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(Genpo Roshi recorded during the “Masters & Mensches II” Retreat, August 4, 2020)
Let me say something about what you brought up, about idealizing, because I do feel it is something we work through. We do do that, we project on our teachers a certain greatness and a certain way of being, and when they don’t live up to that of course we’re disappointed. Now how we take, or how we receive the disappointment is everything.
That’s the key to the practice. Because we’re going to project greatness on our teachers. Why would we study with someone who we don’t feel is great? I’m not going to study with some loser, I’m going to study with someone I think is the greatest. We all pick what we feel is the best for us and the greatest kind of teacher.
So we’re going to project that on the teacher. And we’re going to be disappointed. And we must be disappointed. Otherwise we live with our projections, and we can’t accept ourself for who we are.
That’s my point. When we can be disappointed and see, oh my God, this teacher is a real person, with all kinds of human faults and human foibles, and this doesn’t seem very enlightened and that doesn’t seem very great — when we see that in ourself, that’s when we can accept ourself.
Roshi always used to say ‘I could challenge any teacher, I could find fault with any teacher.’ And you can. That’s the easiest thing, to find fault. But when we can see those qualities that maybe are not what we would like, they’re this or that, they do this too much, not
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