The Right Guru – A Zen Story
A beautiful Zen story that illustrates the difference between an authentic Zen master and one who has other motives…
Story: Zen Masters Yutang and Dayu accepted an invitation to instruct a major official interested in Zen. Master Yutang addressed the official, “You are a naturally intelligent and receptive man. I think you will make a fine student of Zen.”
In contrast, the other master Dayu exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding. This lamebrain may have a high position but he wouldn’t know Zen if he was hit over the head with it.”
Then the major official said, “After listening to your two honorable opinions I have decided what to do.”
In the end, not only did the official not build a temple for Yutang, he built one for Dayu and studied Zen with him.
You go to a Guru because you want to break your limitations, not to establish your limitations. The master who says, “You are great, you are wonderful,” is obviously looking for your money. A Guru is a friend who constantly punctures your ego. Others are friends who constantly pump up your ego. Saying pretty things about people is very easy but the real work of a Guru requires the necessary compassion to point out limitations with the risk that it may earn anger, hatred or wrath, in return. A master takes the risk of losing friendship because he is truly concerned about your wellbeing.
This official is wise because he recognized that. He knows where his wellbeing lies. He is not taken by flattery and pretty words. That is good!