Prophets - 先知 - Xiānzhī
A prophet peddles secrets,
infused with mysterious magic.
The sage, out on a stroll,
attracts little attention,
as he deals only in the ordinary.
Which is the true Tao?
That which is sold,
Prophets are a special category. These men and women were respected masters of meditation, philosophy, medicine, numerology, martial arts, science, literature, history, music, painting, poetry, and scripture. They accomplished that which is extraordinary. The questions they asked and answers they passed down are highly valuable. The secret knowledge they took with them to the grave is likely immense. Such a formidable set of skills combined with intense dedication is quite rare.
They were great men and women. Do not forget, however, that they were just that...men and women. Like you, they struggled. Life was not as simple as stories make it seem.
Those who follow Tao strive towards self-perfection, but are wary when the word prophet arises to designate who they are. The role of prophet is limited. Relying on others to designate you as a prophet is nearly as disastrous as issuing the proclamation yourself. Considering yourself to be a prophet brings with it the temptation for self-importance. How can this mesh with the ultimate aim of transcending identity? Those who call themselves prophets (or even masters) maximize their identity.
It is far better not to be considered a prophet, to eschew that divine responsibility. Do not allow yourself to be tempted down the path of limitation. Be obscure. Let others consider your ideas stupid. Having someone refer to you by a title diminishes the connection. Do not introduce needless interference. When witnessing the greatest wonder of life, the last thing a true master would do is stand in front of the light.