Man Will Live Such a Long Life As God Does

In Chapter of Tolerance of Zhuangzi, there is a story about Yellow Emperor going into the mountains to seek the Way. Yellow Emperor ruled China for nineteen years, and his ruling was free from corruption. When he heard Guangchengzi (a sage) was living in Kongtong Mountain, he went to visit him. He said to Guangchengzi: “I heard you know the highest Way,so I have come to consult you about the pith of the Way. “I want to have a good harvest, let winds and rains come in their proper time forever, and let all my people live and work in peace and contentment. What should I do?” Guangchengzi said: “What you ask for are just some nonessential things, so,I cannot tell the highest Way to you.” After saying those words, Guangchengzi fell asleep at once, paying no attention to him again. Yellow Emperor came again from the leeward, moving his steps little by little kneeling, made several big kowtows to Guangchengzi, and asked in a new way: “I heard you know the highest Way. Would you please tell me how to live a long life?” Guangchengzi sat up suddenly and said: “That is right. You have come to the right track now. Come over,I will tell you…” And then,Guangchengzi talked about the major principle on how to live a long life.

Zhuangzi, Guangchengzi and Yellow Emperor took longevity as the supreme Dao (Way), and thought, in comparison with longevity, politics was only a nonessential matter. Just as Toynbee said, leaders of the present world always avoid the issue of “death”, that is,avoid the highest Way and the greatest thing. Even if we do not say they are cowardly or most shameful, at most, they are only doing nonessential things. They are either busying themselves with arms race and competition in national power, or, through the bottle-bottom-like spectacle glass, watching whether the growth rate has increased by one digit, so as to add to their political achievements… But the real great undertaking concerning people’s livelihood, the real great matter of perpetual value, that is, prolonging the people’s life, has been cast aside. In fact, only this undertaking can be considered as “representing the fundamental interest of the greatest majority of the people”.

The most fundamental duty of a country should be to enhance its people’s most fundamental interest. The most fundamental interest of the people is the “set” of the individuals’ most fundamental interest, and all the individuals compose the collective body of the people. Protecting the most fundamental interest of the people is nothing else than protecting the most fundamental interest of the individuals that compose the people. The nation exists for its people, and there is no “national interest” that is higher than the people’s interest,nor abstract “interest of the people” or “national interest” that is irrelevant to the individuals’ interest. As far as every individual is concerned, only the existence of the individual’s life is every individual’s most fundamental interest. So to speak, as far as a nation or government really loving its people and working for the people is concerned, the most fundamental interest it protects and the most fundamental goal it seeks, should be to do the best to realize the most fundamental interest of each individual, that is, longevity, or even eternal life.

Ikeda Otsukuri’s teacher Mr. Heta said: “One century later, as many as 100 million people will no longer exist in Japan. Whenever I think of their fate, I cannot help being astounded.” “In saying these words, his sad feeling was clearly seen on his face.”(Ikeda Otsukuri) If we take things as they are, one century later in China or in the world, there will be far more than 100 million people dying, but one billion or several billion people dying. Yet,common people have become accustomed to indifference to “birth, aging, illness and death”, and have got used to the end-result of death. Such a habit and indifference have become numbness gradually. Only those thinkers who ponder over and worry about the people’s fundamental interest will still feel sad and shed tears before a matter that most people have already been accustomed to and become insensible to.

The famous British historian Doctor Toynbee uttered a sentence in a very serious tone when he was talking with Ikeda Otsukuri (famous thinker and writer of Japan), and Mr. Ikeda Otsukuri thought “This sentence has sharply revealed a fact, that is, leaders of the world always shy away ‘death’, the fundamental question”. Doctor Toynbee said: “None of the statesmen and leaders of all walks of life has ever challenged this fundamental topic, but they only take an evading attitude to it. It is cowardly, and also the most shameful.” Not challenging death is “cowardly” and “most shameful”,then, challenging death and conquering death are undoubtedly the greatest and most heroic.

Today’s mankind is still like what Nietzschean criticized in his essay “An Anti-Era Review”: “Heavy habits, trivial and mean matters are congesting each corner of the world, and they form a dreary air overground, hanging over all great matters, impeding and troubling great matters’ road towards immortality, taunting them, smothering them, making them lose their breath.” People have got used to developing manslaughter weapons, engaging in all types of war, indulging in beer and skittles, and seeking a lopsided high cost of living, which are mocking at and smothering great goals. Only by extricating ourselves from such low-down and mean matters can we walk up onto the great and noble road.

Wake up, mankind! Tear off the worldly net of vulgarity, seek what is most worth seeking and develop what is most worth developing!

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