Zhuangzi: I have no one to talk to now
Steve Jobs: Everything falls away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important

Chen Jiru hosts his own funeral party

Calligraphy by Chen Jiru

At such an hour on such a day of such a month, the master died. Shortly before his demise he summoned his children, grandchildren and friends, saying, "Rather than making sacrifice to me after I die, you had better offer me wine while I am still alive." Thereupon his family and friends formed a line and went forward one by one to present him wine as if they had been participants in a memorial service. The master drank and ate gleefully. With his chin up, he shouted at the company, "Why don't you show grief and weep?" Thereupon the whole company burst in tears. Some of them began to sing funereal songs between rounds of drinking. The sadder the singing, the more everybody drank; the more everybody drank, the better the singing. The master was so pleased that he got up and danced. He pinned flowers to his cap and twisted and clowned like a child. Nobody was allowed to leave until he was thoroughly drunk. When the master was finally about to expire he told those who were attending him: "It is always said that dying is accompanied by apparitions. Sometimes the dying one is summoned by messengers riding on a gold-and-silver floating platform; sometimes a welcome team descend from the clouds with flying banners and sonorous music. I am now seeing none of these. If you see anything, it must be an illusion." When he finished talking he clapped his hands, laughed loudly, and then expired. At this moment a white rainbow [hung] suddenly rose from the hall and, with its head straight up, it flew away into the blue sky. Everybody marveled at this occurrence.

              --Chen Jiru 陳繼儒 (1558-1639), Ming dynasty painter, scholar and hermit, in his own autobiography. From Mingren Zizhuan Wenchao 明 人自傳 文 鈔, cited in The Confucian's Progress: Autobiographical Writings in Traditional China (1992) by Pei-yi Wu 吳佩怡 (1927-2009)

If you have the original Chinese, could you please send it? Thanks.


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