Drunk in Yoga and Zen

Drunk

A great spiritual teacher used to live in obscurity as a beggar, and his pupils did the same. One disciple, a good speaker, having completed the training and received his teacher’s mandate, began speaking in market-places. His words had a tremendous effect, and the ecclesiastical authorities made inquiries about him. In the end they found out what a great teacher he had had, and pressed him to accept a high office.

The teacher in his poor clothes came to the inauguration ceremony, and, looking at the magnificence in which his disciple was now robed, said, ‘You don’t need those things to tell people the holy Truth. It’s a sort of intoxication – you and them both.’

Thereafter the disciple, even when he became what corresponds to an archbishop, dressed as plainly as he could. But for a big ceremony he had to wear one of the splendid formal robes. On one occasion he was passing, magnificently dressed, in a procession on the way to a great temple where there was to be an important ordination rite. A beggar stood watching them go by. The attendants were amazed when suddenly the door of the litter was thrown open and the gorgeous embroideries dragged in the dust as their wearer prostrated himself at the feet of the beggar.

The beggar picked him up, looked at him with affection and muttered, ‘Drunk again!’

 

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