I'm an author, weather fan, animal and nature lover. And a rookie gardener :) Found WU in 2005, have made wonderful friends here and learned a LOT!
By: LakeWorthFinn , 9:05 AM GMT on February 22, 2011
Watching the aftermath of the horrors in Japan, this story warmed my heart like no other. Many have sent money to Japan and I'm so glad humans have proven to be as loyal to others as this dog in the two videos below. Because of my love for animals I Paypaled through the ANIMAL RESCUE SITE .
HERE IS THE FIRST VIDEO AND HERE IS A SHORT UPDATE FROM CBS
And then back to my old book blog...
Since I joined WU in 2005 I have contemplated the idea of giving this wonderful community “the first dibs” of my internationally published book “KUN LUN – Footprints of a Servant” - before it comes out for the general public in English. Well, that day is today in honor of my late father’s birthday (2/22/22)
IT IS NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON'S KINDLE E-BOOKS AND THIS PAGE HAS A LOT OF INFO ABOUT THE STORY OF THE BOOK, ABOUT THE AUTHOR ETC.
I HOPE THE PAPER BOOK VERSION WILL BE OUT SOON - WILL LET YOU KNOW.
HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP ACROSS THE HIMALAYAS :)
KUN LUN – FOOTPRINTS OF A SERVANT
(© Author has all rights)
Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power -
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Master Li Wang stepped into the beautiful garden of his house. The Year of the Tiger had begun two moons earlier, and the cherry tree was in full blossom. A flock of sparrows was singing around the pink flowers, resting their tiny wings. They had flown in from the small holes especially designed to welcome them. The sun was shining through the glass roof, which Master Li had decorated with paintings by his own hand. The little birds chirped merrily when they found the heap of seeds he had placed in a large marble bowl.
The garden was Master Li Wang’s most cherished work of art and he knew it well; he had spent twenty years creating and perfecting it. It was constructed inside his house, at the heart of the large mansion he had inherited from his parents. A wooden door with a heavy lock separated it from the rest of the house.
He breathed in the soft perfume of the flowers and bowed in deep emotion.
It was time to leave.
He closed his eyes but the image of the garden stayed unaltered in his mind. He could have painted it from memory and neither one single plant, nor one small pebble, or any of the detailed carvings in the wooden bridge over the pond, would be missing. He smiled and gently touched the leaves of a huge square bamboo tree, which was reflecting its silhouette on the surface of the water.
The garden silently shared his mixed feelings of sorrow and excitement.
As he bent down to caress the smooth head of a goldfish, the crystal clear water of the pond reflected an image of a slim middle-aged man with a thin white beard and a long ash-gray braid. The straight line of his nose, his thin lips, and his ivory pale skin, revealed he was a nobleman and from distinguished origin.
Master Li Wang was a renowned artist, but his heart was heavy with years of loneliness and a fame that left him indifferent. He longed for the peace his garden so naturally possessed. He sat down on a flat rock without opening his eyes. The wide sleeves of his cobalt blue silk gown were hanging flat on both sides and the golden dragon embroidery on his back was shining in the sun.
The garden slowly faded away, changed shape, and was transformed into the image of his beautiful wife TaiTai, who had been his inspiration for creating the garden. She smiled at him and he felt loved. Suddenly everything started to tremble and TaiTai’s loving expression turned into terror and desperation. He felt her hand cling to his sleeve before she fell into the deep crack, which the Great Earthquake tore between them. He could hear her hopeless screams as he watched, in horror and with powerless outstretched arms, how she was buried under the rubble.
Master Li opened his eyes to stop the painful memories from pouring into his mind, but the pond had changed into a dusty bottom of a crack, the fatal tomb of his beloved. In a few tragic moments the cruel Quake had buried his joy of living and left him alone in the world. To maintain his love alive and TaiTai’s beauty always present, he never remarried. During his endless mourning he built, within the walls of his mansion, a private sanctuary for his beloved. No one but the sparrows and his servant had ever seen it.
