2011 Love Enduring 

2011 - Enabling the Inevitable

Universal Love


Nelumbo nucifera a water lily-like flowers commonly known as "lotus"

The Gentle and the Enduring 

 

A Girl Named Lianhua

The story begins in an age long forgotten. It begins at a time when two kingdoms had been at war with each other, which had so destroyed their resources and ravished the land and the people, so that no victor emerged. Eventually, the war stopped. Only the blindness of the rulers remained the same as before, which had made life evermore intolerable for the surviving population.

In order to save themselves, many of the wisest of the people of both kingdoms simply fled into the wilderness. It seemed easier to suffer the hardships and uncertainties of a primitive existence than to continue to live under the yoke of increasing cruelty and unfulfillable demands. They felt that they would sooner starve to death than to continue to live this life of constant agony.

As it was, they did not starve to death, and why should they have? The people who had taken these courageous steps had been the most intelligent of the population. After all, they had managed to survive the war. They soon realized that the wilderness in its primitive way had still enough resources to support them, meager as they were, and that these resources could be utilized if they used all that they had learned, and went beyond that.

So it was that they built themselves shelters with the straw of wild grasses, interwoven with the reeds that grew in abundance at the riverbanks. They also built nets with them to catch fish, and baskets to carry fruits and berries. In this way their life became richer and freer than it had ever been.

Eventually, the two groups of refugees met up with each other. They met not as enemies, but as fellow human beings, eager to learn from each other and to support one another for their common good. Thus life was good to them all.

But this was summer time. No one knew what the winter would be like in this vast water bound wilderness from which, it was said, no one ever returned.

Before the winter set in, a traveling monk came upon their summer village as he followed the trails that they had created. He followed the trails to explore the phenomenon. As a traveler, he was familiar with this wilderness. He was also aware of how the wilderness would change during the rainy season, how the rivers would overflow and flood the land. He told them that their village and their food would all be washed away.

In order to help the people, since he came from an ancient and honorable order, he invited the people to his valley where a monastery was located, a hidden valley, nestled between snow bound mountain ranges where monks had made a living for as long as anyone could remember. He told them that there was plenty of room in the valley. There was even a lake at the far end of the valley, some distance away from the monastery.

The people were sensitive enough to understand that the monk's offer was genuine. So they went with him on his trek across several mountain ranges. They traveled in their new clothing made of fur from the animals they had hunted. They carried also the food they had gathered, dried fish and dried berries, which they shared with the traveling monk.

Upon their arrival, they found a good land, indeed. They also found a number of food plants growing in the wild that could be cultivated. They found fish in the lake, wood in the forest. They used stones from the mountain slopes to build houses and irrigation dams, and terraces to create gardens on the steeper slopes that would retain the rainwater. They utilized all the knowledge they had gained in their previous world, and so, they prospered. Within a year they had turned the poorest part of the valley, which the monks had found useless, into a rich and welcoming place with a design that enhanced the beauty of the land.

It was at this time that the people learned from a caravan that the rulers of the monastery had a design of their own for the people, which they warned the people about. They told the people that the ancient order had a history of enslaving people into their service, not by force, but by their cunning in creating a front of mystic authority that overpowers a people's spirit, that weakens their resistance to them, by which they would tend to become willing slaves.

That warning brought on a depressing kind of feeling that now hung in the air like a dark cloud. This dark foreboding struck them just as they were about to celebrate the achievements wrought with their tireless labor.

What they were told by the man from the caravan created a paradox. Their lives had become spared by the kindness of the monks, but only to live like a bunch of cattle that have a place in the world only for as long as they remain useful to their masters. They knew they couldn't allow this to happen to themselves. Not again!

Now, among the people was a young girl whom the people had named, Lianhua. She had come from a long line of families who were renowned for their wisdom. It was natural, therefore, that the people came to her for advice in their endeavor to resolve the paradox. "What must we do?" they asked. "How do we get out of this trap? We have moved into a land that turned out to be poisoned. How do we survive?"

The girl replied that the answer is simple. If the land is poisoned, it needs to be cleansed. "We cannot allow our lives to be poisoned," she explained.

"But how do we do this?" they asked.

"That's simple, too," the girl answered. "If the poison flows from the monks who do not wish to work, we have to uplift them to where they can discover themselves as human beings, like we have come to know ourselves."

