THE FOLLY OF DESIRE FOR LONG LIFE
MENG-SUN-YANG asked Yang Chu:
"There are men who cherish life and care for their bodies with the intention of grasping immortality. Is that possible?"
Yang Chu replied:
"According to the laws of nature there is no such thing as immortality."
Meng-sun-Yang: "Yet is it possible to acquire a very long life?"
Yang Chu: "According to the laws of nature there is no such thing as a very long life. Neither can life be preserved by cherishing or the body benefited by fostering."
Meng-sun-Yang: "What would be a long life?"
"All things were the same as they are now. The five good and bad passions were of old as they are now. So also the safety and peril of the four limbs. Grief and joy for the things of this world were of old as they are now, and the constant change of peace and revolution. Having seen and heard all these things, one would already be awearied of it at the age of a hundred. How much more after a very long life!"
Meng-sun-Yang: "If it be so a sudden death would be preferable to a long life; therefore we ought to run on to a pointed sword or jump into deep water to have what our heart yearns for."
Yang Chu: "No. Having once come into life regard it and let it pass; mark its desires and wishes, and so wait death.
"When death comes, disregard it and let it come. Mark what it brings you, and be drifted away to annihilation.
"If you pay no regard to life and death, and let them be as they are, how can you be anxious lest our life should end too soon?"
Translator of Yang Zhu's Garden of Pleasure is Anton Forke. If you missed any posts in this series, please utilize the Yang Zhu label below.