Real Zen should be hidden, I thought for many years. The True Master is supposed to live in his cave high up in the mountains, or in his thatched roof hermitage deep in the forest. Not affected by worldly matters and hard to access even for the dedicated seeker of The Way. He won’t share his wisdom unless The One Student gives a blood and flesh proof of his unequivocal commitment. And even then, The Master will only teach him how to cook rice and wash his bowl …
I feel much ashamed today for not considering earlier why those generous people who willingly shared all their art and wisdom with me, were exactly not living hidden away, and not particularly hard to access. My teachers all preferred to live in the cities, teaching here and there all over the place, maybe had a web-page on-line and flyers distributed. You could just call them on the phone and come … and by no means they were not True Masters of their art!
In the famous Ten Ox Herding Pictures, the spiritual development from a first aimless search until full Enlightenment is depicted.
The tenth and last picture of this series, interesting enough, is not showing a Saint living far away from the world on a mountain top or in his forest. It displays a kind and funny person with a big belly, happily sharing with other people on the market-place what he brought along in his bag.
The True Master is only hidden to those who can’t see and search too far away … he or she might just be here, right amongst us, big belly out and laughing!