Zhuang Zi 莊子was the reknowned Classical Taoist disciple of Lao Zi. His wife passed away. His close friend, scholar and stateman Hui Zi 惠子, came to visit and found him singing while beating the rhythm on a water container.
Hui Zi said, “You married her and have children with her. Now that she passed on, you don’t need to grieve for her. That’s understandable. But you’re singing?”
Zhuang Zi replied, “You misunderstand me. When my wife passed away, initially I was grief stricken. However, come to think of it, there is basically nothing. There was no form nor was there any life energy. The human life is formed from miscellaneous substances that transformed into (life) energy which then transformed into a human form. Life is then transformed into death just like the four seasons constantly change in cycles. Therefore, death is similar to the traveler returning home. To cry and grieve is just being incognizant of the life cycles. That’s why I decided to sing.”
* * * * *
Compared to the Buddhist, the Taoist’s wisdom basically misses the big picture. They understand emptiness and the coming and returning to the dusts. However, they still don’t get Reincarnation.
His wife continues to cycle through the Wheel of Reincarnation without any control. In Buddhism, we would have tried to create blessings on her behalf so that she can obtain a better body and ascend toward liberation and bliss. Better yet, the more blessed Buddhist can even attain birth to the Western Bliss Pure Land where she will never have to undergo suffering again but know only bliss.