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THE ART OF LIVING (EXCERPT)
by Xia Gaizun (1886 - 1946)
English translation: Miao Guang

To him, nothing is bad in this world; all is good. A small hotel is good, economy class is good, lodging is good, a ragged mat is good, a worn out towel is good, cabbage is good, carrot is good, running is good. Everything has a flavor, and everything is fantastic.

What an outlook! Not to mention a spiritual state of mind, but to be in such a state amidst daily trivial matters, does this not symbolize an artistic and tasteful attitude toward life? To others, he seems to be enduring hardship; to me, he is just enjoying life. Having seen the look of his face when he chewed on the carrot and cabbage, such joy and pleasure demonstrated to me that only a man like him is able to enjoy the true taste of these vegetables. Being free from any bias or prejudice, he maintains that true self who is able to simply observe and experience every part of life.

This is true liberation and enjoyment. Art and religion in fact share a common purpose. Anyone bound by profit or prejudice, and fails to relish even the smallest things in life is one who shares no connection with art. True art is not exclusive to poetry or paintings, instead, it can be found and gained anywhere and everywhere.

── from Pingwu Zawen (Miscellaneous Writings in the Humble Hut)