The world is full of half-enlightened masters.
Overly clever, too "sensitive" to live in the real world,
they surround themselves with selfish pleasures
and bestow their grandiose teaching 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 master,
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 be able to help others in doing the same.
Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Browne Walker