Master Sun and Vast Obscurity
Master Sun, a aging gentleman of hansomness and maturity was wandering in the eastern mountains, amongst the mist, the massive rocks, and the magnificent primeval trees. Soon he saw an ancient and much wrinkled gentleman enjoying himself, slapping his thighs and hopping to and fro like a sparrow. Master Sun called to the ancient gentleman, "Who are you, old man?" he asked, "why are you bouncing about so?"
"Ah, good day my young friend," the old gentleman returned, "they called me Vast Obscurity at the last place I stayed," he laughed, "and I am hopping like this because I am playing."
Master Sun was taken aback by the sight of such an old man dancing around like a young colt. He had great curiosity about the ancient gentleman, and asked, "Kind sir, since you are playing so in your fashion, can you tell me what makes you so joyful?"
At that, old Vast Obscurity came to a halt, tilted his head ever so slightly in deep thought, then said, "I think it is the great emptiness of the Tao."
When Master Sun heard this he grew very excited. He was a traveler and pilgrim who was himself on a search for the Tao, the way of being whole and natural. To hear the old gentleman talk of the Tao made Master Sun realize the old gentleman was not just some crazy old man, but something else. He grew even more excited, and asked, "Kind sir, I realize you are indeed someone who has touched the Tao. Can you enlighten me?"
The old gentleman Vast Obscurity simply laughed and continued to dance about slapping his thighs and hopping like a sparrow.
Master Sun followed the old man as he skipped and danced up the narrow ledge they were currently on. Master Sun called to the old man, "Kind sir, kind sir, please can you tell me your understanding of the world?"
The old gentleman stopped momentarily, then continued to gambol about.
Master Sun followed Vast Obscurity as they both entered into a soft and pleasantly cool mountain mist. The mist enshrouded them so that they could hardly see the path ahead or the path behind. Master Sun pleaded once again, "Kind sir, I can tell you are a man of great wisdom. Please talk to me of the Way. It seems the world is gone awry. The vital energies of heaven seems to have separated from the world and the ways people act seem out of rhythm. Can you tell me why this is so?"
At that Vast Obscurity's dance began winding to a gentle rhythmic halt and he seemed to almost dissolve into a relaxed sitting position on a clump of soft green grass. His laugh turned to a simple smile and his eyes glittered with satisfaction. He called Master Sun over with a kind laugh. "Young gentleman, I can see you are a man of substance and that you are seeking things which will improve your life. Sit here by me on this fine clean grass and I will tell you a poem I learned in my youth.
Master Sun settled into place near the old much wrinkled gentleman. He couldn't help but smile back at the old man.
Vast Obscurity began,
I am not sure what I seek.
In my wonder or madness,
I know not where I go.
I travel in perplexity,
Observing the unexpected.
Whatever disorders the ways of the fundamental essence,
Or goes against the method of naturalness
Will not reach completion or wholeness.
In such a case animal herds will be disoriented and
Birds will stop singing,
Disaster will come to the grasses and the trees,
Calamity will afflict reptiles and insects,
People will live amidst illusion and discomfort,
And the order of the world of the ten thousand things will become confused.
Such a condition is very serious.'
"Well what is to be done?" asked Master Sun. The old gentleman smiled, "Wait, my friend, the poem is not yet done." And he began again,
"The way of heaven shows the method,
Just learn to read the messages of the natural world all around.
Answers lie in the clouds, in the waterfalls, the mountains,
the deserts, and the forests.
Just return to quietude and natural inner stillness.
Cultivate and nurture unbiased genuineness.
Situate yourself in non-obstruction,
and all things will resolve themselves
Take up true caring,
Nourish your vital energy and bodily form,
Dim your cleverness,
Overcome habit and obsession,
Look beyond all relationships but don't discard people.
Join in the common boundless wholeness.
Relax your mind,
Free your spirit;
Be impassive and totally impartial, without losing the spirit of emotions.
When all this is achieved the myriad things of the world become as one
As each returns to its own.
Many people are in a state of murky chaos,
And they do not leave this state their whole life.
Most are not even aware of their state.
Stop naming things. Stop competing.
Stop judging. Give up personal agendas.
Let each find its own naturalness.'
Master Sun's eyes filled with joyful tears. He bowed to the old gentleman.