Storehouse of Laughter – Preface

笑府序

古今來莫非話也。話莫非笑也。兩儀之混沌開闢。列聖之揖譲征誅。見者其誰耶。夫亦話之而已耳。後之話今亦猶今之話昔。話之而疑之可笑也。話之而信之尤可笑也。經書子史鬼話也。而爭傳焉。詩賦文章淡話也。而爭工焉。褒譏伸抑亂話也。而爭趋避焉。或笑人或笑於人。笑人者亦復笑于人。笑●人者亦復笑人。之相笑寧有己時。笑府集笑話也。十三萹猶曰簿乎云爾。或閱之而喜。請勿喜。或閱之而嗔。請勿嗔。古今世界一大笑府。我與若皆在其中。供人話柄。不話不成人。不笑不成話。不笑不話不成世界。布袋和尚吾師乎。吾師乎。

Preface to the Storehouse of Laughter

From ancient times to the present day, there is nothing that cannot be spoken of, and no speech that cannot be the subject of humor. That Heaven and Earth were made from formless chaos, that past rulers ruled and fought, who among us has borne witness? We have only words to tell us about them. Words from the past are just like words in the present. It is laughable to be always suspicious of them, but it is yet more laughable to be completely trusting of them.

The books of the classics, the philosophers, and the histories are just perverse talk, yet we strive to teach and transmit them. Poetry, odes, and essays are just idle talk, yet we strive to perfect them. To extend or to withhold praise and criticism is just nonsense, yet we strain to avoid it. Whether laughing at people or being laughed at by people, the one who laughs will be laughed at by others, while the one being laughed at will laugh at others in turn. When will the laughter ever stop?

The Storehouse of Laughter is a collection of humor. These thirteen chapters do not amount to very much. If the reader is gladdened by this book – please don’t be gladdened. If the reader is angered by this book – please don’t be angered. The world through the ages has been but one great storehouse of laughter. You and I are all in it together. It is offered up here as something to talk about. Not to speak is to be inhuman, not to laugh is not to speak. The world would not be formed without laughter or speech. The Laughing Buddha is my teacher, he is my teacher indeed!

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