"That's easily said," said the elder of the people, named Mogao. "Who are we to accomplish a thing like that? We have no experience in the matter. We are farmers and fishermen, and builders. Who are we to teach the monks?"

"We are human beings," said the girl, Lianhua. "We don't need to teach anything. This is what we will do. We will treat the monks as if they already were what we want them to be, because that is what they are in reality, whether they acknowledge this or not. And in order to accomplish that, we must treat one another even more consciously in the same manner."

"And how shall that be?" asked the elder, Mogao.

Here the girl laughed. "I cannot decide this for you. I am not your king. You must decide this for yourself."

Mogao declared that Lianhua had wisely spoken. He stated that he understood now what was required. He suggested that they should all come together in seven days, and on every seventh day thereafter, to convene a council to explore among themselves whatever it was that they valued the most, both about themselves and about the way they were treating one another. He called this meeting-together a constitutional council in which they all would declare to themselves the highest principles that they have come to understand and to respect as a community, a community based on constitutional principles.

The girl Lianhua agreed that this was the proper path to pursue.

 

So it was that in seven days time the first constitutional council convened. At this session they all acknowledged to each other that they would not have survived long as a people, if they had not supported one another in all of their endeavors. They realized that as farmers and fishermen, and builders, not one of them could have accomplished in isolation, what they had accomplished for each other by working together to enrich their world and everyone's life with it. They all acknowledged that. Thus, they made a declaration that working together for the common good would be their first constitutional principle that would govern the community from this day forward, for all times to come.

 

During the next session they realized that as a human being, a person deserves to be honored. They declared that this honoring must never become an empty gesture, but must always reflect an honest recognition of a person's worth, strength, beauty, kindness, love, including all of the other qualities that has bound the community together as one single whole.

The girl Lianhua pointed out that she realized that honoring one another has brought light into everyone's life, that it has helped them to love themselves more fully, and thus to love one another more honestly.

All the people agreed with that assessment. They recognized themselves to be highly capable people, so that the implementation of this second declaration of honoring one another shouldn't pose a problem either. It wouldn't be a problem then, as they were, and not for all times to come, because of the beauty that it had brought into their lives, which outweighed all the efforts they made towards attaining that way of living.

They all agreed that this principle had so enriched their lives that they would never want to drift away from it, that it was a natural constitutional principle. It had opened doors to such joy and sharing, including sexual sharing, and to uplifting one another's spirit, the likes of which would never have been open to them on a lower platform, such as they had known before.

The specific form of this honoring, they all agreed, should be left to the democratic decision of each one acting individually, according to a person's wisdom and situation. These individual forms, however, and they all agreed on that, must always be subservient to the universal principle of honoring one another, that must never be sidestepped for any reason.

The girl Lianhua suggested that this constitutional goal should constantly enrich everyone, since it forces one to look ever deeper for the truth that invariably inspires the honoring of one another. She suggested that experience has shown that such honoring can unfold in the form of a gesture, or a commitment, or a deed, or whatever else may be designed to uplift one another. "On this platform, theft, rape, or murder will never become a possibility," declared Lianhua, "while our world becomes evermore beautiful in the process." Thus their new principle was enshrined in their constitution as the second constitutional principle.

 

The third session followed seven days later. During this session the people acknowledged to one another that each person has certain fundamental personal needs that the community should respect and endeavor to satisfy for one another, such as the need for food, shelter, warmth, affection, and so forth. Even sexual intimacies were recognized under this category as a normal aspect of living by a human being. The principle was acknowledged as an aspect conducive to happiness and to the joy in one another, which should not be blocked, but be uplifted.

The girl Lianhua summarized all these recognitions as an acknowledgement of the necessary principle of universal love and universal sovereignty as a platform for meeting all human needs. The people agreed with that assessment.

At this point someone asked Lianhua in what form, she felt, that everyone's individual sexual needs should be met, since she had been the one who had added sexual needs to the list.

The girl just laughed. "The answer is simple," she said. "No one owns us. We own ourselves, but we need one another. We have made a declaration that we shall support one another. This principle still sands. We have also made a declaration that we shall honor one another. This principle still applies. What more do we need to add to meet one another's needs, by which we meet our own needs as well? The details are not important. Our constitutional principles are important. They should govern the details. So, let us test these principles, therefore, and determine if they do indeed meet all the various needs in our life. Let us test them and see if they make our life worthwhile and productive, and bright with happiness."

The people agreed that they would test the principles for seven days and meet again to determine if something else needs to be added.

