This story, originally written in Chinese, has gone viral recently – judging from the many fb sharings. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first because of the lousy cover art used (Click on this link and you shall see what I meant). Again, an excellent article that lacks an english translation. I made an adaptation and called it “Beauty On the Mountain”
One day, a wise yogi brought a woman before a mountain in the land.
It was a sacred mountain, one blessed with beauty beyond words. The yogi and the woman felt small in the presence of such regal grace, reminded of how little they truly were in the world’s eyes, as they were only two shards of the piece that made time’s stream.
The yogi looked to the woman with a smile made of sunlight and asked: “What do you think of the mountain?”
The woman, with eyes made of awe, turned to the him. “I think it is a stalwart and majestic mountain. I can’t wait to get to the top!”
The yogi smiled, knowing he had taken the young woman to a place that brought her heart great happiness. “Let us go up the mountain,” he told her. And with that, they went up the mountain, exploring its every crevice. But the journey was not an easy one. Every step was a trial that was not easy to overcome, as the young woman discovered.
The yogi asked: “What do you think of the mountain now?”
Panting, the woman replied: “I spoke too early. There is gravel everywhere, the trees are not growing well.” Then the woman caught her breath. “This mountain used to be tall, strong, and proud. Now it is weak! It once was beautiful, but now its beauty has eroded.”
She grabbed the yogi by the sleeve. “You see those mountains over there?” she told him, pointing off into the distance where other taller, more majestic snow-capped mountains stood. “Why didn’t you bring me to those mountains instead?”
The old yogi nodded as he listened to her words. He was familiar with them, just as the falcon was familiar with the wind. It was a story he had heard before: the story of how beautiful something was on sight, but was truly much more complex. There were many treasures that appeared to be innocent on the surface, but were really powerful underneath the tender exterior. But in the end, the adventure was worth the trouble. The journey, despite its difficult steps, was a butterfly bursting out of its cocoon.
The old yogi remained quiet until they finally made it to the summit. There he spoke once again to the woman. “The journey may have been long. It may have been difficult. But every step of the way, beauty blossoms in the way the sun kisses the earth.”
“The mountain has not changed because it is your heart and your eyes that have changed,” he said. “On the way up, you hated this mountain because you do not see the extraordinary beauty in the ordinary.”
The yogi paused. “True love comes from seeing the beauty of a mountain from afar and from up close.” He picked up a rock. “Where you see ugliness, I see the story of creation,” he said, showing her a fossil embedded in the rock.
He scooped up a handful of soil. “Where you see land that cannot produce beautiful things, I see a mountain that is ready to show the world something it has never seen before.” He tossed the soil into the wind, letting it scatter amongst the trees.
“Where you see weak trees,” the yogi said gently, “I see the strength of a mountain providing a home for others.” He pointed to a bird’s nest where three young hatchlings called out for their mother.
“Can you see wonders like this on the other mountains in the distance right now?”
There was a silence between the two, and then the yogi said one more thing. “It is your job to care for this mountain because it is the mountains job to care for all of these things. If you harm your mountain, you harm life itself. There is something beautiful within every mountain, and just as life – you must be willing to look closely to find it.”
Also read my adaptation of another chinese article, Life Lessons From Curved Rivers