((OOC note: This will have been submitted as a single document. I have divided it into multiple posts for ease of quotation and reply))
Pandaren Antiquities & Culture
Preliminary Proposal for Course Topics and Sequence
Visiting Professor Zhangshe Cranewing
Submitted to Department Chair for discussion and approval. Additional copy submitted to Office of the Dean.
This document is submitted as an opening point for discussion within the department and with the faculty as a whole. There is certainly the opportunity for alternative suggestions. I am not aware of the standard for how many courses per semester a faculty member offers. The same goes for customary arrangement of course sequences. Therefore I will be content with either a reduction of what should be offered initially, or with shifting specific courses between the proposed present & future topics lists. Once one or more specific offerings are approved for current presentation a detailed syllabus for each will be prepared and submitted.
Initial Course Offerings
Introduction to Written Pandaren
Written Pandaren takes the form of pictograms and more abstract ideograms. As such no knowledge of spoken Pandaren is necessary. Because some Pandaren cultural concepts and perspectives are quite different from other peoples' studying written Pandaren can in fact serve as an effective gateway to learning to speak the language.
Course format: 1/3 pattern. A lecture or group discussion followed by 3 sessions of individual assignments and in-office tutorial, with the cycle repeated throughout the semester.
The course would cover an overview of historical development, the meanings of a basic set of signs, interpretation of commonly occurring signage and labels, and other topics related to encounters a visitor to Pandaren locations might encounter in day to day activities. The course would culminate in a final project: composing a letter, posting it, and interpreting the reply.
Pandaren Vernacular Architecture
The course would cover organically built (as opposed to professionally designed) structures. Special emphasis would be placed on homes as embodiments of social networks and cultural values. Regional variations would be explored at the level of practical necessities for daily activities and also in terms of habitus (socio-cultural strictures on individual behavior). Student's understanding of homes would then be expanded into analysing other structures such as inns and market places.
The last part of the course would look at villages as a built environment and as a basic social unit within Pandaren culture as a whole. Students in small groups would develop a design for a community in a Pandaren region of their choice over the course of the semester. A substantial portion of course evaluation would be based on the group's creation of a three-dimensional model and presentation to the class of their design.
Polity in Pandaria
The course would begin with an overview of four major epochs in Pandaren history:
the era of slavery and the Revolution
the Pandaren Empire
the era behind the Mist (including the historical importance of the Wandering Isle)
Contemporary Pandaria, the Isles & Émigré / Ex-patriot communities
The course would then focus on:
Regional political structures
Sodalities as loci of social influence.
How Pandaria functions as a cohesive whole without a central authority
Pandaren involvement in international politics
Course evaluation determined through papers & exams
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Other Academic Activities to initiate during the first semester
Coordination of student research opportunities in Pandaria & the Isles:
Academic supervision by Visiting Prof. Cranewind for those pursuing Pandaren Studies as a concentration, and consultation as requested by other faculty for students in other fields of inquiry.
Practical arrangement by Visiting Prof. Cranewind through local contacts for placement, housing, etc.
Academic credit for fieldwork activity as -
an assignment within an existing course
enrollment in supervised independent study
Courses more suited to fieldwork rather than classroom presentation. Linguistics, Cartography & Archaeology are just a few examples of disciplines where fieldwork is a desirable component
extended practicum as a component of an advanced degree
Course registration not required to attend. For faculty, students, adjuncts and invited friends of the university. While distinct from the Colloquium series if desired any of these topics could be offered as such.
Potential topics which spring to mind:
“Chi & Tea” (preparation & consumption of tea as an expression of the Pandaren worldview)
“The Eternal Spiral of Time” (the Timeless Isle as a spatial anomaly analogous to the Caverns of Time)
“The Momentum of Monument” (evolution of major architectural sites during design, construction, use and their shifting function through re-appropriation as Pandaren culture evolved)
“Arms and the Empty Hand” (Pandaren martial philosophy and practices)
“Why We Eat” (food as Pandaren cultural sign and symptom)
“We're Gonna Need A Bigger Kitchen” (Supra-familial kinship amongst Pandaren – OOC note: in other words: clans exist, just not as an in-game mechanic for factional disputes)
Many other topics could be presented about the rich and varied Pandaren culture of course, depending on the interests of the faculty.
Informal yet in-depth discussions with other faculty. I am seeking both advice/support for my own studies and to function as a consultant to those in other fields with overlapping interests. More formal potential outcomes could include guest lectures, co-authorships, and joint presentations or panels at conferences.
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Potential Course Topics for Future Semesters
Intermediate Written Pandaren (sign complexes, polysemic construction, incorporating entry-level spoken Pandaren vocabulary)
Spoken Pandaren (grammar, syntax, vocabulary & colloquial expressions – special emphasis on phrases of use to travelers and those interacting with Pandaren on a daily basis)
Orality as Cultural Mnemonic (Wandering Isle teaching techniques & Lorewalkers of Pandaria)
Formal & Monumental Architecture of Pandaria
Pandaren Cuisine (preparation, etiquette, and related cultural issues)
courses on each of the four major historical epochs as listed above
Genera Pandaren Geography – followed by subsequent courses on each major region of Pandaria & the Isles
Rituals & Liminality – inclusive of spatial, temporal, ceremonial, and quotidian aspects
Introduction to Pandaren Martial Arts (for Physical Education credit)
Traditional Pandaren Expressive Media (for creative arts credit)
Philosophy & Spirituality (The Four August Celestials, the monastic system, shrines & temples, comparison of Huojin, Tushui & other "ways", typical everyday religio-philosophical practices, expression of spirituality in quotidian activities)
Long Term Goals
Much more tenuous than the proposals above. Consider these as brainstorming seeds for Informal discussion.
On-Campus Cultural Activities
Traditional Pandaren Banquet
Demonstrations of Pandaren sports, martial arts, etc.
Celebration of Pandaren holidays
Guided Tour of Pandaria
1 or 2 week stay with residence divided between major inns as appropriate. Coordinated activities would include:
Formal presentations by SWU faculty & local experts
Guided visits to sites of historical & cultural significance
Attendance of the weekly Wanderers' Festival
Opportunities for small group or individual interactions with local artists, artisans, and representatives of local organizations such as the Shado-Pan and Order of the Cloud Serpent
Students would receive course credit through assignments approved by and submitted to professors whose courses they are enrolled in. Examples may include but are not limited to: papers, posters, class presentations, creations in various media, and so on.
Journal of Pandaren Studies
Peer-reviewed. Open to submissions from all disciplines. Hopefully we can come up with a name that is more reflective of the playfulness and poetry of Pandaren.
Exchange Student Program
To be developed in cooperation with appropriate Pandaren entities such as the various monastery schools, the Arboretum,
Pandaren Studies as an Area of Concentration for Undergraduate Degrees
Design of a course sequence sufficient to meet University degree requirements for Pandaren Antiquities and Culture as an area of concentration - not as a specific major until a later stage of development.
Clusters from which students would choose required courses would be Literature & Expressive Arts (Humanities), History (including Archaeology), and Contemporary Culture (Social Sciences & Pandaren perspectives on Theoretical Sciences)
Incorporation of electives from other disciplines would be a requirement - with an appropriate list developed in consultation with other faculty
Most courses within the Pandaren studies concentration would be developed in such a way as to make them suitable as electives for students pursuing degrees in other disciplines.
An additional requirement would be completion of at least one Independent Study or Fieldwork assignment within the field of Pandaren studies broadly construed.
I look forward to discussing these proposals both formally and informally, with you and with my colleagues on the faculty as well.
((name written, chop affixed as official signature)
OOC: Everybody feel free to comment either IC or OOC. I definitely want this portfolio to be an extension of the great collegial interaction we're already developing in-game. Being able to re-read will be a lot easier than trying to remember in detail what was said in-game.
