Date Posted:12:15 Author: Brian - 10 Sep 2001 Subject: The Way of Chang Tzu
"The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind; it demands an emptiness of all the faculties...then the whole being listens"- The Way of Chang Tzu
..."Indeed, all who set out on a quest go looking for a dragon or some ugly, fierce monster to kill, but the real enemies are not outside forces in some dark forest - but rather they are inside."
Although the dragon made good sense, I was growing tired. It had been a long difficult day, and I had to move on. The dragon smiled and said to me, "Everyone on a quest needs a good companion, a faithful and trusted guide. Let me be yours; I know this forest well. Come climb on my back," said the dragon as he made a deep bow with his scaly neck and head.
Now it didn't make book sense, but I found myself liking this tired old dragon with his scarlet scales and great five-clawed feet. I felt like a prince as I rode on the back of the dragon. From this position high on his humped back, I noticed the dragon’s body was covered with old wounds.
Whenever the dragon breathed forth fire to light the path in front of us, I noticed that the wounds glowed-golden red in the dark. I also noticed how the dragon limped now and then, but as it was the end of the day, I thought that he just may be tired.
The old wounds did, however, arouse my curiosity, and when I asked about them, the dragon replied, "Oh, my friend, I have been slain a thousand times, but I have always arisen again. These old wounds are the source of my power and my insight.
As I had said, our greatest and worst enemies are not the monsters that roam the forest or even wicked witches or evil wizards. No, it is our scars, our wounds and old injuries that we must fear. As we journey through life we have all been injured - hurt by parents, brothers, sisters, schoolmates, strangers, lovers, teachers...the possible list of the guilty is long.
Each wound has the power to talk to us, you know. They speak, however, with crooked voices because of the scars. But allow me to tell you a story that will make my point clear." I was so caught up in the words of my dragon companion that I forgot my own weariness.
"Once upon a time," began the dragon, "a great samurai warrior with two great swords hanging from his belt approached a monk and said, 'Tell me, holy monk, about heaven and hell.'
The orange-robed monk looked up at the warrior from where he sat and replied in a quiet voice, 'I cannot tell you about heaven and hell because you are much too stupid.'
The samurai warrior was filled with rage. He clenched his fist and gave a fierce shout as he reached for one of his swords. 'Besides that you are very ugly,' added the monk. The samurai's eyes flamed and his heart was incensed as he drew his sword. 'That,' said the little monk, 'is hell.'
Struck by the power of the words and the wisdom of this teaching, the warrior dropped his sword, bowed his head and sank to his knees. 'And that,' said the monk, 'is heaven.'
"You see," continued the dragon, 'the words of the monk touched old wounds, perhaps wounds that were made when the warrior was a child and was called stupid, dumb, or ugly. It was his wounds that caused hell to capture him.
All of us have wounds -old ones and new ones- and whenever the monster appears, when all hell breaks loose, we know that are wounds are talking, guiding us. It is these wounds that must be confronted and not us poor innocent dragons."
"But," I said, "your wounds glow with great beauty, and you said they are the source of your power and magic. How can my wounds become a source of power?"
"First," replied the dragon, "you must not give in to the voice of your scars, the voice of the times you trusted and were betrayed, loved and were rejected, did your best and were laughed at. Do not give weight to the scars left because you were slighted or were made to feel less than others.
Instead when those voices call to you to react with envious or jealous feelings, do exactly the opposite. When they say, 'run away,' you must stay. When they whisper, 'distance yourself,' come all the closer. You must transform their power, not destroy it!
That, my friend, is really being involved in a quest. All quests begin with some question. Great quests begin, naturally, with great questions. 'Why am I not happy?' 'Why am I not a saint?' 'How do I find happiness?' That's what you're questing for, George - happiness. And happiness, health, holiness and all the rest come only when we have made our injuries into glorious wounds."
I felt a surge of excitement. Indeed, it was great adventure to be on a quest.
The old Chinese dragon with the wounds that glowed so beautifully was indeed wise. I saw how my behavior, which had so often hurt myself and others, had flowed from the fact that I had listened to the voice of some old wound.
I realized what the dragon was saying to me. Yes, I must learn to listen to my pain as well as my pleasures. And I need to distinguish between the different voices I hear within myself, the voices of old wounds and the small quiet voice that comes from somewhere deep inside.
It is this quiet voice that calls me to sacrifice, to generosity and to kindness, but it has been frequently out shouted by the angry voices of my wounds. I have to begin a friendship with myself. Perhaps the goodness that I have been seeking on my quest is really inside me.” -- By Edward Hays
"Learn to be quiet in your heart, and you will learn to hear the messages in these books. You will hear more than words, more than philosophical truth; if you learn to be quiet you will hear the Author, George. You will hear the Ink, and it will guide you on your quest. Trust in that truth. Trust.”
—Igor, The Royal Celestial Chinese Dragon