Travels to Inzen Isle
I received a letter from the Elder of a remote Sanga of Monks which fell upon me and my path as not only a question, but an answer as well. The Elder of these Monks, Yoshago, explained in about travelers that have come to his land speaking of Monks they met in the lands of Kugnae, that are great healers. Of course we at first couldn't see why he found this so peculiar. Yoshago was passionate about an exchange of knowledge, and along with the letter came a set of directions to reach Inzen Isle. Only small rafts set off on the coastline between the countries of Nagnang and Han will catch the south westerly current and the correct salty sea air draft that leads to the isle. This was one invitation that I could not refuse.
After an afternoon of drifting and as the glaring sun began to fall from the sky, a dense fog rolled in from what seemed like nowhere. The only visible point of reference was the orange fireball lighting up the horizon which eventually faded in to the cloak of the night. Just as all darkness closed in and the sun threw its final warming rays upon me, I began to wonder, did I make a mistake? Was I to quick to peruse this endeavor? I stopped and closed my eyes, I let my mind grasp all around me, no sooner than I fell in to my trance of meditation was my fear replaced by the glowing torch on the docks of an island.
I arrived and to my great surprise was happily greeted face to face with a man I knew to be a Monk, he was large strong and brandished many scars, a Monk he was no doubt, I saw his aura glow like no Monk before, a glow of strength, power, and balance, but the glow of an enlightened Monk none the less. A Monk he was, a Poet he was not.
In this small Monk Sanga, the Inzen believe in training their bodies and minds equally as does ours, however different from the Monks of our kingdoms their discipline also lies in mastering their bodies greatly over their minds. They go through extensive trials to reach their full potential.
In the morning I trained in their dojo for many hours each day learning how to defend and attack in new ways using their martial arts techniques. By midday, the sun was directly overhead, and was not feasible to practice I was directed to the library. For being in such a remote area the Inzen had a surprisingly large amount of literature, including many rare and ancient texts about Buddhism and martial arts. Surprisingly they had practically no knowledge of any other Monk Sanga and only learned about ours from the occasional drifter and one of our scrolls beached and waterlogged with only the title legible. That scroll is what led them to us.
In return for all they taught me in the dojo and the freedom they gave me within their library, I taught them all that I know about my circle, distributed legible copies of our scroll, The Wandering Monk, and gave them prayer beads for their ceremonies, as well as the knowledge to bloom the fine Lotus. That night a great ceremony was held on behalf of both our families in hopes we all prosper together.
When the firewood was depleted and the moon was raised in the sky, it was time to turn in for the night. I looked up at the starry night, took a deep breath of the wonderful sea air, and traces of smoke, I realized this would be my last night before I returned home to Koguryo. I was excited to return home and share all I learned with my family, but couldn't shake that despite only knowing this Sanga for the few days I have how much they too felt like my family. It will miss this time here with all my heart.
As I headed for the docks the Yoshago came to me with two items in his hands, a spiked wristband and a small hand drum, he explained how these items signified their ways the Inzen Wristband showed training of body the Inzen drum training of mind. I was honored by not just these items, but what they will mean for my family back home in Kugnae.