Sung dynasty Chan master Pai-Yun’s simple verses can be the solitary’s signature statement:
Where others dwell, I do not dwell.
Where others go, I do not go.
This does not mean to refuse association with others.
I only want to make black and white distinct.
We neither affirm nor object to the path of others. We can understand and empathize with the plight of others and see clearly and unshirkingly the source of suffering and difficulties in the world and in society. In the process, however, we move freely without assuming, we move ethically without judging. We can see black and white distinctly. We can point out the distinctions if necessary. But we are disengaged from the web of society as much as possible in order not only to comprehend but to comprehend with integrity.