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布袋和尚

To celebrate World Laughter Day on 2 May, let me share this life-and-laughter embracing quotation from the classical Chinese Expanded Treasure of Laughter, by Feng Menglong (1574-1646).  The beautiful calligraphy in the original Chinese was done by He Yubin, a fellow student of Bill Dolby, who translated the piece into English.

‘Some laugh at others and some are laughed at by others; those who laugh at others also become the butt of others’ laughter while those who are laughed at in turn laugh at others. Ah, people will never stop laughing at one another, will they? … There’s still all the rest of that one great treasury of the laughable – the whole world past and present with you and me in the middle of it as well, as part of the pabulum. Man isn’t man without talk, and talk’s unthinkable without laughter.  Ah, Cloth-Bag Monk, Maitreya the Laughing Buddha, my master!  Yes, you’re my master!’

Source: Feng Menglong (1574-1646), Preface to the Expanded Treasury of Laughter, trans. William (Bill) Dolby

Image credits: calligraphy by He Yubin; Cloth-bag monk (budai heshang); Cloth-bag Monk by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861); Cloth-bag Monk by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).

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