Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche

Story 1 - Lianhua.
page 7


      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, and 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 they people they were now in contact with, especially 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, who 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 form 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 the passive doctrines. A person who honors another deeply will never dream of lying, killing, stealing, or sexually abusing another human being. It 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?"

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 (c) Copyright 1998 - Rolf Witzsche
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada