YEN- PING- CHUNG asked Kuan-Yi-Wu 1 as to cherishing life.
Kuan-Yi-Wu replied :
"It suffices to give it its free course, neither checking nor obstructing it."
Yen-Ping-Chung said : "And as to details ?"
Kuan-Yi-Wu replied : "Allow the ear to hear what it likes, the eye to see what it likes, the nose to smell what it likes, the mouth to say what it likes, the body to enjoy the comforts it likes to have, and the mind to do what it likes.
"Now what the ear likes to hear is music, and the prohibition of it is what I call obstruction to the ear.
"What the eye likes to look at is beauty ; and its not being permitted to regard this beauty I call obstruction of sight.
"What the nose likes to smell is perfume ; and its not being permitted to smell I call obstruction to scent.
"What the mouth likes to talk about is right and wrong ; and if it is not permitted to speak I call it obstruction of the understanding.
"The comforts the body enjoys to have are rich food and fine clothing ; and if it is not permitted, then I call that obstruction of the senses of the body.
"What the mind likes is to be at peace ; and its not being permitted rest I call obstruction of the mind s nature.
"All these obstructions are a source of the most painful vexation. "
Morbidly to cultivate this cause of vexation, unable to get rid of it, and so have a long but very sad life of a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years, is not what I call cherishing life.
"But to check this source of obstruction and with calm enjoyment to await death for a day, a month, or a year or ten years, is what I under stand by enjoying life."
Kuan-Yi-Wu said : "Since I have told you about cherishing life, please tell me how it is with the burial of the dead."
Yen-Ping-Chung said :
"Burying the dead is but of very little importance. What shall I tell you about it?"
Kuan-Yi-Wu replied : "I really wish to hear it."
Yen-Ping-Chung answered : "What can I do when I am dead ? They may burn my body, or cast it into deep water, or inter it, or leave it uninterred, or throw it wrapped up in a mat into some ditch, or cover it with princely apparel and embroidered garments and rest it in a stone sarcophagus. All that depends on mere chance."
Kuan-Yi-Wu looked round at Pao-Shu-huangtse and said to him : "Both of us have made some progress in the doctrine of life and death."
1 Both famous statesmen of antiquity in the service of the dukes of Chi.