Copying the teacher

By Paulo Coelho

A disciple who loved and admired his teacher decided to observe his behaviour minutely, believing that if he did everything that his teacher did, then he would also acquire his teacher’s wisdom.
The teacher always wore white, and so his disciple did the same.
The teacher was a vegetarian, and so his disciple stopped eating meat and replaced it with a diet of vegetables and herbs.
The teacher was an austere man, and so the disciple decided to devote himself to self-sacrifice and started sleeping on a straw mattress.
After some time, the teacher noticed these changes in his disciple’s behaviour and asked him why.
‘I am climbing the steps of initiation,’ came the reply. ‘The white of my clothes shows the simplicity of my search, the vegetarian food purifies my body, and the lack of comfort makes me think only of spiritual things.’
Smiling, the teacher took him to a field where a horse was grazing.
‘You have spent all this time looking outside yourself, which is what matters least,’ he said. ‘Do you see that creature there? He has white skin, eats only grass and sleeps in a stable on a straw bed. Do you think he has the face of a saint or will one day become a real teacher?’

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  1. Daniel says:

    Amazing, and Enlightening!!!

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    the only way to learn is by seeing where you went wrong and try to remedy it yourself, no one else can do it but you.You are on your own you can follow guidance. It’s up to you to walk the walk though. ,

  3. Lionel says:

    If the man have not a techer or mentor? If the man makes his route alone? If you have no one who you can follow? What to do then? Paulo, the life consists not only by the following the someone’s steps… You were a disciple by one or more mentor why do you refuse to lead the others by their steps? You remember that your teacher said that the man must pass its way with the teacher and repeat it as a mentor. Am I not right?

  4. agnieszka says:

    Dear Paulo,
    I agree with Marie, and others, your blog is too dark.
    LIGHT is what we need :-)

    Please consider changing it – OF COURSE IF YOU DON’T MIND.
    love :-)

  5. ivan says:

    Hola, buenos dias, buenas tardes,buenas noches depende donde se encuentre Don Pablo.
    Tan solo deseo comentar que para empezar el nuevo ano con una referencia como esta es algo unico y esplendido, gracias por compartir su mente con el mundo entero y por hacernos las preguntas que quien sabe, a lo mejor usted se las hiso a si mismo.
    Espero que este nuevo ano traiga Paz y amor a cada ser humano y que sigamos alludandonos unos a otros.
    Saludos a todaos
    por favor cuidence, please take care

  6. Marie says:

    Your blog is too dark. It’s as if you were in “mourning”.
    Please change as it is difficult to read and the print is too small for most of “our generation”!

    The music “Chariots of Fire” is a delightful way to start the New Year and obviously reminds one of the film which was superb and very inspiring.

  7. Tania says:

    Often we admire alot of people in the public eye,sometimes people think if they studied them they could be like them ,as you said dont spend your time looking outside of yourself,your own truth is far more important,allow others to follow their truth , have your own beliefs ,be your own legend .. I think we can learn from others, but you can never be me and I can never be you ….I would love to sell as many books as you ,that would be a God send …but I write about what i believe is my truth ..Every ones truth is inside of themselves . quick question when you said about the disciple wearing what the teacher did,Why if this is not to personal~ Do you always wear Black ..Just something I have noticed ? Blessings Tania :-)

  8. agnieszka says:

    Happy New Year Paulo,
    I’ve missed you a lot.
    This story makes us think about You, as our “teacher”.
    Your thoughts, your books interacts with our thinking,
    our view of life.
    It changed my life for sure, and I am so greateful and so happy that You exist.
    As Your story tells us about devotion to this desciple teacher, I think it’s more than that – it shows great love too, but to love somebody we admire, doesn’t necessary have to mean to behave exactly as the teacher, though it’s tempting sometimes.
    As You wrote, the most important thing is to look and evolve inside.
    If we admire somebody, we look close and see the depth of his/her soul and that’s what important.
    From that we go on.
    We try to see inside our own soul –
    to find this light, to find this love.
    This love – this light – God – will guide you,
    will take you places you would never dream of having.
    I believe that love always win, always was, and always will be.

    I wish you love,
    I wish you smile.
    What do you wish?
    Light in the sky?


  9. Nice post Paulo.. Happy new year..

    Your blog is too dark right now, all dark in dark.. and I can’t read your titles clearly.. please consider changing that if you don’t mind..

    Again nice post..

  10. aditya says:

    Just by copying the symptoms, one cannot expect to come to the same mental state which gives rise to those symptoms. something like what U write Paulo, was indicated towards by Buddha too, when he spoke of marks of enlightenemnt.