Wise Old Sage

The Scrolls



Wise Old Sage

Follow the Wise Old Sage on his journey to Hanyang

In the land there are troubling times with the constant fear of invasion from the north and interference by the Confucian Scholars with the King’s efforts to lead his people.

The Scholars believe that any thought other than their beliefs are heresy and should be extinguished. The King needing someone who is wise and will give him honest unbiased council has called the Wise Old Sage to the palace in the capital.

 In answering the King’s call the Sage imparts his wisdom for successful everyday living with those whom he encounters as he journeys along the road to the capital city of Hanyang.

 Through the ages there have been universal principals which have stood the test of time and embraced by all mankind.

Join the Wise Old Sage as he shares these principals through his Scrolls

What is Success? Scroll I

On the very day that the Wise Old Sage received a message from the King ordering him to come to the capital; a young man and women approached him and asked the question “What is success?”

The wise old sage answered: My son and daughter success is the same as Truth and Beauty! It is in the eyes of the beholder.” What one person sees as beauty may not be to another, what one person perceives to be the truth may not be to someone else. Success to one person may seem as a failure to another; but in the end it is up to you and you along to decide what is beautiful, what is true and finally if you feel you have achieved success.

My son and daughter your most precious gift in life is the freedom of choice so let No One take this gift from you.

The young man and women thanked the wise old sage and left pondering the thought, “that if it is to be then it is me alone who should decide my fate.”

 How Can I Stop Being Poor? Scroll II

 One day a farmer was in the field trying to clear his land so he could plant a new crop. As he looked toward the road in the distance he saw a tall figure on the road to Hanyang. As the figure came closer he saw that it was the great Wise Old Sage who was renowned for his wisdom for living everyday life.

He ran across the field and beckoned the Sage to please stop because he had an important question to ask which had puzzled him for years.

When the Sage stopped the farmer did a deep bow to show his respect to the Sage and the Sage bowed in return. The farmer said to the Sage “O great Sage I start work before the sun comes up and I don’t quit until after the sun goes down. I have always been very poor and unable to save one mum (coin). Will you please tell me how to accumulate wealth for my hard work?”

As the Sage looked at the withered old farmer he thought what should I tell this poor farmer who has worked hard all his life eking out a subsistence living off this poor land. The Sage asked “when you sell your grain in the town market what do you do with the mum you receive? The farmer answered “I pay the seed merchant, fertilizer merchant, shoe maker, clothes maker, buy sweet bread I like, visit the kisaeng house and see the fortune teller to know my future.

The Sage asked “when do you pay yourself? The farmer looked puzzled and said what do you mean pay myself? Everything I receive from selling my grain is my pay. The Sage answer NO you pay the seed merchant, fertilizer merchant, shoe maker, ate sweet bread, entertained yourself at the kisaeng house and visited the fortune teller but didn’t pay yourself. The farmer said I don’t understand what you mean would you please explain so I will understand.

The Sage said the enemy of all poor people is the accumulation of debt which keeps everyone in financial bondage as well as it limits their ability to accumulate the wealth that you seek. Listen closely if you want to change your financial circumstances. As the buyer counts out the coins to pay you for the grain that you sold them set aside the first coin (10%) out of every 10 because they will become your friend. The remaining nine are to be used to pay everyone else. The first coins (friends) that you set aside cannot be spent but are used to work for you. When you have save 100 coins then it is time to put the coins to work for you.

In the market place there are merchants who want to increase their sales but need money to purchase raw materials to make their goods. They will be willing to pay for the use of your coins.

Seek out successful merchants who need to put your 100 friends to work and are willing to pay you rent of their use. Once you receive repayment of your 100 coins plus rent then add them to together and put them to work again. The gain you receive in rent is never to be spent but always is to be put to work in the accumulation of your wealth.

The farmer finally understood what the Sage was telling him as he had a great desire to follow the wise council the Sage had shared with him. He was tired of struggling with poverty as he saw others gain wealth. He bowed again and thanked the Wise Old Sage.

Several years later when the Wise Old Sage passed through the town where the farmer lived he was told that the farmer was no longer a farmer but had become a money lender and was the wealthiest person in town.

 How Can I Trust Again? Scroll III

 After spending time with the farmer the Wise Old Sage asked how far the next town was and if there was a place to sleep and eat. The farmer told him that he would accompany him and show him a place that was safe and the food was good.

 The small village they were going to was known as a center for the trade of a rare ginseng root. Ginseng was very expensive and known for its medicinal properties as it was used in many medicines that were formulated by the physician at this time.

 The village drew many foreigners who came to purchase ginseng. It created a form lawlessness because of the friction between the foreigners and the local traders. From time to time the foreigners would get the best of the local ginseng dealers with promises of great riches as exemplified by what happened to the family that the Wise Old Sage would be staying with.

 The farmer and the Wise Old Sage finally arrived at a small restaurant. The farmer introduced the owners who bowed deeply in respect and the Wise Old Sage bowed in return. The farmer requested that they provide lodging which they readily agreed to because they were overjoyed to have such an honorable guest.

 In the evening the husband and wife shared with the Wise Old Sage how the discovery of the rare ginseng had changed the little village. How the people had become greedy and could no longer could be trusted. It was friends and family members that had disappointed them the most.

 The wife explained how as she served food at the restaurant she would over hear the conversations of the traders. How in foreign lands there was a great demand at high prices for the rare ginseng. If people would invest their money with a trader they would reap large rewards once the ginseng was sold in the foreign land.

 There was one foreign trader who had for several years ate at the restaurant and was considered a honest and reputable person by the family. They had never discussed with him about the ginseng trade or if they could invest with him.