Lianhua suggested that everyone should be clear that these principles reflect the goals that the community has established in its constitution, which should always guide each person's democratic choice of the path and of the type of effort in attaining the universal goals.

"You are speaking in riddles," said Mogao. "A democracy of one is not possible."

"Oh, isn't it?" answered the girl. "A democracy is not a majority dictatorship. In a democracy everyone is bound to honor the constitutional principles. Only what remains, the trivial details, are open to debate. This debate may involve all of us, as in choosing which crops we should plant and where. It may also involve only two people as in choosing where to meet for a conversation. The same type of debate may also involve only a single person who struggles with himself, or herself, how to best honor another human being. The process is the same and the underlying principles are the same."

"But, how shall we act individually towards each other without a communal agreement?" she said to the people to Lianhua. "Do I bear a gift to whoever I would honor with sexual intimacies?"

"That is something that I must discover for myself," said Lianhua. I must keep in mind, however, that no one should be left out in the cold, because everyone is worthy to be loved. But again, how I do this is my own business. It unfolds from my democracy. The principles that we have chosen assure that my democracy will not be a burden, but an enriching impetus. The details that unfold in the process of our exploration of the principles that we cherish make it exciting to be alive, because they give me the freedom to live. No one should have the right to determine for me what details must be in the way my love unfolds towards other human beings, or what songs I will sing. The how to do it, how I shall live my life, comes out of my own heart. That's my private democracy. That is a skill that I must learn, that we all must learn, because the richer my live becomes in the sphere of the principles that we have established, which I must embrace, the richer our common world will become that we live in together, that I have become responsible for. This private democracy is a beautiful process, but it must be learned. Still, I like to suggest that we are all fast learners, because if we don't learn the details of how to apply the principles that we chosen, that enrich our civilization, our life will become very poor and isolated from one another, and quite meaningless, really."

Naturally, Lianhua's suggestion was accepted.

As a result, the people became increasingly resourceful, and this in ways they had never dreamed of before. They were enriching one another in this spirit, and they assured that no one was left out in any regard. Also, they liked what they experienced.

 

Seven days later when they met again for another constitutional council, they declared to themselves that nothing more was needed, that their constitution was complete.

 

Now, as the summer was progressing in the second year, and the people had fully established themselves physically, the monks announced the commencement of a festival for which they demanded that the people should supply the food as a kind of tribute. In response, on the day that this demand was received, the elder, Mogao, convened another council session to determine what their response should be. Should they comply and deliver the food as demanded? But then, what would the monks' next demand be?

During another session that followed in seven days time, the girl Lianhua pointed out to the people that there was no need for the council to make a decision on that matter. The constitution was established. The constitution determined what their response must be.

The people agreed that the fundamental principles that they had recognized to be essential for their existence applied to the monks as well, since they are human beings.

Thus it fell upon Mogao and Lianhua to deliver the necessary message to the monks.

They were both duly received by the monks, and ushered into the great hall of the monastery that bore a striking similarity to the pompous palace of their former ruler. The hall was richly decorated. A giant Buddha figure dominated one wall of the large room. The monks wore simple robes, except for their guru, who wore a vest embroidered in gold. The gold, apparently corresponded to his rank and matched the decoration that adorned his chair in which he sat before them. Mogao and Lianhua were requested to kneel on the ground. Other monks squatted in front of them in groups of three and four.

Mogao addressed himself to the monks about what he came for. The monks had taken up the area between him and the throne. He didn't look up to the guru. He explained to the monks that the constitution of his people required that each human being must adhere to certain fundamental principles that assure the development of society and each person in it. Therefore, he told the monks that they were invited to join hands with them, working in the fields, whereby they would be able to share in what is being produced.

The monks reacted as if they were insulted by this offer. "We gave you that land," they replied, "therefore we are entitled to a share of the proceeds of the land."

Mogao spoke gently in answering them, as he would to any other human being. "We are using but a small fraction of the land in the valley, which is really God's land, since you hadn't created it."

"But we received it first?" they replied.

"You received what you desired, what you needed," said Lianhua.

"You received what you presently utilize, which is but a small fraction of the land," added Mogao. "Regardless, you can have what you say you seek," Mogao continued. "If you seek the proceeds of the land, we won't stand in your way. Hop to it! There is plenty of uncultivated land in the valley to pick your proceeds from. Of course, you won't find much that is worth getting. However, if you wish to be enriched by the proceeds of human labor, you are welcome to join hands with us in this project by adding your labor to ours, whereby you may share what comes out of it."

