In life there is no rest

Tzu Kung was tired of study, and confided his feelings to Confucius, saying: ‘I yearn for rest.’ Confucius replied: ‘In life there is no rest.’

‘To toil in anxious planning for the future, to slave in bolstering up the bodily frame–these are the businesses of life.’

‘Is rest, then, nowhere to be found? ‘Oh yes!’ replied Confucius; ‘look at all the graves in the wilds, all the vaults, all the tombs, all the funeral urns, and you may know where rest is to be found.’

‘Great, indeed, is Death!’ exclaimed Tzu Kung. ‘It gives rest to the noble hearted, and causes the base to cower.’

‘You are right,’ said Confucius. ‘Men feel the joy of life, but do not realize its bitterness. They feel the weariness of old age, but not its peacefulness. They think of the evils of death, but not of the repose which it confers.’

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