††††††††††††††††††††††† Copyright © 2009 by William R. Mistele

†††††††††††††††††††††† Written January 1 of this year.

 

Master Wu

 

In the third year of the reign of Emperor Hongwu

Of the Ming Dynasty, 1371 AD,

Master Wu sits meditating in his monastery

Outside the city of Zhengzhou in Hunan. ††

In the temple room beneath him

Veils of incense linger in the air

Mixing with gentle, melodic chanting

Of Lao Tzuís Tao Te Ching

 

But for such things Master Wu had no care

If you look into his eyes

You will see the night sky

With occasional flashes of lightning

In the distance over the horizon

 

Master Wu is focusing

On the Golden Flower

The Immortality Pearl

And the elixir of life

Unfolding, fermenting, and blossoming

Within his body

 

Carefully joining, refining, and circulating

His breath, his blood,

And the essence of masculinity

In the simmering, steel cauldron of his concentration.

 

If you ask Master Wu, Who are you?

He would reply,

(I translate now from his Chinese poetry)

I am the sacred, silver mist circling

The peaks of ancient mountains

I am the waves of the open ocean

A billion strong rolling

I am the ice sheets a thousand feet deep

Where the North and South poles sleep

I am the deepest sea trench

Where descending cold water

Now ascends to travel North as warm

I am the far reaches of the sky

My brush the wind

Moist vapor my ink,

The swirling clouds my calligraphy

 

I am the creatures of earth, air, and sea

Their instincts and energy

Shape shifting, myriad forms of perception and sensation,

Awakening, now returning,

Reuniting in me as pure vitality.

 

Student, Li Bu, enters the room asking,††

Oh master, tell me, will you

What is the taste of the elixir of life?

The master replies,

If your meditation is well done

Its taste appears on your tongue

It is like drinking a cup of water from a stream

Where ice melts in spring

With the light of the stars mixed in

Its taste is the song a star sings

Knowing the love in its heart

Extends to the ends of the universe.

 

It is the taste of a mind without boundaries

Absolute freedom, without beginning or end

The body now a temple

The divine a light shining within

 

The word ecstasy does not contain enough bliss

The word serenity does not contain enough depth

 

One drop of this elixir on the tongue

And you taste all the waters of the earth vibrating as one. ††

 

Though we know ourselves as male or female

Starting from the opposite sides of life

When body and mind unite

There is no longer form limitation

No separation, your feelings

And the otherís are one

 

The students goes and writes Master Wuís words

Then struggles to meditate following the masterís way

His breath he watches

His pulse he calms

His masculinity as still and clear as a mirror

But a question flies into his ear

The words an irritation in his tranquility

So he returns to the Master and asks,

What is the scent of the Golden Flower

And the nature of its power?

 

It is incense fashioned from a mind

That sees through time--

The fire that burns this incense

Is the will power combined

Of Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, and Alexanderó

All of that craving for power

That rage to conquer,

The will to dominate and devouró

These condense and fuse into one tiny flame

The wick ignites

But I change the light

Into compassion as vast as the sky.

 

The scent of the Golden Flower

Is the source of justice that shall fill the earth

Its aroma is peace between the nations

 

In my body the elixir of immortality I create

All fear annihilates

I draw malice into my self

Purging it of selfishness

Imbuing it with nobility and honor

In my heart I unite

The sun, moon, the planets, and stars

This harmony I infuse into the world leaders

Until one day the earth itself

She shall be enlightened.

 

But master Wu,

Your vision does not belong to this age of the world,

Rather, I think that happiness is enough.

 

Master Wu replies with lightning in his eyes,

When the happiness of the personality

And the joy of the spirit

Dance as one within the body

Then a new age shall come.††††