“Once, on the road, Prim met a meditating sage who had spent most of his life on top of a flat rock. They had black bread and shared some ajash, as was custom. The sage was thankful, as the road was not very frequently traveled in those days and he was very near the point of starvation. During his conversation, he was delighted to learn of Prim’s extensive mastery of Empty Palms and the fifty five earthly purities. Delighted, and as payment for his meal, he taught Prim the meaning of watchfulness.

This was the old breathing and cold-atum technique often used by warrior monks in those days. It ran through the following methodology:

Build a tower, and make it impregnable. Make every stone so tightly sealed that no insect can squeeze through, no grain of sand can make it inside. Your tower must have no windows or doors. It must not accept passage by friend or foe. No weapon, no act of violence, and not one mote of love may penetrate its stony interior.

“Why build the tower this way?” said Prim?

“It will make you invincible,” said the sage, “This is the way of Ya-at slave monks. Their skin is like iron, and so are their hearts. They are inured to death and fear. Grief shall never find them, and neither shall weakness.”

Prim thought a moment, and came upon a realization, for she was wise, obedient, and an excellent daughter. “If a man built a tower this way, he would quickly starve, no matter how strong he became.”

The sage was even more delighted. “Yes,” he said, “There is a better way, and I will teach it to you:

Once you have built your tower, you must deconstruct it, brick by brick, stone by stone. You must do it meticulously and carefully, so that while you leave no physical trace of it remaining, your tower is still built in your mind and your heart, ready to spring anew at a moment’s notice.

You can enjoy the fresh air, and eat fine meals, and enjoy a good drink with your friends, but all the while your tower remains standing. You are both prisoner and warden. This is the hardest way, but the strongest.”

Prim saw the wisdom in this, and quickly made to return to the road, but the sage stopped her before she left.

“As you to your earlier remark,” the sage said, “The man who builds his tower but cannot take it apart again – that man is at the pinnacle of his strength. But that man will surely perish.”

Prim Masters the Road