Friday, May 28, 2010

The Wanderings - The Wild Hermit, Part 3

If you haven't read Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, you should go back to read them first.

Once, while lounging in P’o-tzu’s home after breaking the fast, Chen Jen indicated to P’o-tzu the ink wash paintings which adorned the walls. “Tell me, friend, are these paintings your work? For their profound simplicity and sympathy seems one with your spirit.”

“Yes,” laughed P’o-tzu, “when first I came here my spirit was greatly moved to express the Great Harmony that enveloped my heart. But soon the ink and silk was exhausted and I was so moved no more.”

“Then would you not want now to give expression to this extraordinary gift should the tools be at hand?” asked King Ching Chi. “For truly, Mater P’o, these paintings are an invitation to surrender to Tao.”

“How could I say yea or nay, since the tools are not here? When they were gone I was moved no more. Were they to come again, I might be moved or no.”

“Tell me, friend,” said Chen Jen, “I can see there is a colophon on this painting here but in this light I cannot read it from where I now sit. Are the words ready at hand; can you recite them from memory, or must I stand?”

“The words are simple and the moment I remember well,” replied P’o-tzu. “There I have written:

This day a great eagle
overflew the vale
and spoke to my heart
of a transcendent view.”

“Even now it speaks to my heart!” exclaimed Tzu-yu.

“Please take it, my friend,” said P’o-tzu, “if it so pleases you.”

“You are generous indeed, but my way is that of a wanderer and I can carry little that’s non-essential,” replied Tzu-yu. “Yet this moment of revelation is lighter than air and I will forever carry it in my heart.”

“A worthy expression of the Tao,” answered P’o-tzu, “is the way of the wanderer! For the Tao is in all things equally and freedom knows no walls.”

Awakening as if from a vivid and happy dream, Chen Jen saw that their provisions were exhausted and that their continued presence strained the resources of their host. Consulting, therefore, with his companions it was decided they must be on their way.

And as they made their leave with great feeling and thankfulness for the gift of friendship, King Ching Chi surprised them and said: “My friends and companions, if you so agree, I would return to this vale when provisions are had, that I might here make a home in the forest nearby.”

“Your way is yours alone to know,” replied Chen Jen, “and you must follow your heart where it might lead. And here, perhaps, is your Forest of Dark Sages. No leave need be given by me or Tzu-yu, but it is P’o-tzu’s home and his leave might be due.”

“My home is my heart and all I possess,” said P’o-tzu. “King Ching Chi, you are welcome, as need not be said. Yet I am but one of the forest’s many creatures and of them and the forest you would do well to inquire. So return if you will, but with heart humble and open to what they might say. And know, too, that the great grandson of the tiger so ‘horrible’,” he added with a twinkle in his eye, “is lord of the forest and will make his decision clear.”

And so it was decided that King Ching Chi would return when properly provisioned. Thus, the three left by way of a path that would lead them to a tree fallen across the stream and eventually to a village many leagues distant.

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

1 comment:

  1. How much simpler our lives are if we remember to want what we have! P'o tzu's example inspires me!


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