There is another point I want to make here.
There are many, many teachers plying their goods, building Satsang’s, writing books, giving retreats, wanting to change the world through the force of their personality and teachings. They are like many little Satans in sheep’s clothing, speaking sweetly, being warm, cuddling and smiling, while calculating the size of their sangha, and the night’s receipts from Satsang. They manipulate, cajole, and sweettalk students into giving money and work, and they give them crap and return, just the very basic teachings and a warm and friendly smile. But they are useless even to themselves. They have no advanced knowledge of themselves. They can only teach the useless knowledge that picked up from books or from other third-rate teachers that they learned from.
But even more so, a good or potentially great student is almost impossible to find now. Most are just interested in accumulating teachings from books and from random Satsang’s or retreats. They may spend three months or four months at an ashram and leave, because they were not paid what they considered the proper respect to great students like they are. So much narcissism nowadays, students expect masters to bow to them for paying attention to them.
Therefore I tend to be hard on students. The pursuit of enlightenment is the most arduous, dangerous, and perilous life. There is so many pitfalls, so many false paths, so many false leads, so much bullshit in terms of methods, techniques, Shaktipat, true and false, that leads their heads swimming trying to figure everything out so they add their own speculation onto all the false knowledge being given to them. So if you can see through the false, and to survive and go on to real realization of any depth, they have to develop discriminatory intelligence rather quickly, and see the fool for the fool, and not be a fool following an immature teacher.
The best Zen teacher I studied with this is Sasaki Roshi, because he would not tolerate fools, and his teaching method was very strict. Fools were not allowed to stay in his centers. Only those who really wanted to deeply studies in. There was an extraordinary amount of discipline required of the student, many demands made on them as he deepened in their understanding of Zen.
Robert was an entirely different style teacher. On the outside he was very silent but friendly, a kindly looking old man that everyone could identify as a father that they wanted, whose long stairs and fumbling speaking drought a kind of fondness is students. But students never stayed. They could not understand Robert. They could not understand it when he said, “you do not exist. You are not a human. You are not your body. The world is an illusion it does not exist.” And he meant it.
When people met him privately for lunch or otherwise, he listened as a blabber about all their problems, and he tried to give sage advice to their petty concerns., But hardly a one grew up under his tutelage. The novelty of hearing “you do not exist. You are only consciousness. Only consciousness exists. Your body is unreal.” Goes away after a while because you do not know what the hell he means, see you take it as a kind of joke pointing to something deeper. But he was being literal. He spoke from his point of view which is of being beyond consciousness but that all that existed was in consciousness, but he as outside of consciousness did not exist, and neither did you, but you did not know it. How many people really want to know they do not exist? How many want to transcend life and death really?
Not one in 10,000 students has the gumption or the drive to really progress and develop spiritual discipline, and spiritual discrimination that allows them to eventually become their own guru. And of those one and 10,000, literally only one in 10,000 will become enlightened—at most! Something will always hold them back. Lack of emotional maturity is one reason? Clingings or Vasanas will hold you back from even letting go of the body and identifying with consciousness or as consciousness within the universal consciousness. You hang onto the body because it has a permanence that your mind does not have. Mind flickers and flickers, and even consciousness disappears at night, so there is the belief in the body as being more real and more permanent than consciousness. So it is very hard to let go of the body. Not one in 100,000 will ever let go of their body, maybe not one in a million-really let go of their body.
It is even harder to let go of consciousness, because once you attain identity with consciousness the happiness and bliss is so powerful that it makes you swollen and fall at the feet of the divine in total devotion and surrender. Who wants to give that up to find that absolute one that stands behind all? The only one that will do that is the one that sees that consciousness itself is an illusion. One that sees that consciousness flickers and is not sustained. When the body dies, the consciousness associated with that body dies also, no matter how joyful or blissful that entity was one minute before death. Therefore how many are willing to let go of that ecstatic state of union with God? Not one in 10,000. Read what Bernadette Robert said about “the catastrophe” of leaving unitary consciousness, Christ consciousness, and proceeding into no self, nothingness. It was a horrible experience for her, as it was for U. G. Krishnamurti, who also called it the calamity. Your entire world falls apart, your entire consciousness becomes a stranger to you is the ultimate witness. Yet so few understand the complete and utter peace and rest that comes with that state of having lost everything, given everything up, becoming complete, having no pangs, having all loves, having no desires. How many would give up God realization for this state of completeness? One in 10,000?
Therefore, I tell you the truth, but really so few are ready to hear the truth. So few are ready to hear that the path to self-realization, and the further path to nothingness requires great discipline, great dedication, great perseverance, and through that one develops inner strength and also spiritual discrimination. But most of the people that come now are newbies, they do not have a clue as to who they are or where they are going, and have no idea of the life of spiritual seeking that lies before them and the disappointments, headaches, and sufferings entailed in order to garner even a small bit of discrimination.
You see, in a sense those who succeed are great men and women. They are spiritual heroes. They are not the ordinary run of human being. They been bitten deeply by a need to understand themselves or to know God, and they gained and the ability to introspect into their own subjectivity and from that complex experience of self to ferret out the various states and experiences found by going within, and are able to do that fearlessly, tirelessly, with great determination, and ability to struggle and struggle and struggle, until their own self, their deep self, shows that the nature of consciousness and what lies beyond.
Strangely, sometimes that bite of the snake of self-knowledge does not come until later in life, after a long life of immersion in a normal human world in a normal human existence. Take for example, Leonard Cohen. I met him in 1970 at Mount Baldy’s and center but we were both studying under Sasaki Roshi. He was probably about 40 at the time. He was fed up with life but eventually became a Zen monk. I do not think he ever made it. I do not think he ever found what he was looking for, his self. I am not sure he even was fully acquainted with emptiness.
But the famous Zen master Joshu, historically did not get the bug to seek himself, to understand himself, to attain great Satori until the age of 60. According to history he lived to be over 120, and when asked what his experiences were, he stated I had 17 major Satoris, and thousands of little ones.
This is what a teacher looks for, not the newbies to teach kindergarten methods, and kindergarten understanding about the nature consciousness, because most spiritual students are looking for more than a better life, happier life, or sex, or ecstasies, etc. they are not really looking to understand themselves, nor have they any idea how difficult it is to escape from their mind and their concepts.
Are there any of you out there that have that capacity to be a spiritual hero? It takes someone who has been bitten deeply by the snake of self-knowledge, and easily throws away where they are in life everything that they have, drops at all, and starts the long path to finding the self.
All the others, I just warn them, that the way of seeking is difficult, fraught with perilous mistakes, suffering, emotional pain, feeling misused and abused, when in fact only their desires are being thwarted. I tell them the odds of successfully becoming enlightened. I warned him about people who say they are already enlightened and there is nothing to do, or people who say there is no separate self so all is good. But I really cannot help them. They are not strong enough, or they lack courage, they lack discrimination, or they are filled with fear can only take baby steps.