Many thanks to Tristan Morris for creating a beautiful illustrated hardcover print edition of the site

(Sorry, this page has not yet been translated into the requested language.)

Djishin said to master Banzen: most works of mankind do not fail before their time. A saddle will outlive the mare and her foal; a horse-bridge will serve a hundred years unless an elephant treads upon it. Even the stones of our humblest abbey were laid before the venerable Abbess was born. Why then does software fail so often?

Banzen said: to know the answer, you must first find your way to the Complex Plain. This is a tricky task, for most of that grassy expanse is imaginary to some degree; but since your origin point is not only real but guaranteed to be at the plain’s exact center, you need only start looking for it and you’ll find yourself already there. Then head due north-east until you come to a rumbling land known as the Province of Eternal Crisis. There the ground belches fire and buckles and twists, like a serpent; mountains change places with valleys; rivers run backwards at midnight and sideways under the new moon. Nothing endures in that place. The sturdiest house must be rebuilt every spring, so men have quit all use of stone and erect only simple huts of saplings and straw. As for horses or bridges you will find neither, for saddles crumble in the arid winds, and the many chasms must be spanned anew by rope each week as their edges dance up and down. No sane man would live in that land if it did not hold the possibility of great wealth. Yet every shovel is blunted by the rocky soil, every ax dulls, every ox dies.

Djishin said: when did you last visit this unhappy place?

Banzen said: I have never left it. Sometimes in my wanderings I have come upon a green road which promises to lead me out, but ai! Though the signpost greets me with a cheerful Hello World and tells me of wondrous places I may go with but a fingerfull of effort, disappointment invariably awaits. A thousand paces in, I feel a quake, the land tilts crazily beneath me, and the faster I code to outrace my doom the more the new road disappears under the debris of its own syntax. Now I am as you see me: a bitter old man who trusts no path but one he has blazed himself. And this is why I take such pains with you, young monk! Because of your unquenchable zeal to create new frameworks, you do out of foolishness what I now do out of cynicism. If I can teach you to recognize a road to freedom, then perhaps I can follow you down it.