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THE MOST SIMPLE

People come for the most simple. At times one may think that there is a demand for something more complicated. One may think that much is already known and therefore, naturally, one should avoid repetition. But after reading a lot, people nevertheless come for the most simple. How to work? What thoughts are conducive to work? What time is best for work? What is fatigue? Should one fear diversity of work? How deeply should one immerse one's self in the study of the monuments of antiquity? Are the postulates of antiquity applicable for contemporary life? Is construction possible? Where to find fortitude against all kind's of worries? How to be free of fear? Should one harken to one's inner voice? How to remember what it says?

An endless amount of questions  many times explained, many times touched upon; but everyone wishes to have an answer to the question put in his own way. Indeed, it is presupposed that the answer must be precisely the one that is expected. This is again very old, and, it seems, known to all; but people in their questionings will prove to you that this is absolutely not known to them or, better, they have quite forgotten about it.

When you see numerous volumes of commentaries and repetitions accumulated about scriptures which are most brief, clear, and simple, do you not wonder about how and for what all these explanations are piled up. The very simple stimulant and again, the most simple questions. These questions are seemingly about the very same things but in different connotations, and call for explanations, yet in peculiarly personal expressions. And so the wheel of life becomes more complex, starting from the very simple.

A man comes, asks that which has often been mentioned. He did not read that which was mentioned or had it in mind to do so. He wishes to hear an answer expected by him. If the most thorough answer does not conform with his already inwardly presupposed reply, then all that will be said will be regarded as not convincing. This happens rather often in life, and yet it relates to a certain type of people who put questions. And behind these there is a formidable mass of those who are altogether too lazy to formulate questions even for themselves alone. Sometimes they attempt to excuse this laziness by seeming modesty; but when the heart is aflame, man does not become subject to inert modesty. He seeks, knocks, even bursts in, all for the sake of being admitted.

It is remarkable to recall those flaming hearts who at times in spite of unusual difficulties conquered them and found the key to the most cunning locks. I remember one experienced worker who spoke thus to his young co-workers, "If you wish, convince me." Listening to the proofs offered, he shook his head and smiled sadly, "Still not convincing. As yet you did not stir me. Invent something more significant." Later he listened to some more and again shook his head. "You see, you did not even make me jump from my chair. You did not even prompt any exclamation of delight on my part. This means you should find such a convincing word that it will overcome all other considerations and become unalterable." And then, in a whisper he added, "Probably this will be the most simple word."

In all life's reconstructions, especially at present, people's souls long precisely for a simple and hearty word. If people come with questions about the most simple, the answer must also be simple; simple not only in meaning, but also in the expressions used. The very same sunlight, the very same basic striving toward Good, the very same smile of encouragement must express itself in a simple answer to a simple question.

In a voluminous book such an answer may be given more than once and in various forms. But books are often read somewhat abstractedly. In the very printed word there remains somewhere the ghost of an abstraction. At times people themselves seek to find a sort of self-vindication, blaming a somewhat unclear form of exposition. There are known cases when people renounced their own words, which did not fit the particular occasion. All this is not simplicity by far, for now, as never before, a simple answer is needed that grows out of love and the best quality. Precisely in his heart man fully understands what simplicity is.

Precisely, the heart will knock once again because of various unneeded adjuncts.

Simply! Simply, with a good word! With a good action!

Peking

March 3, 1935

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