Jin Shengtan was a 17th-century Chinese writer who once found himself stranded with a friend in a temple for 10 days because of a rainstorm. While thus secluded, the pair compiled a list of 33 of the truly happy moments in life. The resulting book was called Chin’s 33 Happy Moments. The wonderful thing about his moments is their lack of piety. Happiness is seen not as a constant state, but as an occasional surprise.
Here is Chin’s tenth happy moment:
It is a summer day. I go bareheaded and barefooted, holding a parasol, to watch young people singing Soochow folk songs while working the water-wheel. The water comes up over the wheel in a gushing torrent like molten silver or melting snow.
Ah, is this not happiness?