Story 1 - Lianhua.
"No, we saved your life," said the monks. "You owe
"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."
"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 build 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 build 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."