Story 1 - Lianhua.
Through some kindly friends, the monks were told about the coming invasion. All the people were told about
this. The visiting friends warned that they all should flee for their lives. 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 such 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. The 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 worth that a people could possibly make to each other. They realized that this was, and continued to be, the essence of themselves and the 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, and their legacy continued likewise. Many were hanged, imprisoned, beheaded, but the legacy of what they stood for lived on.
"It still lives on," said Mei-seong. "It lives on in people who dare to love, who dare to be honest with themselves, who are committed to honor and to enriching one another's existence, who dare to honor the human being as a human being.