IC: Pandaren you know & many you don't got together & had a special scroll made of a text by Zhangshe as a community contribution to the University library.
OOC: The link should be publicly accessible for you to dl the whole scroll (18 images, larger than these previews) as a pdf without needing a dropbox account. If you have trouble let me know.
Special thanks to Yao of Jadepaw Dynasty who several years ago made some random Pandaren ideograms that work well with the few Blizzard posted then later gave me permission to assign meanings and use them in my art.
Proposal for the Tsao Center for Peace Studies
The August Celestials have taught the Pandaren over the centuries both how and – more importantly – why to fight. The central teaching of Chi-Ji is that “Hope's Fire grows when the Flames come together.” A practical way of saying this is that we fight to Restore Balance and Harmony. This way of being in the world is not solely for the peoples of Pandaria alone. It is available to all the peoples of Azeroth.
The Tsao Center for Peace Studies will be a place for all to share in the Pandaren way of reaching Harmony. Through education programs, public events and accessible spaces to savor the lessons learned the Tsao Center will serve both Stormwind University and the wider community as a place in which to find balance both within & without.
The Tsao Center's adopted motto “Hope's fire grows when the Flames come together” is at the heart of the Pandaren way. Tsao was the emperor of the First Dynasty who – despite the oppression of Pandaren by his own people – decreed that they be allowed to establish their own schools and thus preserve and pass on their own culture.
Therefore the Center for Peace Studies itself embodies the spirit of Harmony. Within a balance of natural places with constructed spaces the Tsao Center provides the students and faculty of Stormwind University the opportunity for educational, practical and contemplative activities that work together toward that goal. Furthermore it functions as a setting for the University to extend these activities the community as a whole.
To the University:
- Classrooms, Workshops and other didactic spaces for the study of Pandaren culture in relationship to the other peoples of Azeroth
- Archives and Gallery space for the preservation and display of cultural artifacts such as rare texts, art and traditional crafts of all the peoples of the continent of Pandaria and the Wandering Isle
- Representative Landscapes, Flora and Fauna as an extension of the botanical and agricultural programs
- Additional space for classes and other activities by all departments
- Informal spaces for contemplative and small group activities by all members of the University
- Pavilion, Plaza, Hall and other outdoor spaces for receptions and presentations both public and private
To the Community:
- A place for preservation through active expression of their culture for Pandaren traveling through or living permanently within the current diaspora
- A variety of easily accessible spaces for public events in a tranquil non-aligned setting
- A place of refuge from the strife and dissonance of everyday life at the present time
The overall goal for the facilities' design of the Tsao Center for Peace Studies is to express a harmonious balance of opposites. This is in the spirit of Jihui – that the way to win is for all to be satisfied with the present circumstances. Which is an apt definition of Peace.
Pandaren architecture builds the harmony of public and private spaces, practical and contemplative activities, education toward and enactment of Chi-Ji's message in everyday life. The design of the Tsao Center for Peace Studies expresses this spirit through a balance of traditional and contemporary constructs. Which is an apt definition of a Way of Life.
The design is a synthesis of all the regional styles in a functional way rather than a reproduction of any specific monumental or historic Pandaren site. This reinforces the Tsao Center for Peace Studies mission of realizing a more hopeful future through contemporary adaptation of the best of the past. Which is an apt definition of Culture.
At a practical level the most fundamental element of architectural design is functional use in harmony with the surroundings; of construction is laying the foundations. A meandering path including sections of low steps which follows the streams and contours of the surrounding hillsides leads up to and through three terraced levels separated by what might be best described as cultivated natural landscaping.
The path and steps lead up to the highest point of the Tsao Center for Peace Studies. A hilltop vista overlooks the Center's activities, with a view to Stormwind University as a whole, and the world beyond.
The Tsao Center for Peace Studies is designed to be constructed in three phases: facilities of immediate use to the Stormwind University community, expansion of facilities dedicated to specific educational programs, and finally establishment of an area for the University to share its spirit with the general public.
