So here's something I wrote for the Dao Bao Jing a while back. Wasn't sure if I'd write another chapter, or if it works better as just a stand alone. I can't think of a good second chapter or other topic for an interaction between these two figures, so I thought I'd just post it already. I would invite anyone interested to write a second chapter, or help me come up with ideas for one.
So here it is.
1 One morning, as the Students were swabbing the deck, the Master came out to observe their diligence. 2 And the Student approached the Master.
3 “Master, why is it that we swab the decks every day?” inquired the Student.
4 “One must always keep their ship in peak condition, ready for any storm or attack.” responded the Master.
5 “But Master,” the Student protested, “We live in a monastery high in the mountains.”
6 “Did you think I meant a literal ship?” the Master asked rhetorically. 7 “Our ship is what holds us and carries us where we go. 8 That is what we must keep ship shape, hence the saying.”
9 “But Master,” the Student protested again, still confused. 10 “Our monastery is in no danger from attack or storm, is it?”
11 “You are still such a child,” the Master smiled. 12 “Did you think I meant literal storms or attacks? 13 I'm an ancient venerated sage of Pastafarianism, most of what I say is going to be in metaphor or allegory. 14 Attacks are any outside source of conflict, suffering, or confusion. 15 Storms are the internal sources of these tribulations. 16 Must I spell everything out for you?”
17 “Well, it does help,” the Student pointed out. 18 “But how is it that swabbing the decks of the monastery here help us to prevail in times of hardship, external or otherwise? 19 It just keeps things clean, mostly.”
20 “How does it help you?” the Master exclaimed. 21 “How does it not help you! 22 It maintains tradition, reminding you of the hard life of the sea our pirate ancestors and brothers live. 23 It provides physical exercise, to keep you healthy and fit. 24 It is a means of meditation, if you let it be. 25 Most significant, though, is the discipline you gain. 26 The ability to listen to and execute orders from your elders and superiors will aide you much in this life, and the ability to listen to and execute orders from your mind and soul is an even greater asset.”
27 “Master, I will gladly do as you say when there is meaning and purpose behind it.” the Student offered. 28 “But I see no purpose behind our endless swabbing.”
29 “You wish to know the true meaning of your labors?” the Master asked. 30 “Very well. 31 There is none. 32 Your endless swabbing accomplishes nothing measurable or cash refundable.”
33 “Then why is it that we do this?” asked the Student.
34 “Discipline,” the Master reiterated. 35 “If you cannot discipline yourself to accomplish a meaningless task, you will only be able to apply yourself to whatever catches your passion at any moment. 36 You will be as fickle as the wind and unable to accomplish anything. 37 If you can discipline yourself to do a task with no meaning, then you have achieved the discipline to do the most difficult of tasks. 38 After that, any pursuit you follow you will complete. 39 Through discipline of a meaningless task, you gain discipline to accomplish anything you dream of. 40 Now, have I explained everything to you clearly?”
41 “Yes, I think so” the Student answered.
42 “Good. 43 Don't make me do that again” the Master ordered. 44 “It is difficult to maintain an aura of mystical wisdom when you make me dissect my metaphors.”
But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple'
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