On ForgivenessIn the cool shade of a persimmon tree, a prophet sat cross-legged and silent, deep in thought. His breaths in were long. His breaths out were long. The moments between each breath in and out were longer still.On Forgiveness by Farand
The prophet had been meditating like this for many hours. Then a young man with a deep sorrow in his heart approached and unburdened himself to him. There followed a lengthy silence so profound that even the leaves of the persimmon tree seemed to cease their rustling. At last the prophet said:
'Over the course of your life, have you changed? If you have, then forgive. For if you, yourself, are capable of change, then so is the other person. You both came from the same earth, and will both return to it. Not to forgive someone is to believe that he cannot change; and you, yourself, cannot change, but must always be as unhappy as you are, if you do not forgive.'
The young man bowed and departed. The prophet returned to his breathing.
The Mountain Climber'It's so quiet at the top of the mountain that the snowflakes tinkle softly like little bells as they fall.'The Mountain Climber by Farand
Only one man has ever climbed the mountain. On descending, he made no statement, save for the above-quoted remark. He went home, got into bed, and died.
What had happened? He went mad, said some: he had seen or heard something divine ― or evil. Others suggested altitude sickness: 'When you've lived among rice paddies your entire life, you'll be breathless if you stand on your tiptoes.'
I wonder whether he fell into a deep depression on hearing the purity of the snowflakes' music. Did it sadden him to think that no-one else would hear it?
The mountain isn't tall; but the locals are superstitious. When you're eighty-two years old, perhaps you're less afraid of the punishment of the gods.