Noguchi-Chuang-Tzu #5

Concerning Chuang-Tzu’s chapter « The spirit of cultivating life » (V) by Haruchika Noguchi. to read the beginning

For as long as human beings live, they will at some point die. This statement has been tested for thousands of years, and so it is not a misapprehension. People generally do not accept the irrefutable fact that men die, and as they draw closer to death and feel death in their hearts, they worry and act impatiently, since they don’t want to die. But human beings are creatures that die. Bach composed the Goldberg variations for the sake of someone’s sound sleep, and this piece says again and again that men are mortal.

The reiteration is interesting because it is so like Bach himself, who breathed quietly and had calmness of mind.

Bach does not say that death is enjoyable, or beautiful, or sorrowful, or sweet ; nor does he say that it is the passage to renewed life or to eternity. He simply states the stern fact that living poeple die. The fact that people die is a very strange thing, but it is certain ; and everyone alive — not only insomniacs — should listen to what Bach reiterated again and again. Only people who know death can live life truly. Rousseau said that, however long they live, people do not want to die because they live only for tomorrow, and he derided them. He was right.In this man who gazed at death and wrote, « Although there is an end to fingers » putting fuel on the fire, the fire endures and we don’t know the end of it’ — in this man, we sense the quality of someone who cultivated life.

He often talks of the true man : « The true man of old did not strive against poverty. If he did well, he took no pride in it. He didn’t plan ahead. A man of this kind had no regrets even if he made a mistake. He was not proud even if he succeeded in something. He climbed to a high place without fear, entered water without getting wet, and entered fire without feeling the heat. That, is what life is like when someone has succeeded in entering upon the road of wisdom. » He also wrote, « The true man of old slept without dreaming, had no anxieties while awake, was unmoved by the deliciousness of food, and his breathing was slow and deep. The true man’s breath is from his heels, whereas ordinary people breathe from the throat. Those who are slaves to the world choke out their words as though they were vomiting. In a person whose desires are deep, the workings of heaven are shallow. »

« The true man of old knew neither to love life nor to hate death. He felt no joy in his coming into the world, he did not resist his passing away. He passed away composedly and came into being composedly… Being such, his mind had forgotten to think, his demeanour was quiet, his forehead was clear, he had the chill of autumn and the warmth of spring, and his joy and anger followed each other as naturally as the four seasons. He kept in harmony with things, and did not know of an end. »

Chuang-tzu knew what a healthy person was. He sought always to live as a healthy person. That is why, if you were cut into this chapter. « The spirit of Cultivating Life », with its five hundred and fifty characters, the red blood would flow from it.

If what has been said here can deal a reviving blow against the various methods of modern hygiene and the various rules of health that have been formulated, by those who know only the sick, for the sake of the sick and those on the road to becoming sick, and for their sake alone, it will make me happy.