Friday, May 28, 2010

The Wanderings - The Wild Hermit, Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 of this story, you should go back to read it first.

“Tell us, Master,” asked King Ching Chi, “how long have you lived here in this wonderful home?”

“How long?” he mused. “How long? Long? Long. Yes, I have lived here long. But years and months and days—I count them not. Isn’t each moment all that lives in me?
Yes, I live each moment and count them not.”

“And have you always been alone?” asked Tzu-yu.

“Alone?” he mused again, “Alone? But I have never been alone. There is all this forest and its many friends. And the sun and moon and stars at night. And the Tao. Yes, the Tao! The Tao that is all these things and all the things that are! What is alone? I know it not.”

“I am deeply honored, Sir, to share of your spirit and presence,” continued Tzu-yu. “What I meant to ask was whether you have had the company of men such as yourself.”

“Ah,” said he. “Yes, I had a dear companion who helped me build this very home. But he fed the tiger long ago.”

“But that’s horrible!” exclaimed King Ching Chi.

“Horrible? Horrible? No, it was not horrible. The tiger was hungry and so he ate. My friend walked in the forest and so he was prey. This is how it is with tigers, as you must surely know.”

“But surely you must miss him?” continued King Ching Chi.

“Miss him?” he again mused. “Miss him? Well, Sir, I do not rightly know. When he left, I let him go. But is he not now as much as he ever was? He has returned to the Source and is as ever my companion in the Tao. But let us now gather our evening meal before it’s too dark to see what’s ripe or no.”

And so, standing, he led them behind his home to a well-tended garden where grew most every vegetable of which the sages had knowledge.

So mutual and unaffected was their fellowship and so accepting the forest, that the sages stayed long with the hermit, whom they took to calling P’o-tzu — for he seemed to embody the primal simplicity of the uncarved block. How long, they soon could not say, for they too fell into harmony with the eternal moment.

This post is part of a series. To view the index, go here.

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