Master Li was brought back to the present by loud, pounding steps. Another image appeared next to his on the surface of the water; a tall, stout man with a sun burnt face, lively brown eyes and a black ponytail, had entered the garden. It was I, Yu, his servant. In the mirror of the pond my smile looked much wider and my lips thicker than they were, but I was as strong and healthy as the image.
Master Li Wang and I seemed to have nothing in common, but we had lived together in perfect harmony since the Great Quake. He was of royal blood and a highly learned man. He spoke many languages and one of his paintings decorated the Imperial Palace. His poems were widely read, and Wan-Li - the 13th Emperor of the Ming Dynasty - had them recited at the Palace during visits from abroad. Some of his works had been sold overseas and translated to other languages. Master was a wise man, so he never got involved in the political affairs of China, though he did not agree with the general belief that the goods brought by foreign merchants were neither needed nor welcome. Mongolian, Japanese and Korean attacks were weakening the powerful Ming Dynasty but, due to Master Li’s discretion over state issues, even the enemies of Wan-Li respected him and his art. His education included a three-year retreat in a Buddhist monastery in Beijing, where he had also received the Sword of Honor. He was a talented musician and I loved to sit at his feet when he played the flute. I admired him more than any other man, even more than the Emperor, but I’d never admit that to anyone - I might find myself in a prison cave.
In contrast, my origin was humble. I believed in the Great Tao, though I knew little of my religion. I tried to be honest and hardworking, for I was sure my parents were keeping an eye on me from the secret land only dead ancestors inhabit. I survived the Great Quake, but had no memories of what happened. I was told I had knocked on Master Li’s door five days after the Quake, hungry, naked, and unable to utter a word. I knew my name was Tang Chi, but I was mute and had no way of letting others know my name. My Master started to call me Yu.
After the Quake we moved to Guilin, for there was not much left in Shaanxi due to the magnitude of the disaster. Besides, Master Li thought Guilin was the most beautiful spot on earth. During the years that followed, he developed a sign language to help me express myself. However, I kept the name he had given me because I felt I had been reborn.
Master Li made me swear I would never show his garden to anyone. He even invented a special sign for it: he put his palms together, crossed the middle fingers and moved them up and down like wings of a little bird. We used the sign only when the garden had to be mentioned in the presence of others, but only we two new what it referred to. He taught me how to read, write and count, so I was able to communicate with the villagers by drawing characters in the air or on my palm with my finger. There are many dialects in China and it is a common way to understand each other, because most dialects were written with same characters. I also learned how to use some of the healing plants of the garden.
Without my Master’s kindness I would have died of hunger and cold, or succumbed to the terrible diseases, which had spread out over the Shaanxi province, wiping out entire villages. But most of all I learned to trust and feel safe. Master resolved all problems with calm perfectionism. I sometimes tried to copy his manners, but I was hot-blooded and had no patience.
“Horses ready, Master need more things?” I asked him with our sign language. He shook his head and returned his gaze back to the pond.
The preparations for our journey had begun years before we left Guilin. They started with Master Li’s growing restlessness and with his braid slowly turning gray. His thoughts were no longer in his art; he just sat in silence in the garden with his eyes fixed in the depths of the pond. Over and over again, he kept reading a Sanskrit proverb, which a friend of his had given him long ago. It was a beautiful piece of advice on how to find a better way to live. It was a poem called ‘Look to this day’. One day Master called me to his garden and said:
“Yu, an old Chinese man has said that if you want to be happy for one night, get drunk; if you want to be happy for one moon, get married; if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, become a gardener’. I have done all those things, but I am not a happy man. Buddha says that I must let go of all attachments if I wish to be free from sorrow. This Sanskrit poem urges me to find happiness in today, but my heart is in yesterday and tomorrow. I can not rest until I shall be reunited with my long gone wife. I miss her very much.”
His eyes lit up when he continued:
“According to an old legend somewhere in the heart of Asia stands a mountain so high that it reaches up to heaven. If you climb up to its peak, you’ll be blessed with all you long for. It is the Mountain of Light - the great Kun Lun. Many men have drawn maps to find it or tried to explain how to get there, but the road leading to it is different for every man. I believe that anyone who seeks it shall find it. My wife TaiTai came to me in a dream saying she was waiting for me at Kun Lun. I must leave Guilin and go to her, even if it means I shall never return. You can stay here and take care of my house. If you want to follow me, we will leave next spring.”