 The wife said about six months ago my husband’s oldest brother came and said that he needed to borrow two hundred coins because he and another friend had been talking to the trader who came often to our restaurant about investing in the rare ginseng. The trader had told him that he had a new buyer in a foreign land that would pay top price if he could supply a large amount of ginseng. He said that to buy the quantity needed he needed additional investors.

 My brother-in-law said that if we would loan him the money he would repay us the amount borrowed and would give us six out of every 10 coins that was profit. We were hesitant but since we felt confident in the foreigner and it was my husband’s oldest brother. So we said yes because we trusted them.

 When the foreigner returned several months later and came to the restaurant to eat one day we questioned him about his trip and his success in selling the additional amount ginseng that my brother-in-law had invested with him. The foreigner looked surprise and said he thought he was going to invest but never did. Of course we were shocked and did not know what to say.

 I said to my husband how can this be it is your brother and we trusted in him. I will never trust anyone were my last words to my husband that day because I was very angry since it had taken me four years to save the 200 coins. I don’t think I will ever trust again!

 The Wise Old Sage had seen this many times where people trusted others and had lost everything usually from greed but in this instance it was not from greed but genuine trust in their fellow man.

 The Wise Old Sage said to the husband and wife, great is the person who can trust but foolish is the person who does not verify in what they trust. It is alright to trust but always make sure you get all the facts before you commit to any agreement.

 The husband and wife understood the wise council from the Wise Old Sage and said that is what they will do in the future.

 The next morning they bid the Wise Old Sage farewell and bowed again thanking him for his wise council and asked him to please come again.

 The Wise Old Sage bowed and thanked them for their generous hospitality and began again on his journey down the road to Hanyang.

  The Young Scholar’s Journey Begins  Scroll IV

 The Wise Old Sage left the little village thinking about the family he had just left behind. He thought that it is really easy to fear to trust others once they have broken your trust. He knew what broken trust was like because we are all human and are victims of it. The fear to trust can be overcome once a person realizes that everyone is not worthy of their trust. He hoped that the family would understand this and live a more peaceful life.

 It was early spring and the day was beautiful with a few puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky. On each side of the road you could see the flowers blooming with a fusion of many colors which could not help but make you feel good.

 As the Wise Old Sage came around a bend in the road he saw a large green willow tree. In the distance he could just make out that there was someone sitting and resting under the tree.

 When he approached the tree a young man stood up and bowed not recognizing the Wise Old Sage. The young man called out asking where are you bound? The Wise Old Sage said I am on my way to the capital Hanyang. The young man said that is good sir for that is where I am going also. With your permission I would like to join you on your way.

 Before the Wise Old Sage would give him permission he asked why the young man was going to Hanyang. The young man said he was a Confucian Scholar and hoped to attend the Sunggyungwan School for scholars in the study of Confucius and his writings.

 The Wise Old Sage asked the Young Scholar’s name, which family he came from and what town he lived in. The Young Scholar responded by saying my name is Yi Hwang fro the Jinseong Yi Clan and I am from the village of Ongye-ri in the south.

 He also stated that he had studied the Analects and the Five Classics of Confucius with the desire to be a counselor to the King.

 The Wise Old Sage agreed that the Young Scholar could join him and he needed to be on his way because he had an appointment in Hanyang soon. So they began their journey together. The Young Scholar was soon to learn the wisdom of everyday living

 The Wise Old Sage Says: The fear to trust can be overcome once a person realizes that everyone is not worthy of their trust.

 Overcoming the Trials of Life Scroll V

 As the Wise Old Sage and the Young Scholar journeyed down the narrow road they heard the loud noise of a horse coming toward them. The rider called out to them “saying out of the way I am on the King’s business.” As the horse rode passed, he caused the Wise Old Sage to stumble and fall. The Young Scholar lifted up the old man and dusted him off. He suggested that they cross the road to where a mountain stream was flowing and take a brief rest. The Sage agreed and they crossed the road and went down a small embankment to get to the stream.

 As they approached the steam they notice three women washing clothes on the other side. The women were chatting and laughing as they beat the clothes with wooden sticks.

 The Old Sage and Young Scholar sat down and relaxed as they washed the dust off. They drank the cool mountain water while listening to the women. They could not tell if they were slaves or low born.

 As they sat they heard the women discuss the different trials of life that they faced everyday such as no money, husbands, children, mother-in-laws, lack of food and adequate housing for the family plus bad neighbors.

 As the Old Sage listened he thought that they were discussing universal trials that common people face all their lifetime. He asked the Young Scholar what he thought of the trials the women faced. The Young Scholar did not know what to say because he had lived a somewhat sheltered life and had not had to face such trials.

 This became the first opportunity for the Old Sage to give the Young Scholar his first wisdom lesson in daily living.

 The Old Sage explained that low born and slaves had a subsistence existence and had fears of the treatment they might receive from those above their social standing. The Young Scholar questioned the Old Sage as to how the people coped with the trials of life as well as what was the best way to approach those trials.

 The Old Sage explained that it takes courage to face the trials of everyday life. It takes wisdom to fully understand them and the strength of character to overcome them. In solving their trials a person has to stick by their convictions if they are honest and true.

 The Young Scholar asked several other questions about trials before the Old Sage said that they must get on their way if they are to find a place of lodging before night fall.  So they continued on their journey while the Young Scholar shared some of the saying by Confucius.

 The Wise Old Sage says: It takes courage to face the trials of everyday life, wisdom to understand them and strength of character to overcome them. In solving your trials stick by your convictions if they are honest and true.


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