Jin Shengtan was a 17th century Chinese writer who once found himself stranded with a friend in a temple for ten 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 eighth happy moment:
Having nothing to do after a meal I go to the shops and take a fancy to a little thing. After bargaining for some time, we still haggle about a small difference, but the shop-boy still refuses to sell it. Then I take out a little thing from my sleeve, which is worth about the same as the difference and throw it at the boy. The boy suddenly smiles and bows courteously saying, “Oh, you are too generous!”
Ah, is this not happiness?
Do you have a happy moment? Send your “ah, is this not happiness?” moment to us at email@example.com with the subject line: “ah!”