November 28, 2004

The other bible

--When Zhuangzi's wife died and Hui Shi came to convey his condolences, he found Zhuangzi squatting with his knees out, drumming on a pan and singing. "You lived with her, she raised your children, and you grew old together," Hui Shi said. "Not weeping when she died would have been bad enough. Aren't you going too far by drumming on a pan and singing?" "No," Zhuangzi said, "when she first died, how could I have escaped feeling the loss? Then I looked back to the beginning before she had life. Not only before she had life, but before she had form. Not only before she had form, but before she had vital energy. In this confused amorphous realm, something changed and vital energy appeared; when the vital energy was changed, form appeared; with changes in form, life began. Now there is another change bringing death. This is like the progression of the four seasons of spring and fall, winter and summer. Here she was lying down to sleep in a huge room and I followed her, sobbing and wailing. When I realized my actions showed I hadn't understood destiny, I stopped."--

Relayed because I was digging more books out of boxes for shelving and found my Chinese Civilization textbook from college - full of awesome first source documents, lyrically translated. This is from a collection by the third century B.C.E. philosopher Zhang Zhou.

Noted because unlike other literature from that time period, it is undated by voice and concept. Wise words to live by then, and now; and a reminder to try on and weigh different perspectives.

Posted by zippy at November 28, 2004 8:58 PM