Friday, 31 January 2014

Wanderer Of The Mist #2

Hello adventurers! Friday is upon us which can only mean one thing. It's time for our second installment of our exploration series! Now, last week we took a look at some of the mysterious locations within Azeroth, getting to understand the reasoning behind them and maybe shed some light on some of their secrets that you may or may not have known already. I mentioned towards the end of the post that I had something a little special to all you Monk lore lovers out there and I was going to include this in the very first Wanderer Of The Mist but It had so much depth to it, I wanted to give it its own post. So sit back, relax and have your brew at the ready, As it's time to delve deeper into the rich and philosophical way of the monk. 

Monk Philosophy

So we begin this adventure with a little guide to the monk philosophy. Trying to understand the monks way of life is difficult to understand through out the game, I think on blizzards part they did not give the monk a story to really envelop the player and give that *feel* too the class. Unlike the previous hero class the Death knight, which had a rich, deep and meaningful story to it, monks were sort of left in the dark there. However, with the lack of information and story telling, details can be found in remote parts of the game and in a recent novel, Shadows Of The Horde. The way of the monk is forever told in such a simple and philosophical way, that you cant help but appreciate their way of life. The way of the monk can be complicated, yet beautifully simple at the same time, no matter what their beliefs are, both are required to find balance within the world. So this then leads us to the paths in which the Philosophy takes..

Blade master - by Lee Jae Hwan

Path Of Tushui: "Discipline is not a war that is one. It's a battle, constantly fought." - Master Feng.

The way of Tushui is the way forward to a principled and simple life. Followers of this specific discipline believe there is a moral certainty to the world, One path of right, another path of wrong. These values are regarded as immutable or unchangeable and must be preserved no matter what the cost. Even if it means self sacrifice or painful losses, in the pursuit of a higher ideal life. Tushui is the way of the mind, and self evaluation. Aysa Cloudsinger, a monk of the Alliance whom can be found in stormwind follows this way of Life. She believes that it is important to defend what is right above all else and that success in any endevour never justifies dishonorable deeds.

Path of Huojin: "Always challenge, always question.  In the pursuit for greater good, inaction is the only wrong." - Master Zurong

The way of Huojin is firstly, marked by practical and decisive action. Followers of this discipline believe that morals, decisions and ideas are not absolute but change with circumstances. A master of this path, must remain flexible within their own thoughts, always evaluating the greater good. Huojin, is the way of the action. Ji Firepaw, a monk of the Horde can be found in and around orgrimmar. He believes that it is Honorable to defend his what he calls home and his loved ones no matter what the cost. outgoing and not much of a deep thinker, he is always the first one to a fight.

Throughout the Shadows Of The Horde novel, two unlikely and soon to be friends are kept under the watchful eye of Taran Zhu, Master of the shadow pan. Vol'jin leader of the darkspear trolls and Tyrathan Khort, a keen marksman of the alliance. Taran Zhu believes that each one of these noble folk represent each path, Vol'jin represents Tushui and Tyrathan represents Huojin, total opposites to their faction, but despite that, with their way of life, thought on situations, they are both needed to balance each other out to overcome the foreseeing troubles that lay in wait.

So as you can see, even the monk philosophy is entwined within the faction you work with, which to me makes perfect sense to have Vol'jin the new leader of the horde. He must do whats best for the greater good, and not letting dishonorable deeds create havoc, much like Garrosh Hellscream permitted. 

Monk mentality 

Much like the way of the monk in the real world, their strength comes from their weakness, that's their way of balance. Throughout your time in Pandaria, you will see a ton of shrines, located all around the jade forest and even be apart of a quest-line to practice your strengths and patients. The monks mentality, is to be able to remain focused and vigilant. Be at peace with your inner strength is key, without a doubt in your mind, use that negativity to regain your chi, your Zen, your power. This can be beautifully explained in one of the chapters of the Shadow Of The Horde novel:

Morning, midday and evening all fell into that same pattern: chores, food and exercises. For Vol'jin, the exercises revolved around strength and flexibility, learning about combat and his physical limitations. In the afternoon, he got more individual instructions, again with a rotating band of monks because the majority of them attended classes. They rejoined the physical exercises in the evening, though this consisted mostly of stretching, preparatory to getting a good nights rest. The monks taught him well. He'd watched them shatter up to a dozen boards with a single punch. Vol'jin had looked forward to trying that because he knew he could do it. But when it came time for him to try the exercise, Lord Taran Zhu took over.

In place of boards had been arranged an inch think slab of stone. Vol'jin studied the monks face but read no deception. That didn't mean there wasn't any there, but the pandaren's impassive expression could have masked anything. "You be wanting me to break stone. Others break wood." "Others do not believe they can shatter wood, you do." Taran Zhu pointed to a spot a fingers length beyond the stone slab. "place your doubt here, strike through it." Doubt? Vol'jin forced away the thought because it was a distraction. He wanted to ignore it, but instead he did as the monk had instructed. He visualized doubt as a shimmering blue-black ball spitting sparks. He let it float through the stone to hover behind it. Then Vol'jin set himself, drew a deep breath and exhaled sharply. He drove his fist forward, pulverizing the stone. he continued through, smashing the ball of doubt. He had sworn he did not feel the impact until he'd hit the ball. The stone had been as nothing, even though he brushed the dust from his pelt. Taran Zhu bowed to him respectfully. Vol'jin returned the gesture, holding it longer than before. The other monks bowed as their lord withdrew then bowed to Vol'jin.  

