Independence - 獨立 - Dúlì
The boatman lives simply
his only possessions, canoe and hut;
gold and jewels are of little use.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
A single crane, standing alone surrounded by falling snow, is the very image of independence. It needs no one, being entirely secure in its environment, and is capable of passing through life in a solitary fog. Its independence springs forth from this self-sufficient air.
It needs for no garments, no domicile, no wealth or status. It is content with what life provides. So too should we live. There is no need for dazzling clothes, an impressive mansion or temple, or to become a bejeweled master. What we truly want is something far beyond simple material rewards.
Look at your personality; which facets are encumbrances? What personal aspects prevent you from being independent? These are the areas of your being that will define the form of your self-cultivation, for you must strive for this alone, to stand on your own feet. This doesn't mean that you will be forever alone, or that you will never join with others. All it means is that every union you enter into, you do so as an individual first, and thus seek to cooperate and fulfill the interests of all involved. In this way, you will not become lost in the group, and you will never fear being alone.