human: He is a cheat and playboy. You have no evidence for this and have never personally seen him behaving badly. What do you think you should do; refuse to see him because of his immoral reputation thereby losing your life, or be cured by him despite it? I think that you should be helped by him. When you go to see the doctor, you don’t go to see him to evaluate his morality but to be cured by him. What you need from him now is his ability to save you from your challenge and not his perfect morality.

In the same way, you should continue to see your master if he can teach you something that you need. The purpose of your going to him is not to respect him for his exemplary morality but to learn, or get what you need. What is more important here is the Buddha’s teaching, which says that we should not be deluded by words and form. When we see things as they are without being deluded by them, there is nothing that is not the Buddha.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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