The Seekers of the Inward Way, often referred erroneously as the Tempest of the Inward Focus by the Quincunx, are one of the heretical Dharmas of the Kuei-jin. It concerns itself mainly with the virtue of Balance.
Knowing the painful tearing of the conflicting natures of their kind all too well, the Seekers search for the calm in the center of the chaos within them. They crystallize enlightenment through the principles of negation. Every carefully placed element becomes part of a circle; the circle holds all of creation. No one truth leads to enlightenment; illumination throws shadows that bring understanding. By watching the synergy of opposing forces, the Tempests learn what lies outside of those forces. Yin flows into Yang and twin souls war, but in the spaces between them, the Tempests find solace within the Tao, the all-encompassing centre. According to Dharmic doctrine, this truth was discovered by Chuang-tzu, a disciple of Lao-tzu who became a Kuei-jin and managed to overcome the fabrications of the five August Courts.
This isn't to say that Tempests are dilettantes without dedication. Spirits and men are opposite sides of the same world. Shadow and wind compete for dominance, but both teach important lessons. Instead of focusing on any of the elemental powers of the Kuei-jin, Seekers turn their attentions to arts that move mind and soul. Finding the center point from which all of creation is visible certainly taxes endurance. Anyone who brings a new perspective or an opposing philosophy, whether human, spirit, or vampire, may be an instructor. Indeed, Tempests strive to master many arts at once, since only the highest excellence brings full knowledge. However, a practitioner of the Inward Focus always moves deliberately, seeking to internalize every component of study completely (along with its complements and opposites) before moving on. Thus, the Seekers manifest skill and knowledge in many fields and endeavors, but only the true ancient ever become adept.
The Seekers are deemed heretics because they regard the hells, the Yama Kings and the Wheel of Ages as illusions to overcome, as pieces cloaking the Tao that they will eventually transcend when they achieve oneness with the Tao. As a result, the Seekers do not share the feelings of superiority the Asian cultures allegedly possess, as many Kuei-jin Ancestors (and Bodhisattvas) believe. The seekers reckognize the growing spiritual problems, but believe them to be part of a self-fulfilling prophecy of the Quincunx, not the result of a natural cycle. If the Quincunx believe in the inevitability of a Sixth Age, it will inevitably come to pass. Their persecution by the August Courts has embittered many Tempests who have begun to fight back, sometimes turning to the Yama Kings for gaining the means to wage their battles, consolidating the picture of the heretic many Kuei-jin have in mind when they think of the Dharmas not part of the August Courts.
Divisions and Sects
The Tempests are divided into two interpretations.
- The Danh Tú (Vietnamese for Seekers of the Way), are the older interpretation, who originate in the Scarlet Phoenix Court of the Fourth Age. They are more scholary, shunning violence except as a last resort. Instead, they choose to educate others about their beliefs and show them the error of the illusions they live.
- The Aks (Urdu for Hate), in contrast, are Tempests that have decided to no longer be persecuted and fight back. They are warrior-monks at best and marauding bandits at worst. Open to foreigners, many have dalliances with the Kin-jin, adding further weight to the accusations of being akuma.
Moderation is the watchword of the Tempests: Tightly bound and controlled, they indulge in all experiences, but drink deeply of none. Some outsiders consider such dalliances shallow, but the Seekers know that any excess leads eventually to weakness and, thence, to corruption, as exemplified by the fall of the Wan Xian due to their lust for Chi. Yin and Yang Chi are tried to be balanced against each other, with meditation and physical exertion alike.
While this moderation serves its purpose, the Seekers often find themselves indecisive or wanting in conviction. Instead of embracing change and extremes, the Tempests fight for stability and tranquility -- but at the cost of true inspiration. This lack of dynamism is one of the main reasons Tempests seem to be primitive and behind others, because they choose to not get involved. Playing off opposing energies prevents mastery of any one force. Without focus and drive, the Seekers won't evolve.
Omens and Symbols
This lists the most important symbols and omens of the Dharma that are sometimes integrated into their homes and temples. Bodhisattvas frequently manifest such signs whenever they appear. The symbols are: Cyclones, mandalas, spiral helixes, exploding fireworks, ripples in water
The material world, the color gray, and the center point direction.
Each Way has eight tenets to guide its lessons and philosophy. To pursue one's purpose, one must follow these precepts as closely as possible. The tenets of the Seekers are:
|Pull all things near and make them part of yourself||No belief, no thought, and no experience is without meaning. Even when you realize a belief is false you still learn.|
|Balance the needs and desires on all poles, that they may strive against each other.||Calm is not only hidden in chastity and meditation, It is also found through lust and celebration, through peace and violence, the animal and the rational. The secret is allowing no specific of oneself to possess more importance.|
|Never stray from the core of your nature||In every Seeker, even those who have not found the Inward way, there is truth allowing us to reach our state of eternal balancing. Internalizing reality's lies and illusions is the ultimate deception, and will forever deny you enlightenment.|
|Realize the potential to learn from all people||Observe both the tiger and the dolphin to learn about hunting.|
|Remember the lessons of the past; apply them to the future||Once a path is trodden, venturing there again achieves nothing. Learn all you can and move on. Understanding is less important than remembering. That which you do not understand will reveal itself when you eventually achieve enlightenment.|
|Be consistent in your rewards and punishments||At the heart of balance is the ability to relate every event as it relates to every other event. All is relative, and understanding there are no absolutes is central to following the Inward Way.|
|Teach others the virtues of peace and moderation||The easy path is not the way to Tau. So it is that we must work tirelessly to bring all Seekers to the Inward Way. In their arrogance, every Seeker who does not search for the Tau denies us light that may illuminate the way.|
|Bring harmony to the spirit worlds through balancing the living realms||The spirit worlds are illusions brought into existence by the dreams, nightmares, and desires of those lost to their Inward Way. Never cease to work towards illuminating the minds of the ignorant, for as they learn, their fears diminish; in turn the malice of the spiritual world diminishes too, in proportion to is reduced substance.|
|Allied to Yomi Wan|