"No, we saved your life," said the monks. "You owe us!"

"We acknowledge that you saved our life," said Mogao gently. "And in doing this you have done what any human being would have done, out of the riches of the Soul of our humanity that we all share. Had you done anything less, you would have condemned yourself by an act of self-denial."

Her Lianhua intervened. "What you have done for us is not a good reason for you wanting to enslave us," said Lianhua to the monks in her clear soft voice. "If you were to do as you intend, you would loose your humanity. We won't have a part in that. We, as a community, have discovered that we are human beings, and that the human being is the Supreme Being on this earth. This truth makes us all equal, you included. In our community no person is sovereign over another. Each one is sovereign as a person. You need to understand this, and respect this. No ancient traditions or rituals rule over us, individually or collectively, and neither will you."

The chief of the monks raised himself up out of his chair, but before he could answer Lianhua she motioned him to sit down again.

"We have recognized ourselves as human beings," she said to him firmly, "and we have recognized this as a universal privilege of every person in this room; in this valley; even in the entire world. And as such we have determined that we shall live together as human beings according to the principles that define a civilization of human beings. These are principles that set us apart from the world of animals. We invite you to uplift yourself and join us on this platform. We invite you that you recognize yourself as human beings, and give yourself the privilege to live accordingly."

As the chief of the monks became restless, Lianhua challenged him. "We have created a constitution for ourselves, based on the fundamental principles of civilization that we have discovered as the minimal platform that we have built our lives on. We can move forward and raise this platform to a higher level by higher expressions of love and a greater respect for one another's sovereignty, but we cannot step back and destroy this foundation on which we exist. You cannot expect us to do this. Indeed, we cannot do this, because these principles that we built our lives on are not arbitrary principles. They are not principles that we have invented. They are the natural principles that are fundamental to human existence. They reflect the nature of our universe. You cannot expect us to turn the universe upside down at your request."

The chief of the monks finally let go what he had bottled up. Forth came a stream of slogans about their spiritual status superseding our human status.

Lianhua didn't argue their point, as if it wasn't worth arguing over. "If you want to live like human beings," she replied, "then you have to raise yourself up to the level of the principles of the universe that stand above us all, that define the human being as the Supreme Being on the earth. This is the platform of honor on which we enrich one another's life. So, let me challenge you to give yourself the privilege to raise yourself up to that level, and to join us in enriching one another. This is a nobler goal for any human being, than insisting on living like an animal that demands to be fed. So, join us on the platform of these principles. That's all you need to do to have a richer life. The physical details involved, are unimportant. These are a matter of each one's democratic choice by which one determines the best method for applying the fundamental principles to a given situation in order for their promise to be fulfilled to the fullest extend possible."

Before the chief of the monks had a chance to reply, Lianhua addressed herself to the monks directly, no longer looking up to the throne of the chief. "I cannot exempt you from having to live on this platform if you wish to become a part of our community," she said to the monks, "because this would mean that you wish to live on a lower platform than that of a human being. This would dishonor you. It is my hope therefore that you give yourself the privilege to live on that higher level of self-perception, even self-love, that unfolds on that higher platform of understanding, that unfolds from an honest respect for the principles that enable us to exist as human beings."

Lianhua stood up at this point and reached her hands out to the monks. "When you do this," she said gently, "the festival that you propose will be a festival of joy. It will celebrate a richer life for you, and for us all. I think this would be worth a celebration. On this basis, brothers, I reach out my hands to you in the brotherhood of our common life."

The monks did not reply. Surprisingly the chief remained silent, too.

Mogao raised himself up and stood beside Lianhua. He repeated to the monks that if they wished us all to live together as human beings, they needed to subscribe to the universal principles that are recognized in the village's constitution as essential elements of a human society. He invited them to join us in a community of these principles that reflects a truth taller than themselves. Mogao repeated that these principles were not created by themselves, but had merely been recognized to exist and to be powerfully beneficial to all people.

He said to the monks that their joining with the village, as sovereign individuals in a community of principles, would be a historic step, a step that would unite two culturally diverse groups of perfectly sovereign people into a single community living in the valley.