Image taken from the 5.4 Cinematic

So as you can see, the way of the monk is complex yet simple. The power of ones mind, and decisive thinking will put you on a path that will be connect to the same ending. There is a balance with all beings, all reasoning and actions and no matter what doubt you have in your mind, you can over come it, it doesn't matter if your Tushui or Huojin, Strength can be obtained by even the more simplest of life styles. either way, balance will be preserved. Strength can be found from even the darkest of places, use your doubt, your fear to strike with unimaginable power.

So we can take a little break from the story telling for now! You may be wondering well why is this all covered in the exploration series? Well I was minding my own business with a fellow Blogger, DarkLady Eu and a guild friend of mine, good Ol' Yojimbo. We was looking for some locations to mention in my future exploration posts and Yojimbo mentioned a book that was hidden in a small boat, located on a hill side between Kun lai and Jade forest. Of course I was interested in looking more in to this mystery! So we mounted up and who would of guessed it, the book we found was one of the very few Monk related books... OH MY! My blogging instincts went crazy, I even miss calculated the distance of myself and a cliff and thought it would be smart to roll off it, I blame the excitement! 

The book we discovered is titled: The Angler and the monks, and has the following short story:

Two wise monks gathered beneath the Temple of the Jade Serpent to discuss the nature of truth. Because the seas were glassy and calm, they decided to hire an Angler to row them out beyond the spires so that they may admire the view as they talked. "Glassy waters mean storms ahead," the Angler cautioned, but the wise monks trusted their eyes and insisted on the voyage.
"Truth is absolute," said the first monk, as the little boat emerged into open water. "The universe has but one truth, and we must work tirelessly to reveal it."
"Truth is relative!" countered the second monk, as clouds gathered overhead. "The universe has many truths, and only the fool insists that his truth is true for all."

The Angler said nothing as the monks debated, until at last one turned to him and asked for his opinion on the nature of truth. "I never thought much about it," he admitted.
The two monks shook their heads and clicked their tongues. They were alarmed to discover that the Angler did not even know how to read or write. "It would seem to us that you have wasted your life," they said to him.

At that moment, thunder and lightning tore open the sky as if it were a sheet, and a great rain poured down. The little boat soon became swamped and flipped over. Casting off his overcoat, the Angler began swimming for the shore.
"Help us!" the monks called out, as the swells began to crash around them. "We cannot swim!"The Angler answered: "It would seem to me that you have wasted your lives!"

As you may notice from the first paragraph, you see the conflict of Tushui and Huojin, each monk has a conflicting idea on the same philosophy, I believe the Angler played the middle man, as a neutral standing. He let them debate further. The story then quickly changes and I think gives a clear message: believing in what you think is correct is okay, just allow yourself to be more open minded. What the monks thought was their making, was soon to become their undoing. I thought this little story was absolutely brilliant, I love the Monk lore and this just really pushed it further for me. My exploration and thirst for more knowledge connects with the Philosophy I had recently read about... talk about perfect timing.. But there's more...

We then venture a little further and come across a small village in the mountains, hidden away from the naked eye, the only way to find it is by flying. Luckily for us we stopped by and found yet another monk relate book... This was great! 

The second book we discovered was titled: The Tiller and the Monk, and has the following short story:

A young farmhand was once unfortunate enough to share a room at the inn with an old monk, who talked incessantly from evening's light to morning glow about matters of philosophy and science. Bored of the one-sided conversation, the monk soon proposed a challenge of wits.
The farmhand was uninterested in testing his wits against the monk, no matter how much his roommate raised the stakes. Finally the monk offered the farmhand substantial odds: "I will give you 50 gold coins for every question of yours I cannot answer, if you will give me 5 gold coins for every question YOU cannot answer."

At this, the farmhand agreed.

"Very well!" exclaimed the monk. He eagerly tried to think of a question sufficient to challenge the farmhand, but simple enough to keep the game interesting. "How would one measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object?" he asked, his eyes gleaming.

Without even bothering to think about it, the farmhand handed the monk 5 gold coins.
The monk was disappointed, but prepared himself for the farmhand's challenge.
For his turn, the farmhand pinched his face deep in thought. Finally, he asked: "What has the heart of a tiger, the wisdom of an eagle, and the strength of an ox?"

Delighted by the riddle, the monk leapt to his feet and began pacing around the room. For six hours he was mercifully silent as he pondered the farmhand's conundrum. Soon, he grew irritable. Eventually his face sunk with fury and disdain. "Alas, alas! I give up!" he cried, waving his arms. Reluctantly he withdrew a sack of coins and counted out fifty precious gold pieces for the farmhand. The tiller happily accepted his winnings.

The monk stared at his roommate. "Well!" he said at last. "What is the answer to your riddle?"
Wordlessly, the farmhand handed the monk 5 gold coins.

A beautiful little story, as usual the Monk being all philosophical as they are was not as smart as he thought he was, a little trick was played to give the Farmhand a little profit in his pocket! The poor monk walked the hallways for 6  hours, unable to find an answer, A brilliant little story and I really can not wait to find more! I love how much blizzard focus on the smaller things, alot of its over looked, but this is exploration gold for me!

So there you have it folks, A little more knowledge about the way of the monk, also including some fantastic Monk related books we had found during our times of exploring. To me, I just wanted to share with you guys what I had found, to share some information I think you may enjoy reading and really infuse my blog even more to the monk culture. Next Friday be sure to expect more great secret and remote locations within Warcraft. Until then folks, stay safe, have fun, and happy exploring!  

If you want to know a little more about the Monk class, please feel free to check out my other recent post:

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