While the Center when fully realized will be used from the base up – moving ever deeper into the heart of the Pandaren way - the actual construction proceeds from the top tier downward to the path out to the center of campus. This order meets the immediate needs of the University and advances to completion in a practical sequence.
Each phase of construction is named for a key feature and is focused on a particular way of savoring life.
Top Terrace: Savor of Action
Provides facilities for currently existing educational and public programs related to the Tsao Center's mission.
- The path and stairs for the whole Center. While not as long as the path up from the university center, the section upward beyond the base terrace is longer than that between the two upper terraces.
- Planting of specimen boulders, trees & bambus throughout the Center's grounds
- Shaping of the waterways descending from a pond
- On either side of the pond: a scholar's hut (classroom) in the Jade Forest / Vale of Eternal Blossoms styles and a rural village home (workshop) using materials representative of the several coastal and heartland styles
- A bridge across the pond
- A cobblestone area just below them for larger group activities
Middle Terrace: Savor of Community
Provides facilities which expand the purpose of the scholar's hut & village home into more specialized didactic spaces representative of four types of activities.
- Pave terrace – a common area for lectures, presentations & educational activities
- Dojo - physical exercise including martial arts, and other small group activities
- Scroll Grotto - study, production and preservation of texts in a climate-controlled traditional space
- Bell Shrine – personal contemplation, community ceremony, philosophy & spiritual life
- Workshops – outdoor space for kiln, forge, carpentry, etc.
- Wall that defines communal ambience without creating a barrier – low height, moon gates, of materials which transition between buildings & natural surroundings
- Detailed landscaping of whole Center including placement of worked stones & creation of nooks for semi-private activities
- Introduction of small fauna indigenous to Pandaria to help establish a stable micro-ecozone.
- Statues of Tsao & Liu Lang flanking entry to Center's path
- Chi-Ji statue at center of lower tier
Lower Terrace: Savor of Unity
Provides spaces for general use by larger groups
- Plaza of worked stone encircling Chi-Ji statue in style of Shrine of Friendship peak.
- Ponds with wooden bridges connecting plaza to other areas of lower terrace & continuation of upper path
- Multi-story reception center: Interior design in style of similar buildings in Pandaren monasteries. ground floor reception / meeting space. Upper stories library & exhibition rooms. Exterior: white walls in Jade Forest style with dark tile roof as found in Northern Pandaria and along the Serpent's Spine.
- Pavilion – open-sided wooden structure with thatched roof in Kun-Lai style. Generous reception space in center with dining areas as found at Pandaren inns at either end
- Partial walls defining function while allowing free flow throughout terrace
- Specimen trees, boulders & worked stone throughout terrace
- Stone Gate between statues, demarking entry to the Center
- Completion of paving & balustrade on the vista peak at the rear of the grounds.
Primary initial cost to the University – provision of land along with some time by supervisory & security staff. Other needed funds from outside grant(s), donations & subscriptions. Subscription concept is that the grounds would be available to the Pandaren community whenever not in use by the University Additional subscription levels would garner access to classes on a non-credit basis, subject to space limits.
Materials - donation wherever possible, especially of those to be imported from Pandaria. By providing local materials on an individual and community basis those Pandaren not in a position to make substantial financial contribution to the center can still help the Center come to fruition.
Labour – many Pandaren would be eager to donate their skills to the development of such a facility. It is quite likely that the same is true of other communities. This can be combined with an apprenticeship program allowing students to receive academic credit for work done under the supervision of master artisans. Whatever additional labor costs are incurred would be subsidized by the outside funding mentioned above.
Once the Tsao Center for Peace Studies is functioning a dedicated endowment from the sources listed above, along with an appropriate portion of tuition and usage fees should subsidize operating costs.
- I plan to mention the potential development of a Center for Peace Studies at the Pandaren Summit. This will be a general description to prompt IC discussion within the Pandaren community & hopefully increase attendance at our public events.
- The primary purpose is to provide IC justification of MoP locations as campus facilities. For example Dreamers' Pavilion is already use. In-game structures there include the cobblestone area and the scholar's hut described above as part of the first construction phase.
