Knowledge - 知識 - Zhīshì
Life consists of
beauty and carnage.
when opposites intersect.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
One of the most crucial requirements of followers of Tao is seeking knowledge. Self-cultivation is meant to make us a ready vehicle for that great search. Sometimes, along the way, we find this journey to be unpleasant, due to the topics of learning that life forces upon us. Through learning, we glimpse life as it truly is, and the thought of such an existence is hard to bare. This is the reason why spiritual progress is often so slow: not because no one will tell us the secrets, but we must overcome our own latent sentiment and fearful concern before we are able to grasp the mysterious.
A undercurrent of terror flows beneath the calm seas of our everyday lives. This suffering, this hurt, is deep within us all. These intense fears leave a great many of us feeling quite empty, despite lives which are otherwise full. These parasitic phantoms haunt us, attacking our conscience, and leave ugly wounds upon our soul. To buffer ourselves to these fears, we dwell upon beauty, collecting items which possess such qualities, in hopes of filling the emptiness inside. Falling in love, we desperately try to make something lasting in this life. Beauty is taken for granted, as the only worthwhile thing in existence. How foolish this way of thinking; it cannot veil cursed violence, random injustice, and inevitable decay.
Only knowledge can remove this fear. If we were shown the whole truth, most could not stand it. Both lovely, and horrible, details make us human. When knowledge threatens to reveal our follies, we realize we are not ready to leave that world behind. Then, as the veil closes again, we meditate upon the lessons learned, preparing for the day when we dare to tear the curtain completely from the wall. Another day...