Follow the teachings, not the teacher.

Man falling from the sky - Follow the teachings, not the teacher.


Follow the teachings, not the teacher.

Recently, another public figure many thought was beyond reproach proved herself to be human. This happened to be a well-respected, best-selling author. I admit to being stunned myself.

But why are we surprised?

If you put something (or someone) on a pedestal, rest assured it will eventually fall. It will either be knocked off, pulled down, or take a tremendous swan dive off on its own.

Eventually, gravity always wins.

In her memoir, The Great Failure, Natalie Goldberg wrote about the sexual misconduct of her beloved Zen teacher, Katagiri Roshi. While she lamented his shortcomings and lost followers for making it public, she did not lose faith in the Zen he taught. In fact, she went on to become a Zen priest herself.

People may disappoint you. They may break your heart.

But you know what won’t fail you? The teachings.

And you know what won’t fall? Principles.

We can love our teachers, see them as human, admire their wisdom and effort.

And when one of them crosses a line, we don’t need to throw out all the principles because of their wrong step. What they have taught is not lost even though they may be.

Trust the principles.

Follow the teachings, not the teacher.

People may fail you. Principles will not.