- Every major location listed in the proposal has one or more equivalents in-game The Center is a feasible location for all sorts of guild, invitation-only & public RP events.
Prepared for - but not presented at - the Second Pandaren Summit
My heart is here. You – my family – are in my soul for as long as I have fur & claws. All my outside affiliations are temporary. I set them aside to speak with my family today. Matters not where we fight, who we fight beside or against. WHY we fight is what matters. We Pandaren fight to restore Balance & Harmony. We must remember that we grow into dynamic tranquility with two hands & one heart.
Huojin & Tushui are two hands extending from one Pandaren heart. Do Red Crane & Jade Serpent make enemies of White Tiger & Shado-pan to violently eject them from Kuhn-Lai? No. The time has come when we must fight with more than breaking & hacking. We can also restore Balance & Harmony with bowls & humor.
We already know all the peoples of Azeroth can live as we do. We first encountered them banded together, healing each other. Healing the harm they had done to our land as well. Time now to remind them.
Step boldly out of the mists of doubt & division.Restore Balance & Harmony. YES, we need Huojin active amongst those they thought were friends. Tushui gently reminding people that it is they who create, not kings. We will do so in a thousand tiny ways. In teahouses & temples. In walking & waiting. In frolics & food.
For myself, I am working to establish a center for peace studies at Stormwind University. I hope you will join me in that effort. They are eager to incorporate the Pandaren way of being in the world to what they offer Azeroth. They choose active non-alignment. They provide opportunities every month for all to sit together.
Share with this mighty family gathered here today where you are creating Balance & Harmony. Spread the word amongst our siblings and cousins across Azeroth. Then we can show unity of purpose by being together publicly. Seize every opportunity to sit together & remind all the peoples of Azeroth how we first met them.
Befriend all. Be everywhere. Be ourselves.
Why We Are Here Today (Dedication Speech for Liu-Tsao Center)
We gather today within a terrace. One of what we hope will become many as this tranquil place expands. There already are & - as this space transforms - there shall be still more subtle allusions here to the carefully crafted landscapes of Pandaria.
The way you followed to come into this gathering in places is paved steps & in others a meandering path where the earth follows a flowing stream. We intend for there to be a series of ascending terraces along the way.
Each is a space for learning in a practical way how Pandaren think. How we feel. How we live. How we look at the world. As they ascend, through our ways working with scholiasts & artisans finally students come into this place of poise & peace.
A rustic country shack. A more urbane sort of hut. A shared shrine & workshop. Their setting may seem natural. Yet every stone, every stand of bambu, the pond & stream are as carefully crafted and joined as the roof beams and walls of these homes.
We Pandaren began our journey on the face of Azeroth as co-creators of the land in which we live. We carry on this work today. Regardless of whatever creed or code we may swear by, we are what we do.
The purpose for which this space is being created, the ways in which his place serves – descend from a single saying of one of our four August Celestials. Chi-
Ji's core teaching is that “Hope's Fire grows when the Flames come together.”
A practical way of saying this is that we struggle with our lives to Restore Balance & Harmony. This way of being in the world is not solely for the peoples of Pandaria alone. It is available to all the peoples of Azeroth.
Which brings me back to the base of this hill. The path upwards begins at a traditional stone gate guarded by two statues. Reminders of two unique culture heroes: Liu Lang & Emperor Tsao.
Liu was widely considered by his contemporaries to be a crazy scholar who sought something impossible. They believed that his journey away from home would kill him. Because they believed their little piece of Azeroth was all.
Yet his children & the descendants of those who joined him continue their magnificent adventure. Not only did they find a wider world full of peculiar people with strange & intriguing customs. More importantly, they found a way back home.
They follow a natural way that even the Mists could not impede. They journey on the ebb & flow of our world to this very day.
Tsao sat on the throne of the First Dynasty. In the midst of the long generations of our slavery, when his own dynasty sought to utterly obliterate our culture, he chose a different path.