The monks rejected that offer. The guru explained that his divine status had raised the monastery and its needs to a higher order, even higher than the order of Lianhua's universal humanist principles, whereby their original demand remained standing as an imperative that they should bow to and serve. Mogao and Lianhua were invited to return to their village and meditate over it.

 

Since the people of the village could never deny themselves, by denying their constitution, no further reply was given to the monks. Life simply went on as before. It appeared however, that the monks themselves had followed their own advise, because out of their meditation came an acceptance of the people's invitation to work with them in the fields.

The unfolding association was fruitful and went on for several months. It was recognized to have been productive for both people, but it was also recognized to have created a cultural conflict. The monks' spiritual isolation did not support the human dimension of personal warmth and affections of the people they were now in contact with, especially not the sexual elements of it, much less the sexual intimacies. Their monastic exclusion from the world evidently also included their exclusion from women. Sexual intimacies with women must have appeared like a form of treason, a pollutant of their spiritual environment, regardless of the fact that they wouldn't exist without the human sexuality that they shunned.

The monks explained to the people that sensual pleasures were profitless, and were equal to self-mortification in their effect, and should be replaced by enlightened thinking. They said that their ideal woman is of such purity that she symbolizes perfect wisdom, insight, higher knowledge, total enlightenment, and a compassion that quenches all desires.

The guru himself came to the village one day and explained that the right view in life is an understanding of truth; the right thought is a thought free from lust, ill will, cruelty, and untruthfulness; the right speech is a speech abstaining from lying, harsh language and vain talk; the right action is abstaining from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; the right livelihood is a livelihood by earning a living in a way that is not harmful.

He was interrupted by Lianhua before he could finish. She said to him that he had just explained in a primitive way what stands behind her people's constitutional principles. She said to him, "your doctrines are passive. You say to a person that one must not do this, and that one must abstain from that. That's passive, isn't it? But our principles are active. They lift a person to a higher state of living that obsoletes all of the passive doctrines. A person who honors another deeply will never dream of lying, killing, stealing, or sexually abusing another human being. It just won't happen. It can't happen. We are farmers. We plant seeds. We nourish the plants and protect them and water them. We will never trample them down into ground. That would never occur to anyone. In like manner do we treat one another. We nourish, honor, and uplift one another. We work together to meet everyone's needs. Isn't that perfect wisdom? What greater enlightenment, higher knowledge, and deeper tranquility can anyone find?"

"You seek passion and delight," the Guru answered, "which are the cause of pain."

"Indeed, I seek these," said Lianhua. "My passion is life, my delight is in living. I rejoice when our garden grows ripe into harvest. I rejoice in our community as we succeed. Life is wide, deep, profound, a fountain of happiness, we love one another, cherish one another, enrich one another, can you say the same?"

"But you love sexual intimacies that defile a person," said the guru.

"But out of that comes life," Lianhua replied. "We honor humanity as a sexual species. You say that human sex was a mistake of creation. You thereby dishonor the wisdom of creation, the wisdom by which you exist. I say that all aspects of a human being are beautiful. None should be relegated to the trash heap. Sexual attraction doesn't divide us, it unites us, it makes us equals in our love for our humanity."

"But sexual misconduct is harmful," the guru replied.

"But can there be any misconduct when the goal is to honor, when people reach out to one another in universal love?" Lianhua asked in return.

The guru did not counter or answer this question, but returned to the monastery.

 

It took many days until the monks realized that they were human beings, nevertheless. They began to respect their sexual feelings and sexual delights, and their related longing. Nevertheless, those needs could not be fulfilled as demanded on the platform of their 'royal' status as a holy order. The sexual door remained closed to the monks until they learned to honor one another first, and themselves as human beings, and then everyone as well. Suddenly they realized that they had begun what they swore they would never do. They had begun to embrace the constitutional principles that the people had embraced as perfect wisdom. Only then, the doors began to open for them as they did learn to honor, "even women" as human being equal to themselves, and to honor them as beautiful and sexual beings, and themselves in the same manner.

 

As this development began to take shape, the character of the monastery began to change. The monks' isolation from the world gradually became a relic of history. The valley became richer and more beautiful. Their higher wisdom became evident in more flower gardens across the valley, and more fields for food, and in the form of a new unfolding of life throughout the entire community. Children and young people soon crowded the monastery as a place for learning skills and spiritual knowledge, and the learning of languages, even geometry, and the nature of universal principles and the nature of democracy.

