About masters and teachers

By Paulo Coelho

In one of his Family Conversations, Confucius sets down an interesting dialogue on the subject of learning.

Confucius sat down to rest, and his students immediately started asking him questions. On that day, he was in a good mood and so decided to answer. Someone asked him:

‘You are capable of explaining everything you feel. Why don’t you go to the Emperor and talk to him?’

‘The Emperor himself makes beautiful speeches,’ said Confucius, ‘but beautiful speeches are merely a question of technique, they do not of themselves contain Virtue.’

‘Well, send him your book of poems, then.’

‘Those three hundred poems could be summed up in two words: think correctly. That is the secret.’

‘What does thinking correctly involve?’

‘It’s knowing how to use mind and heart, discipline and emotion. When we want something, life will guide us there, but by unexpected paths. We often feel confused because we are surprised by those paths and think we must be going in the wrong direction. That is why I said, allow yourself to be carried away by emotion, but have enough discipline to follow it through.’

‘Is that what you do?’

‘When I was fifteen, I began to learn. When I was thirty, I knew what I wanted. When I was forty, my doubts resurfaced. When I was fifty, I discovered that Heaven has a plan for me and for each man on the face of the Earth. When I was sixty, I understood that plan and found the serenity to follow it. Now that I’m seventy, I can listen to my heart, but without letting it distract me from the path.’

‘So what makes you different from other men who have also accepted the will of Heaven?’

‘I try to share it with you. And anyone wanting to discuss an ancient truth with a new generation has to use his capacity to teach. That is my one quality, being a good teacher.’

‘And what is a good teacher?’

‘Someone who questions everything he teaches. Old ideas cannot enslave a man, because they change and take on new forms. So let us use the philosophical riches of the past, but without forgetting the challenges that the present world sets before us.’

‘And what is a good student?’

‘Someone who listens to what I say, but adapts my teachings to his life and never follows them blindly. Someone who looks not just for employment, but for a job that brings him dignity. Someone who does not seek to be noticed, but to do something notable.’

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  1. Biju says:


    I wAs searching u in google… finally i found…this is biju… do u remember u

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    bonjour Paulo,All I have is my intuition. I know there is something that is telling me to keep going.I can feel it.
    I had a strange experience 14 years ago,I found myself watching the ethnic channel every afternoon for quite sometimes, it was a soapie,(very bad one,) set up in Brasil. I never had watched anything like that before in my life, I did not believe in those sort of shows, used to think they were stupid – used to think lots of things were stupid at that time –
    I just bought a book about the great philosophers – the lives and ideas of history greatest thinkers. See what the savants have to say.
    Most of the names of the people that are quoted on your blog, I had never heard of. However,somehow I believe I am able to understand what they are conveying and it is all to do with my intuition.I have put your insights into good use.
    Besides I donnu why you make me laugh.It is as simple as that.

    Have a Happy new Year.

  3. Marie-Christine says:

    A few years ago I wrote a little booklet;”Reflections on life” and I sent it to a few of my friends and relatives. I believe my intentions were good, I now realised I had worked it out all in my head but not in my heart.
    “Tu enseignes le mieux, ce que tu as le plus besoin d’apprendre.” I can vouch for that.

  4. Jaya Anitha Abraham says:

    The story bears profound meaning. Reading it leads me to contemplation on what are my virtues as a teacher and as a student

  5. este Web site olha muito agradável mas eu preciso a outra sustentaí§í£o das lí­nguas

  6. Paula says:

    Queridas Carla M e Maria,
    o paulo tem tríªs blogs em portuguíªs neste website:
    vocíªs podem ler 1/ da Bruxa de Portobello aqui:
    Comentarem sobre a newsletter Guerreiro da Luz aqui:
    e Ler sobre a peregrinaí§ao do Paulo ano passado aqui:

    Um abraí§o

  7. Olá Maria Aparecida Pombo Lema!
    Namaste! :)

    Como vai voc� Tudo bem?
    Gostaria muito de pode trocar informaí§íµes contigo. Vou deixar aqui meu endereí§o de e-mail e peí§o que vocíª me escreva, por favor. Aqui está: [email protected]. Ou se preferir, díª uma olhadinha na minha página do MySpace, o link está contido sob o meu nome, no cabeí§alho dessa mensagem, ok? Vamos tentar cruzar nossos caminhos. Acredito que temos coisas para compartilhar.

    Que a Deusa te abení§oe e te proteja sempre!

    Beijo no seu coraí§í£o!

    Marta :)

    P.S.: Obrigada Paulo, pelo carinho e por permitir que eu tente entrar em contato com a Maria Aparecida por aqui. Beijo! :)

  8. …And how I love that Masters and Teachers! :)
    Thank you, Paulo! This message is really beautiful!
    I’m learning so many wise histories and stories here, with you and with your blogs. Knowlegde, wisdom, life experiences… So many interesting things that, sometimes, the “world” seems to forget. And we are rescueing that with you! Thank you million times for that, it’s a very important work that you’re doing. And thanks for your Masters and Teachers too. They’re great. We are great. ;)

    Atma Namaste, Beautiful Souls!

    Be blessed you all!

    Love & Light!


    Marta :)

  9. carla m. says:

    É a primeira vez que venho a este espaí§o e confesso que vou desapontada porque esperava que estivesse escrito em portuguíªs.
    Aproveito para lhe dizer, que é um dos meus escritores preferidos.
    Boa sorte, beijo

  10. […] Acerca de maestros y estudiantes. […]

  11. Maria Aparecida Pombo Lema says:

    Gostaria que Paulo Coelho tivese um blog em portuguíŠs.Preciso de ajuda!Onde poderei trocar informaí§íµes consequidas com minha avó,e trocar por outras,ja que se passaram muitos anos de sua morte.Meus pais sí£o Celtas,e gostaria muito de informaí§íµes a respeito do meu povo,pois estou sozinha nessa area.Me perdoi se estou sendo pretenciosa,mas todos os cursos que eu encontrei no universo da magia ní£o me esclareceram as ideias.Conheí§o alguns ritos para coisas do dia a dia,tambem conheí§o varios tratamentos para dores no corpo,cudados da pele,cosméticos,,rituais das faces da lua,mudaní§a de estaí§í£o.Tudo isso aprendi dentro de casa.Mas falta algo mais que nem eu mesma consigo explicar.As vezes acho que o mistério esta na Galí­cia onde meus pais nasceram,bem ao norte da provincia,mais exatamente em Coruní£ e Leiloio.Por enquanto vou ficando por aqui.Por favor me desculpe pelo atrevimemto,mais foi mais um desabafo ja que todos que eu conheí§o ní£o levam a serio o que digo, a ní£o ser quando desejam revelaí§íµes dos sonhos ou que eu leia suas mí£os.Ate um dia se o Universo da Grande Mí£e assim o desejar.Só por curiosidade meu segundo sobrenome Lema significa “Senhora”,ja que sua origem é GalíŠs.Muitos beijos………