Excerpts from "Zen Without Zen Masters"
Copyright 1977 by Camden Benares
From I. Guides and Lovable Fools
There are many individuals who are liberated or who appear
to be so. Some of them seek disciples because they have not
heeded Nietzsche, who said, "What? You seek followers? You
would multiply yourself by ten, by a hundred, by a thousand?
Seek zeroes!" Remember this and know that any system of
liberation may work once, for one individual.
Masters And Teachers
When asked about masters and teachers, Ho Chi Zen always had
this to say: "The Old Fox can learn more from the young Fool
than the Young Fool can ever hope to learn from the old
When an interviewer asked Mal if his teaching was serious or
humorous, Mal replied, "Sometimes I take humor seriously and
sometimes I take seriousness humorously. Either way it is
The interviewer responded by proposing that Mal was crazy.
Mal grinned and said, "Indeed! But don't reject these
teachings just because I am crazy. I am crazy because they
Ben and The Fanatic
In his teachings, Ben stressed that Zen was his path because
it allowed him to be himself. All the other routes that
allegedly lead to cosmic consciousness seemed to put him in
conflict with his own nature. He advised all seekers to
examine carefully what each system asked of the potential
initiate, keeping in mind three rules:
1. What you are required to believe is what the system
2. Anything that you are asked to keep secret is of more
value to the teacher than to the student.
3. Any practice that is forbidden offers something that the
system cannot successfully replace with an alternative.
One listener asked, "Don't you believe that giving up the
pleasures of the senses will produce a different
"My personal experience," Ben replied,"was that it produced
the consciousness of fanaticism."
Ben was once asked how he expected anyone to take some of
his teachings seriously when they provoked so much laughter
from his listeners. he replied, "Laughter is the only
genuine form of applause."
A Common Disease
By surrounding himself with true believers, Waldo fell into
the trap of taking himself too seriously. This led to
unhappiness and ill health. When he asked Ralph, one of the
few who had penetrated his multilevel cover stories, what he
thought the problem was, Ralph replied, "You're suffering
from hardening of the orthodoxies."