“A CELEBRATION OF DEATH” — Chuang Tzu

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---“White the Humming Bird” by Frank Howell


Upon hearing of the death of Chuang Tzu's wife, his good friend Hui Tzu went over to comfort him and found the sage sitting on the ground banging on an overturned pot and singing a song at the top of his lungs.

Horrified at such behavior, Hui Tzu reproved him, saying, 'This woman has lived with you, borne your children, grown old with you and now she has died. It is bad enough not to be weeping at this time but to be out here banging on a pot and singing is too much!’

Chuang Tzu replied, 'You are mistaken my friend, at first I could not help but feel sad and depressed at my beloved wife's death. But then I began to reflect. In the beginning, she had no life, and having no life she had no spirit, and having no spirit she had no body. But then she was given life, she was given a spirit and then she was given a body. Now things have changed again and she is dead. She has joined the great cycle of the seasons. Now she lies suspended between heaven and earth. Why then should I weep and moan over her. It would be as though I did not understand the process of life. Therefore I stopped and decided to celebrate.
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