“Unless all is known, nothing is known” | For those who toil among the dusts, vision is clouded: the world is a complex thing, without end, without beginning, a maze of thoughts and senses. Many do not even recognise their own state, or see that they are things of vapour, their lives scattered in a drift of atoms, prey to the accidents of flesh, illusion and time.
Others, though, realising the limits of their perceptions, and grasping the darkness of their condition, set out upon the Way – the TanZo. These ones seek illumination, entering the Still Building of their minds, undergoing the beautiful, arduous training of the wise, taught by skilled monks, bonded by the Marks and clans.
This is a serious matter, not without danger. Of those who enter the Building, not all return, for it is an infinite place, layered with worlds: disaster can lie there. Some return, having failed to reach the desired state; and, disappointed, set their lives back to the old rot and game, or settle for a compromised existence – these ones are like barbarians, and have little to concern us. Some succeed in part, achieving a kind of illumination, to live in harmony and tranquility, their minds light and their spirits at ease.
Yet, what do they really know, these ones, who are considered pure? Have they actually escaped all the confusions of the days of floating and dreaming? Are they truly fit to bow before His Majesty, the emperor of all the cantons, the Dustless One himself? Who can say? For creatures made of dust, what does it mean, to achieve “the state beyond all states”? What might you see, in the darkness of the Still Building, if you are illuminated? What does it mean, to become Dustless?
Volume 11 | Mask [iii]
In a village huddled on the Endless Plains, through a long night, on the eve of a great festival, villagers keep their vigil. To pass the time, they distract themselves with stories and games.
Terrible forces may assemble in quiet places. In the intricate designs on cards, strange figures emerge. Creations of an ancient culture, no longer understood, but long revered: forces from the depths of ages, stirring, causing shadows and ripples on Time's surface.
Gazing into the world of a mysterious system, playing with the fire of unknown powers, the villagers entertain a masked guest. But who is he? And what may be seen should the mask fall off?