 

Since the unfolding society lived in a far away, hidden valley, few visitors came from the outside world. A few merchants made the long trek that takes one across several mountain ranges, and even those merchant visitors were quite rare. However, the visitors who did come to the valley were impressed by what they saw. They were astonished that such a miracle had become possible. Most of them left deeply affected. Some were impressed by the beauty of the harmonious interplay and support that they witnessed, and the people's honoring of one another.

There was one visitor, however, who was horrified by what he found, by the "danger" which he said this new spirit of humanity posed to the existence of dynasties and kings, and religions, churches, and empires. It was that person who promptly spread the word across the land to every emperor and ruler wide and far, and the rulers would all tremble at the very thought of it.

Then something rare happened. A number of the emperors who had zealously fought each other in the past, banded together for the purpose of stamping out "this offending spirit of humanity," that they regarded as a threat to their existence, "a spirit that can turn a monastery into a kindergarten," as one of them bloated with indignation. They assembled an army with the charge to stamp out every person in that valley, lest they infect the masses of their own populations.

Through some kindly friends, the monks were told about the coming invasion. All the people were told about this. The visiting friends urged that they should all flee for their life. Still, the people rejected the notion that they were in great danger, hidden as they were, so far away behind tall mountains. Nor could they understand their extraordinary position in the economy of the world. "What army would bother to face such obstacles," they said to themselves, "to raid a few people of their meager resources?" They failed to understand that their brightest possession was not their land, or what they had created, not even themselves, but their spirit of humanity that had the power to uplift the whole world and bring light into it.

Only the woman Lianhua understood this danger and the reason for it, and so did a few of the children of the late Mogao through her effort, and a few dozen others. They all pleaded with the people for an evacuation of the valley, but they pleaded in vain.

 

The armies came. They came unopposed. They took the valley in a day, and in another day the deed was done. No one survived except the woman Lianhua, the children of Mogao, and the few dozen others who had fled with them.

A long time after the armies had left, and the dead had been buried, they convened another council to review their constitution. Had they done anything wrong? Had they left anything out? They realized that everything had been done correctly. What they had lived for, and struggled for, had been totally valid. They had done everything right. Their cooperation with one another had allowed them to love. The honoring of one another had assured that each one's human needs were met with joy, and grace, and with peace. Even the sexual needs had been met on this basis, which had brought tranquility to the human scene. The constitution had been correct, and had been the best declaration of human worth that a people could possibly make to each other. They realized that this was, and continued to be, the essence of themselves and of all the other people who had lived with them in that valley. It had been their life, and still was, and they realized that as long as that spirit would remain alive in the hearts of human beings, their immortality would be assured.

So it was that the woman Lianhua discovered that they had failed in one single regard only, namely that they had remained isolated from the world. She suggested that this was a failure for which the solution was simple. She said to the small assembly that remained, "we all know what is required now. We cannot remain hidden behind the borders of our valley where the precious light that we discovered was nearly extinguished. We cannot go back to the way we were. We must go forward into all the world, into every country, into every society and community and demonstrate to the people the value of our humanity, their humanity, and what it means to live as a human being."

This they did, and they did it for as long as they lived, and their children continued their work, and so did their children's children after them. They turned tribes into nations, and mere men and woman into conscious human beings who stood up against the notion that a human being may be treated like cattle and be abused as a slave. They demonstrated the meaning of honor throughout the world, and the freedom unfolding from the brightness of their humanity.

Yes, many of their children were burned on the stake for their determination to uplift humanity and to brighten the world, but their legacy continued. Others were crucified, but their legacy continued likewise. Many were hanged, imprisoned, beheaded, but the legacy of what they stood for lived on.

"It still lives on," concludes Mei-seong the story teller. "It lives on in people who dare to love, who dare to be honest with themselves, who are committed to honor and to enrich one another's existence, who dare to honor the human being as a human being.

"Yes, the empires still exist," says Mei-seong. "Some have faded away and new ones have taken their place to fade away in turn, and wars are still being fought and they are evermore horrible wars, but the spirit of humanity has not been extinguished in the shadow of thousands of years of war against it. So it is that the woman Lianhua lives on through all time, and her spirit and wisdom has become a force in the world that proved to be greater than the forces of all the empires of all times combined. She has become a giant, even while she remains as but a gentle rose."

(from the novel, Lu Mountain, Chapter 15)

 


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 Rolf Witzsche, author of books and novels on Christian Science, politics, science, and, love, and economics

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