Why rob one to feed the other?

When Chuang Tzŭ was about to die, his disciples expressed a wish to give him a splendid funeral. But Chuang Tzŭ said: “With Heaven and Earth for my coffin and shell; with the sun, moon, and stars, as my burial regalia; and with all creation to escort me to the grave,—are not my funeral paraphernalia ready to hand?”

“We fear,” argued the disciples, “lest the carrion kite should eat the body of our Master;” to which Chuang Tzŭ replied: “Above ground I shall be food for kites; below I shall be food for mole-crickets and ants. Why rob one to feed the other?”

[1. paraphernalia, short for paraphernalia bona “paraphernal goods”, originally means ” “a woman’s property besides her dowry,” here refers to equipments consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a funeral.
2. regalia, decorations or insignia of an order, here refers to decorations for a funeral.]

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