Charlatans - 騙子 - Piànzi
A throne, a scepter,
and throngs of followers
do not impress the truly pious.
Exquisite robe of scarlet,
a silken symbol of spirit,
from declared morality.
A purveyor of easy answers,
"Pay up, then go ahead and sin away.
Forgiveness only costs a gold piece a day."
Declaring a purge, of responsibility,
so long as money is exchanged
defeats the purpose of piety.
No longer a choice towards good,
but the lesser of many evils.
All kinds of priests fall prey
to the corrupting influence of capital,
regardless of their respective faith.
When such a holy man succumbs,
and falls so far from grace,
rationalizations repair surface damage
while the disease runs its course.
A cruel caricature clothed in finery
claims to speak on behalf of a higher power-
"Whatever you feel, indulge."
"Whatever you do, worship."
There are far too many charlatans in spirituality. If you meet such self-proclaimed masters, be wary. The way they present themselves, they may seem easy-going, but do not fall for a pretext. Why should spirituality be judged separately from other entrepreneurial ventures? We should never give the self-proclaimed faithful a
free pass on principles or the benefit of the doubt when it comes to character. We should be skeptical of all those who seek to convince us of their truth.
Achieving spiritual growth is no easy matter. The student must be dedicated to put the necessary effort forth. Spirituality is not imparted merely by being in the presence of a master. Yet people too often fall prey to this logic.
"Everything is going to be different..." They do not realize the fundamental flaw of this perspective. In mass gatherings, underlying hysteria may be brought to the surface and exploited to form a herd mentality. The master proclaims this shared anger to be holy and only in need of expression. Whatever is said, however, the master cannot directly touch the soul of his students. They must learn on their own.
Tao is only gained by the self. Masters are hard to find, and Good Masters even harder still. This is because following the path is extremely difficult, and the individuals who do so must possess intense, solitary discipline. They must find a source of strength within if they wish to grow. Daily work must be put in in order for rewards to be manifested. Indulgence is not Tao; do not delude yourself. True Tao can only be gained through understanding and strength, so before you go and seek out a master, start working with your self.