The only thing for which he is remembered today is that he commanded our oppressors that we be allowed our own schools, our own writings, our own language & way of life.
Together, Liu & Tsao guard the entry here, where we hope to share our ways with the world.
A scholar who moved beyond the limits others insisted were absolute. An emperor who freed the minds & helped perpetuate the culture of those his own people sought to destroy.
An outcast become one with his home. An unknown yet true friend on an enemy throne. In their statues Liu - who ventured forth - now sits & Tsao - once enthroned - now stands. Pillars of our spiritual gate guarding the physical path into our way of life.
What could better embody the fires coming together in dynamic balance – our hope for the future. We are here today in the Liu-Tsao Center because of the way they crafted. We pray that we may continue their work in sharing our home with all of Azeroth.
Dropbox Link for "Public Document" combining edited versions of the draft & final proposal.
tinyurl version :
This is a public link. No Dropbox account needed to view.
Précis of a Visit with Empress-Regent Silentstrike
(memorandum submitted to the Dean's office with cc to Vela Anklaris, Department Head of General Studies)
The Regent & her people have been fairly regular attendees at our public gatherings – notably the dedication of the Liu-Tsao Center. During chats before & after events such as the Conclaves I have had the opportunity to gather that they may have some interest in supporting our efforts at building a non-aligned cross-cultural network of of individuals, groups and communities. The first step in exploring potential mutual interests was to invite them to an informal dinner party in a traditional Pandaren style at my home near Tian.
That went well, and subsequently I was invited to an informal tea at the palace residence of the Regent. While not there as a formal representative of the University, the invitation was extended to me in my role as a faculty member rather than as a private citizen of Pandaria.
“Informal” in a palace is not the same as informal at a professor's home. For the occasion I had new robes tailored of the scholarly style I normally wear on campus & to our scheduled public events, with the goal to indicate my position (as one does in a formal setting) while also honoring Pandaren traditions:
fine silk robes with "cloud & quilen" pattern both woven & embroidered on hems & cuffs. Pandaren stylized gryphon embossed on buckle. Cloak has hand-painted gryphons in clouds, with raised outlines in embroidery. Fan has gryphon brushed on in gold ink. Ceremonial paper knife with matching patterns on blade & grip
While I am trained in proper etiquette for court occasions this was my first actual visit to a palace at the invitation of a person of such august rank. The approach was quite intimidating. After being allowed entrance by the guards, one is required to walk down a hallway so long that the Regent cannot be seen in her reception hall.
She was accompanied by a single Pandaren dressed in somewhat formal armor. Her entourage normally includes such a person – one who seems to be both companion & bodyguard, and remains virtually silent throughout our encounters. After somewhat formal greetings we moved to a side room where we sat on cushions for conversation & tea. The room was finely fitted, with a subtle elegance expressed through sparsity of furnishings rather than opulence.
A single server handled all our needs. A wide choice of teas available from which to select for preparation on the spot. Surprisingly, the comestible was a taffy made by the Regent herself.
The conversation was quite wide-ranging.
We began with sharing a bit of personal histories. Another surprise: Regent Silentstrike is not from an ancient or noble lineage. She was in the Black Guard (a Shado-Pan military unit) during the recent conflicts. And her concept of Empire has much more to do with leadership by example and the conquest of enemies such as hunger, lack of refuge, and racism rather than aggrandizement at the expense of other cultures.
We then went on to discuss goals for the upcoming Pandaren Summit. Empress-Regent Silentstrike & her people are the organizers and hosts. As far as I know I am the first outsider to be invited to such an intimate gathering with them as this pre-Summit tea was.
Being invited into their circle should open some unique opportunities for us to cultivate new Friends of the University. One related matter worth discussion within the University and possibly at such a gathering would be a revival of the Ambassadorial Education series- transformed into presentations by cultural emissaries representing closer-knit communities rather than whole races.
