Monday, May 31, 2010

The Wanderings - A Time in the Sun

Now at the departure of King Ching Chi there had been many tears and warm embraces, for it was no idle talk when he had declared Chen Jen as his father and Tzu-yu as his elder brother. Nor were his sentiments unreciprocated. Yet there was much joy as well for each one knew that for King Ching Chi it was a new beginning ripe on the vine and ready for harvest. “Long have you lived in our shadow,” said Chen Jen at their parting, “and now is your time to step into the sun and realize the unique wisdom that dwells in your heart. So go now and find harmony in the Tao within.”

Even as he made his way down the road, still his eyes streamed with tears — tears of joy for the prospect of his new adventure. For though he had learned much of wisdom in fellowship with the best, deep in his heart he knew he had still not found rest. And he saw that a life of peace and quiet joy lay before him.

It was not many days, at the set of the sun, that King Ching Chi was again in the rustic home of the farmer. And seeing their great pride at the return of a sage, he knew in his heart that he was no sage at all, and in this he was amazed that it could bring him such joy. For in their deep humility he realized openness, and that this and surrender to the great mystery were the key to it all. And only then did he understand that a sage who thinks himself a sage is no sage at all.

So given was he to tears that he needed a diversion, and so brought out his gifts which were accepted in wonder. For the family he had brought a tiny porcelain lamp of delicate beauty, and this was placed on their altar that before had seemed bare. And for the boys he had toys and for the girls ribbons.

In the morning he learned that it was time for the rice harvest and refusing all attempts to be coddled, he joined them in the fields from the dark of the morning till the dark of the night and learned quickly the rigors of life on a farm! And though he scarcely could move for the ache of his muscles, he faithfully joined them throughout a long week.

But thinking of the forest vale and the wild hermit who lived therein, King Ching Chi determined to be on his way. So after a few days to allow his muscles to recover, he set off down the road toward that hidden path. “I am going to the forest and hope there to remain,” he told the farmer and his family, “but if ere I return this way, it will be with the greatest of joy to see you again.”

It was a long path to the forest vale but an exciting one for King Ching Chi, for the deeper into the forest he went the more at one with it and the world he felt. And when he finally reached the wild hermit’s hut he was not at all surprised to hear him exclaim: “It gladdens my heart to see who you are, for you are a different man now than only recently left!”

At this King Ching Chi broke again into tears and said, “Forgive me, dear friend, for now oft do I cry and I do not know the why!”

“But there is nothing to forgive!” exclaimed P’o-tzu. “It is not only the sorrowful who are ready to tears, but also those being transformed by the touch of the Tao! Come then, and join me here on this log and tell me of your adventures and those of your companions.”

And so King Ching Chi told him of all that had come to pass and then gave him the gifts with which he had come laden. And seeing the ink and the silks upon which to apply them, the hermit was deeply moved and said, “If the inspiration arises and this hand is guided, the first effort will be yours to adorn your new walls!”

And though the hermit made clear that he was welcome to share his hut, King Ching Chi began that very day to search the forest there about for a suitable place to build one of his own. But when he did not return, not even in the morning, the hermit went looking and soon found what remained. For he had fed the tiger that very first day. “You were a lucky man indeed,” exclaimed P’o-tzu, “for no sooner had you found Tao then you became one with the forest!”

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