And so we bid farewell to the mOnk and this Series of 10 with this final climatic episode in which, on the eve of departure, a dusty, tea-stained document is left on my desk: 5 Secrets for Living a Purposeful Life. This, I recorded as an audio file. The podcast is now available, as is the entire series.
Little remains now but to leave his words here. As I look around the empty training halls of the temple, there is little now of his presence, other than Yak prints in the snow, and I find myself questioning the very existence of the Bean Curd Boxer. Was it all just a figment of our collective imagination, a projection of our collective hunger, a poignant reminder to simply Leave Things Alone? Who knows, who can tell these days what is real and what is fake, what is substantial and what is imaginary in this time of transition and dust. We must all make of it all, as we will.
As for the notion of secrets - are these really secrets? I'm not so sure. People talk a lot in the internal arts about secrets from within the inner circles, family styles, private transmissions. They are referring to special techniques passed down in the dusty corners of training halls between masters and select students - sworn under a swirling cloud of incense or kneeling alongside a minute gifted zen garden - secrets that are blood bonds, secrets that were meant to be kept hidden from the rest of us.
This manuscript belongs not to that history. These are the secrets that hide in plain site - revealing only what is uncarved, the simple, the obvious, the overlooked.
WHAT TO MAKE OF IT ALL?
Ultimately, what you or I make of this document is not important. Left here in the spirit of transparency it is no more than a passing farewell from a man and his obsession with tea, as he prepares to leave behind The World of Dust.
And so I fulfil my part. I give you the Top 5 Tips for Living a Purposeful Life amidst the fakery of the 21st century - given here not in exchange for an email address nor a Paypal donation - but as something to laugh at, to prod, to share or to step over, depending on your point of view and style of walking. As the mOnk would often remind me: Play, don't study.
Secret No 1: Remove Borders
Do not obsess over styles, Forms, names, borders, currencies, accents or allegiances. The arts depend on such artificial perimeters about as much as Donald Trump depends on a dictionary before tweeting.
Secret No 2: Put Away your Toys
Secret No 3: Comic books are fine...but have their place.
Secret No 4: Let it go
Secret No 5:Do Good
So is that it?
So it seems that is that. That was how I found the document: A dusty and coffee stained document laying on my desk this morning, with the telltale warmed teapot left to one side.
Subtitled: Ways of living for the 21st century - it may all appear rather obvious, but - I feel it is a message that resonates. When the lines between neighbours are clear one day, but intentionally blurred the next, it is a time of concern. Where yesterday we resided in Oceania, today it is Eurasia - tomorrow Eastasia.
Though, as I now look outside the window of the Temple, I see the telltale Yak tracks in the snow, but I am not sad - for he leaves in his wake an abundant and fertile crop upon which you may harvest. An inner temple of goodies….
Looking around the teapot temple I can see he has been a busy mOnk this last year. He has produced 4 online courses on Udemy - one of which is now free - he released all his books from the stranglehold of Amazon and distributed them to all digital platforms - iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Gumroad, and to libraries everywhere - he wrote another book or two - recorded 3 audiobooks - organised a summer of free classes in Devon England, Celebrated World Tai Chi Day with the excellent people from Central Tai Chi in Birmingham - and completed this series of 10 podcasts -
For context, best visit the home of the mOnk: https://www.teapotmonk.com/
Contrary to popular belief, the teapotmOnk (paul read) is neither a mOnk nor a teapOt. He is, however, a writer on Tai Chi, speaker, course-creator & teacher with more than 25 years of experience. He can be found wandering between Andalucia (Spain) & Devon (Uk). More here.
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