It was already dark when Ning, Chang and Kong went to look for Shen, their old Master in the mountains. They decided to go and consult him because they were constantly arguing with each other and it was undermining their friendship.
In their haste, they left without their lantern and reached, with difficulty the dangerous and steep path that lead them to their Master.
They arrived, exhausted, hands and knees grazed. The old Shen asked them to come in.
What can I do for you ?
We came to consult you, said Chang, because we are having negative feelings towards each other that are preventing us from living in harmony. We need your wisdom on that.
I am listening , said Shen.
Ning gets on my nerves, said Chang. I find him wavering, passive and submissive.
That could be, said Shen but have you thought that he can also be thoughtful, receptive and peaceful?
Chang annoys me said Kong. I find him authoritarian, agressive and intolerant.
Is that so, said Shen, but he is probably also entreprising, with a fighting-spirit and direct.
Kong irritates me said Ning. I find him deceitful, manipulative and hypocritical.
Well, said Shen, he probably is also skilled, convincing and diplomatic.
There is no shadow without light or vice-versa, added the old Master in smiling. Before you leave, take my lantern. It is wiser in the dark.
Kong, Chang and Ning went back without stumbling or falling over.
On their way, they had fun playing with the shadow and the light coming out of Shen’s lantern.
Author: Charles Brulhart