Interpretation - 解釋 - Jiěshì
You have left one master for another
whose message is alluring, and yet hopelessly ambiguous.
The old sage offered instruction, but advocated strict discipline,
while the new teacher speaks of great lessons, but has given you no path.
With the new, you may treat words any way you please.
With the old, you only feel resentment, for having no quarter.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
It is unfortunate that we need the words of the wise. ~Deng
Words are an essential part to beginning a spiritual path, and yet, they cause problems because they must be interpreted in order to be understood. Words are imperfect, so each generation rewrites itself, in the style of their time.
People love ambiguity, especially in terms of religion. They can interpret anything, any way they want. If they are unsatisfied with a particular teaching, they invent methods to circumvent the thorny issue. This is the reason for the multitude of sects, religious authorities, and schools of thought.
It is no accident, that all of the revered sages of old are dead. They aren't around to correct our misguided notions. The ancient sage cannot change his teachings to fit a modern audience.These deified beings cannot reveal their imperfection to us, in hopes of mitigating our reverent devotion and reaffirming the human component. Of the great scholars which the world places so much importance upon - Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, Lao Tzu - how many proclaimed believers are actually devoted to the wisdom embodied in their holy teachings? How many of these believers are merely holding up a screen, upon which their own ideas are projected?
It is vitally important to spend time with a living teacher, one who can take an active approach, correcting mistakes and applying discipline. But the object of study should not be a creation of a new form of orthodoxy. Rather, you should set a goal to bring yourself to a state of independence. All teachings you have acquired can act as references. The true experience is living your own life. At this point, even the holiest words are only words.