A couple of young men were walking near to where the aged Lo Zu was resting. He was sitting on an inclined large log with his meandering cane resting along his side. Then they observed Lo Zu walking — with his curved, wooden cane — to a nearby evergreen tree, where he presently stopped and began stooping next to the tree, looking at something down low toward the ground; he had a big smile upon his bearded face as he looked at something upon a blade of green.
The young men asked Lo Zu what he was gazing at. “Life on its journey,” reported Lo Zu.
Just then, a group of monks came walking by, all with shaved heads that were bowed down, with eyes only staring at the empty path that they were treading upon, while their “leader” marched ahead, “leading them.” The two youth said to Lo Zu, “Many say that you are the wisest man in all of the lands, yet we see that you do not march with the others and go to the temples.”
Lo Zu replied, “They march with their heads held down — not looking around whatsoever — and follow a path which they’ve been walking upon for centuries, and that path, honestly, is empty and dead. Life is not flowering in such a path. They do not look around to freely and joyfully perceive the beauty of the skies and the miracles of nature; they follow a leader who may be as blinded as they are. They spend time in the temple. It is full of man-made statues. They revere these lifeless statues, all of which were made by thought. They revere a dead product of their own creation. I, however, do not enter the temples. I remain away from the cold, lifeless buildings and spend time with nature, with creation… life. I am neither fascinated by dead, empty paths, man-made fabrications, nor with leaders who lead others to closing their lives away from life and the beauty of existence. Their fancy garbs and decorative buildings do not make them truly religious. Being religious is a living thing. If you are going to worship something, worship that poor, elderly woman toiling in the fields. Help her to carry her heavy load to her home (without asking anything in return).”