of half-enlightened masters.
Overly clever, too “sensitive” to
live in the real world, they
surround themselves with selfish
pleasures and bestow their grandiose
teachings upon the unwary.
Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent
upon reaching some spiritual climax, they
constantly sacrifice the truth
and deviate from the Tao.
What they really offer the world
is their own confusion.
The true master understands that
enlightenment is not the end,
but the means. Realizing that
virtue is her goal, she accepts
the long and often arduous cultivation
that is necessary to attain it.
She doesn’t scheme to become a leader,
but quietly shoulders whatever
responsibilities fall to her.
Unattached to her accomplishments,
taking credit for nothing at all,
she guides the whole world by guiding
the individuals who come to her.
She shares her divine energy with
her students, encouraging them,
creating trials to strengthen them,
scolding them to awaken them,
directing the streams of their lives
toward the infinite ocean of the Tao.
If you aspire to this sort of mastery,
then root yourself in the Tao. Relinquish
your negative habits and attitudes.
Strengthen your sincerity.
Live in the real world, and extend
your virtue to it without discrimination
in the daily round.
Be the truest father or mother,
the truest brother or sister,
the truest friend, and the truest disciple.
Humbly respect and serve your teacher,
and dedicate your entire being
unwaveringly to self-cultivation.
Then you will surely achieve self-mastery
and he able to help others in doing the same.