The opportunities opening up for us are not limited to the political and social connections mentioned above. The Regent dropped hints of a unique artifact of some kind which she would like me to examine. She also indicated that they have a collection of manuscripts and other items which may be of use to many of our faculty members in extending their particular research focii. Many members of her court have unique personal histories and skill sets that overlap and harmonize with those of our faculty & staff. It will be well worth investing some time with them as potential donors and active participants in our future endeavors.
I would like to offer for the Dean and Board's consideration the possibility of inviting them – along with other selected present and potential Friends - to a sort of “working dinner”. Something relatively informal yet appropriate to the status of our guests where mutual interests and potential collaborations can be discussed. If you are amenable to this, I will coordinate with faculty and staff on the details of the dinner itself and potential talking points.
The first step would be for me to gauge interest and a short list of possible invitees at the Summit coming up in a few days. I apologize for the short notice which adds some minor urgency to the timing of your approval.
Assistant Professor of Pandaren Antiquities & Culture
“The Pandaren Way Is a Potluck Feast for the Future”
Speech delivered by Assistant Professor Zhangshe Cranewind of Stormwind University at the Pandaren Summit
This Truth shines brightest in troubled times: Serene is the Sheathed sharp sword. The rest of the world is just now realizing what a terrible mistake it is to set Tushui against Huojin. This has never been our way.
What we bring to the feast of cultures that is Azeroth is this …
We have not needed emperors or warchiefs for more than 10,000 years. Before we were Mist-bound, before we were a tranquil empire, before we were slaves who defeated a corrupted tyranny of Titan-forged with our bare paws … The first Pandaren helped mold our rivers, cultivate the forests.
We shaped our land. We did this with all our heart, with both our paws. Working together. In order to make our home so serene, we had to see it. Really see it. To see it we had to sit back. Sitting so, we saw what was needful & swiftly transformed. Swiftly flows our chi. This is our secret gift. Huojin & Tushui acting as one. Two paws, one heart. Two wings, one soaring bird.
Our mainland culture seems utterly Tushui. Serene. Unseen. Sitting apart – just as we did before the Mists blew away. Our culture on Shen-zin Zu seems very Huojin. Wandering about the world, going here, there, & everywhere - eagerly seeking the new, interacting with other peoples. Always restless, always busy.
Seems. But is this really so?
We Huojin Wanderers spend the vast majority of our time sitting in our towns & taverns & temples. Doing no more than telling old tales or silently memorizing maps. Contemplating where we have been, wondering where we will go next. We Tushui Mainlanders are eternally busy busy busy. Rice farmers cultivating the watercourses. Lorewalkers on their journeys harvesting hearts. Perfecting our dancing through the rough combat within ourselves.
Wherever we live, we are ruled by neither Sha nor Shado-Pan. We are ruled today as Shaohao ruled. Giving our life to the land. Shang showed us that each life well-lived becomes a living tree. Blossoms & Leaves are not at war. Together they give birth to the fruit. Without Roots Branches only future will be embers & ashes. Roots without branches are just a stump.
The Turtle began his journey in the stillness & mists. Each of us comes out into the wider world like the Turtle & returns home to rest. We act together - each in our own way. We sit together, many bowls, one feast. In our perfect heart of hearts the pulse of Chi is balanced. Eternally flowing. We live in a land where sun & shadow are balanced. Snow melts on shaded peaks, flows into lakes, lakes fall in streams, rivers reach the sea. From the restless waves & wind clouds ascend again - bringing rain to the sunny valleys, snow to the peaks.
Stillness at the heart of action. Action in the center of stillness. We learn to soar with cloud serpents, swimming in a sea of ever-flowing Chi.
Now that the rest of the world is once again weary of setting one paw against the other, we can teach them how to live. Perhaps this time they will learn. Perhaps not. Whether they are or not, what we have to offer is ready. We were busy in the spiritual kitchen unseen. The feasting is not yet begun. This is the moment to bring to the table & share all that we have prepared within ourselves.
Tushui. Huojin. Hope's Fire grows when the Flames come Together.