PadmaVonSamba wrote:[what is a Zen master skilled at?] one who can lead others to the realization of the true nature of mind.
Masterful at leading students to kensho, basically.
Yes, that's exactly what their role is.
Beyond that, what you do with your training, is up to you.
That's why there is the saying "The Buddhas do but point the way..."
That's all a teacher's role is too, to point the way. To get you to the door. What you do with it from there is up to you,
We each have to do our own training.
Btw Shel, I've never heard a Zen teacher use the term "Mastery" to describe themselves before.
I think you're perhaps just assuming that that term applies here.
The word "Master" is a misnomer. Teacher is a better word.
I'm refering to the term "Zen Master" in this thread because it's a common term people have come to use,
But the term itself has obvious recognized limitations.
The term "Master" likely got started as an early translation of the word "Roshi" or other Japanese or Chinese terms, and then the word just kindof stuck.
People kept using it, because it's what people were familiar with, and so it was better than nothing.
But, generally speaking, as Zen has become more settled in the West, gradually, and steadily, more and more people are dropping it, now that Zen is more familiar and using the terms "Teacher" or "Monk" (if they are a monk), or "Priest" or refering to themselves as "Reverend" So and so, instead of Roshi Soandso.
The term "Roshi" is from the Japanese, and is what "Zen Master" really means and stands for, and so you should know what it really means:
Rōshi (老師?) (Japanese: "old teacher"; "old master"; Chinese pinyin: Lǎoshī) is an honorific title used for a highly venerated senior teacher in Zen Buddhism.
-From Wikipedia, "Roshi".
It's important not to get stuck on early bad translations of Buddhist terms, that have stuck around for familiarity and pop-culture reasons, and forget that they are only bad translations of Japanese terms that are actually in currently being updated in practice.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil
" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy