Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Delayed Daily Musing - March 17th, 2013 - Invisibility - 隱形 - Yǐnxíng

Invisibility - 隱形 - Yǐnxíng

Blend in, for the greatest advantage.
If conflict is unavoidable,
do not hesitate
to utilize your skill.

~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao



An old man setup a booth for herbal medicines at a crossroads near the capital. He sold his cures to passersby, helping people relieve their pains after a long journey on foot. He was always in good cheer and his medicines sold well, allowing him to stay in one spot for many years. One day, a young bully from the city came upon the booth and began to harass the old man. The vendor tried his best to avoid conflict, but his timid manner only served to convince the bully of his supremacy. When the old man could suffer no more, conflict spontaneously arose and the young bully was bested by superior boxing. The young man shrunk away in disgrace. The few witnesses to the battle went to congratulate the old man, but he had already disappeared with his wares. After manifesting his superiority in battle, the old man had exposed himself and needed to disappear. The witnesses were left to wonder...why?

In a competitive world, it is best to remain invisible. Go through life without showing off; do not attract undue attention to yourself. Do not display your wealth or martial ability, and never resort to flamboyant gestures when the simple will suffice. Those who clothe themselves in egocentric pride will only attract the hostility of others. The wise accomplish their goals without playing upon the envy, jealousy, and scorn of others. For the wise, achievement is only for the sake of fulfilling inner, spiritual yearnings.

It is inevitable that the world will force you to prove yourself at some point in your journey. When that time comes, marshal all of your abilities and do your best. Prove yourself when the demand arises and de-escalation is impossible. In the midst of combat, give no thought to compassionate philosophy or humility. In the aftermath, fade back into the shadows. You may wish to be crowned the victor, but do not fall into the trap of believing yourself superior of others in the wake of such displays of aggression. Invisibility is infinitely preferrable to infamy.