I listened to Master bewildered, remembering the tales my grandfather used to tell me when I was a child. He had heard stories of men who had found the mysterious mountain on a high plane behind the Himalayas. They had all come back wholly changed. One of them had had a shining golden light around his head, one had reached a peace of mind beyond all understanding, and one was known to levitate after sunset. But many had gone and never returned. My grandfather had said there were seven iron gates on the road to the peak, guarded by man-eating monsters and dragons spitting fire. The horror-stories of what happened to those who attempted to go there had made my grandfather’s lips tremble and my teeth chatter.
In spite of my fear I agreed to accompany my Master. It was my duty as his servant. He changed all his possessions for gold, except the house, which he decided to leave under the care of his nephew Jei-ming, who lived on his own in the house next to Master’s mansion.
Jei-ming had been my first and best friend when I came to live at Master’s house. We were nearly the same age and, in spite of him being short and skinny, he was a worthy opponent in our childhood wrestling matches. Due to his wonderful sense of humor, which was a contrast to Master’s seriousness, he was great fun to be with. I was always happy to welcome him at the mansion and he was the only person - apart from Master Li - who had learned my sign language. Though he was a frequent visitor and a trustworthy man, he had never been allowed to see the garden or the secret sign referring to it.
I was getting impatient. Everything was prepared for the journey; three horses were ready in front of the mansion. One was loaded with provisions and two were waiting with empty backs, but Master Li just sat and played with the goldfish.
“Master needs something else?” I repeated with stronger gestures.
“No, the less we carry, the lighter we will travel. We have all we need, the rest will be provided along the way. Please ask my nephew to come in.”
I ran to fetch Jei-ming.
When he entered the garden, he stopped with his mouth wide open, startled by the beauty surrounding us.
“Oh! Oh! How… how is this possible?” He staggered. “I have visited you since I… since I was a child and never seen this!”
Then Jei-ming realized that he was to be in charge of the house. He flung his hands across his chest and cried out in anguish:
“I have no means to keep this beauty intact till you come back!”
“Just feed the fish and water the garden. You know I may not return,” said Master Li calmly.
“Do not worry about the future, just do every day what you think is best. That is enough. If the garden dies, it has served its purpose.”
Then Master asked us to leave and wait for him outside.
I walked backward nodding my head several times as a sign of respect. Before I turned away, I saw him stroke the flat rock he was sitting on and I heard him whisper:
“How difficult it is to part from things you love, even if they tie you to sorrow and pain.”
Then he walked out of the mansion and bowed to the statue of Buddha at the front garden. He united his palms on his forehead and prayed:
“Buddha of all times, may your wisdom accompany our journey and guide us to Kun Lun, where I shall be united with my beloved wife.”
I looked up to the sky and asked also the great Tao to protect us on the way, just in case his prayers were not heard.
The mansion got smaller and smaller as we advanced, until it slowly disappeared from sight.
~~~~~~Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak :)~~~~~~~~
For those who want to get this electronic book version online, please, please do it through www.GoodSearch.com/Goodshop and look for the Amazon link (then type my full name on the Amazon book search window). It won't cost you a penny more, but will give money to the charity of your choice - if you add that charity on the above GoodShop link I provided. I support Abandoned Pet Rescue - APR (Fort Lauderdale, FL), but there are hundreds of charities to choose from. Also the paper book, when it comes out hopefully by the end of this month, you can do it through GoodShop the same way :)
For those of you who have written to me asking for the paper version, I'll let you know when it comes out. Many people working on it here in USA, in Finland and Sweden, but it should be available in a few weeks :)
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And - as always:
MAY YOU BE WELL,
MAY YOU BE HAPPY,
MAY YOU BE FREE
FROM SUFFERING AND DANGER
(The “Metta” prayer)
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Updated: 8:45 PM EDT on September 03, 2015