Ah, is this not happiness?

The 17th century Chinese writer Chin Shengtang was once stranded in a temple during a rainstorm for three days with a friend. While thus secluded, the pair compiled their list of the 33 best moments in life. This delightful literary project is called Chin’s 33 Happy Moments, and you can do it yourself. Just describe a happy moment, and then write, “ah, is this not happiness!” at the end.

3. I am sitting alone in an empty room and I am just getting annoyed at a little mouse at the head of my bed, and wondering what that little rustling sound signifies – what article of mine he is biting or what volume of my books he is eating up? While I am in this state of mind and don’t know what to do, I suddenly see a ferocious-looking cat, wagging its tail and staring with its wide-open eyes, as if it were looking at something. I hold my breath and wait a moment, keeping perfectly still, and suddenly with a little sound the mouse disappears like a whiff of wind.

Ah, is this not happiness?

From Chin’s 33 Happy Moments by 17th century scholar, Chin Shengt’an

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