Gakudo-yojin-shu (6) No. 5 It is very important for us to select the true Master.
The meaning of the title above is that reading words of Masters in the past, they say that if the first attitudes of pursuing the truth are not ture, even though we might make our efforts of practice so hard, eventually we have to supply our enormous efforts for doing useless effects at last.
It is necessary for us to say that this teachings are eaxactly ture. It might be true that effects of Buddhist practice must be decided by the difference whether the leading Masters are true, or not.
It seems that the difficulty of educating Buddhist students can compare to an example that whether the materials of fine arts are good or bad, and in such a situation we can think that the standpoint of the teachers are similar to the position of fine artists, who utilize the stuff.
Even if the materials were so excellent, when it is difficult for materials to get excellent artists, it is completely impossible for those materials to get good works of art.
Even if we have to use some strangely-winded materials, when we can meet an artist, who is so excellent in his ability, then we can get so excellent works of art from the strange materials finally.
In the case of pursuing the Buddhist truth, there are serious differences, whether their conclusions are true, or false, relying upon whether their teachers are true, or not.
However, in our country, in Japan, it seems that the true Buddhist Master hasn't manifested himself yet.
With what reason, can we grasp such unfathomable facts?
We can suppose such kinds of unfathomable facts by reading the descriptions, which Buddhist teachers wrote in the past.
The situations of our supposition are similar to the facts that we can research the situations of water at the upper part of a river by investigation of scooping water at the lower part of the river.
Even in our country, since the ancient time until now many numbers of Buddhist teachers have edited Buddhist books, teached students, and guided people and gods on the earth and the heaven, but the words, which they expressed, seems to be too young, and their expressions are very immature, and so they have not arrived at even the top of the intellectual research, and so how is it possible for them to arrive even at the vicinity of practical experience at all?
They pass on only words of sentences to their students, or have their students recite only titles of Buddhas', or sutras, without getting any merit so much as a penny, as if they were calculating property of others.
The responsibility of Masters in the former ages were like that.
In some cases they teach others that a right conclusion exists at the place, where there is no mind, and in some cases they teach others that we should reborn in the different world other than this.
From those situations of their teachings, which we can perceive clearly, miscellaneous kinds of perplexities and confusion occur, and many kinds of wrong ideas are also related with those facts closely.
For example when a doctor gave very excellent medicine to a patient, if the docter does not know the method to restrain the side effects of the medicine, the excellent medicine might become serious cause of another sickness, and so it would be much more worse for us than to drink some kind of poison itself actually.
Generally speaking in Japan it seems that there were no doctor, who has been able to give good effective medicin to a patieht from the ancient time at all, and an able Master, who could give his students excellent teachings to cure the poisonus wrong teachings, hasn't appeared at all yet.
From those situations, it was so difficult for Japanese teachers to throw away the diseases, which occured from the causes, which I described above, and so it seems that how is it possible for them to avoid suffering from aging and dying?
Those inability of Buddhist teachers in Japan, all belong to their own inferiority, and it does never come from inferiority of students for their own worse nature at all.
The reason, why I insist such a kind of opinion, comes from that people, who have ability to become Masters of others, have tendency to recommend their students throwing away the fundamentally important problems, and having their students pursue the trivial problems, and so such a kind of unhappy effects have occured.
Those teachers have their common tendency that, before they have grasped the fundamental Truth by themselves exactly, utilizing their own immature ideas one-sidedly, and they have others fall down and enter into the wrong states without any reason at all.
It is actually very pitiful situation, but even the teachers, who have been talented becoming teachers for others, recommend their students to pursue getting the enlightenment, which does not have any relation with mental function, or recommend their students to make their efforts to become reborn into the world, which is different from this world. In such a situation, how is it possible for their students to recognize whether it is completely wrong, or not, for them to pursue the true enlightenment at the place, which is perfectly irrelevant to mind, or whether it is completely wrong, or not, for them to be reborn into the perfectly different world from this world?
It is very sad facts that in Japan, even though it is a very small country far remote from the civilized countries, Gautama Buddha's teachings are not so much purvaded throughout the country yet, and the true Masters haven't appeared in it.
If we would like to study the teachings of Gautama Buddha, which are the highest teachings of the world, it might be very nice method for us to visit excellent priests in the Sun Dynasty of China.
It is very nice method for us to reflect the world of action, which is far distant from mental functions. In the case, when it is impossible for us to get the true Buddhist Master, it might be much better for us not to study Buddhism at all.
Generally speaking, a person, who is called the true Master, is not related whether he is old, or not, or whether his career in Buddhism is long, or not. The true Buddhist Master is called a person, who has become perfectly clear in understanding the true contents of Gautama Buddha's teachings, and who has received the distinct certificate from an authentic Master.
Knowledge of letters is not so important, and the theoretical understandings are not so important. But the true Buddhist Master has excellent power, which is much superior to ordinary people, having unusual determination, without being restricted by his own opinion, without hesitation in his own emotional viewpoint, but whose action in his daily life is perfectly identified with his own understanding Gautama Buddha's teachings, is just the real situations of a person, who is called exactly the true Buddhist Master.
In the nearest part of the end in this chapter, Master Dogen says that "In the case, when it is impossible for us to get the true Buddhist Master, it might be much better for us not to study Buddhism at all." The meaning of the sentence is that if it were impossible for us to get a true Buddhist Master, it is much better for us not to study Buddhism at all. And this idea is very important. To study Buddhism is just our own efforts to pursue the Truth by sacrificing our own life totally, and so if it is just the Truth, which we are pursuing, then we are very happy, but if it is not the Truth, which we are pursuing, it might be very serious, because we have to pursue the wrong teachings throughout our whole life believing as if it were the Truth. In the latter case we have to lose our long whole life for pursuing the wrong theory, and so we have to sacrifice our whole life, which is just only one life for us, to pursue something completely wrong.
Therefore Master Dogen proclaimed that we should never study Buddhism under a Master, who does not understand Buddhism truly and exactly, because by doing so we have to lose our total life by making our efforts for completely wrong or useless aim.
Thinking about such concrete and real examples, we should think about the problems sincerely, and we should never study Buddhism under a wrong Buddhist teacher.
Since 15th September I have lengthened the time of Zazen pracice in the morning from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and I am enjoying the good effects of it.