When you try to teach Zen, kung fu or anything of real value you present it in parts. You can’t present the whole thing because it is incomprehensible to the student. So each student takes what they can and digests what they can. It is like learning the many tributaries of a river and where they lead but not knowing it's source. In music it’s like learning notes and chords and all their variations so you can play songs. When you just know songs you just know by rote but not from the source; you are just repeating or reciting what you’ve been taught but you’re not creating. It is necessary to begin this way but eventually a greater picture must develop. A student who just gets technique after technique or lecture after lecture is just compiling information and not getting to the source. It is the task of the teacher to get the students motivated from within, to create a welling up of essence that blossoms into a new awareness in the student. This is very difficult to do because most students of anything want to cling on to what they’ve been taught. They want to recite their truths or techniques to prove to others what they have learned. They want to accumulate belts and awards as evidence of their knowledge.
There are teachers that parcel out techniques, bit by bit, like they were precious pieces of gold. They don’t want to teach the ‘whole’ thing, give away the entire system because then they have nothing that separates them from the student. There would be nothing that gives them rank or superiority over them. They would lose their prestige or their throne. They do this out of fear because these lessons/techniques are all they have. These are very poor teachers indeed. They themselves have not plunged into the depths of their art and therefore cling to what appears on the surface.
What the real teacher is trying to do is to light that fire within that drives the student to their own fulfillment. One day as the student follows the tributaries, streams and rivers they will all start to merge and he will look up and find himself facing the ocean, the source. He will be amazed and overjoyed, inspired and alive with all of the possibilities that lie ahead. He will dive in
and become the ocean. He will no longer carry techniques or lessons; they willbecome him. He will want to share this awareness not hoard it. And he will struggle to pass on what he sees while his students do not see it. He sees that
we stand at the ocean facing the shore wondering where the ocean is.
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