Selected Modern Chinese Essays: Love Is Not a Game

◎ Lu Yin

A Buddhist monk without having experienced ups and downs in the sea of mortals will have no claim to true wisdom.

Likewise, one who has never gone through the baptism of romantic love will have little genuine knowledge of life.

Buddhist monks exert every effort to renounce this life in favour of future nirvana. But, without a full knowledge of this life, how could they see through the vanity of human society and make a clean break with this mortal world?

Romantic love is the core of human life. Mencius says, “The desire for food and sex is nature.” In other words, love is innate. If one remains a lifelong stranger to love, how can he thoroughly understand life?

Man becomes capable through learning. But love is an exception. Boy and girl, when they are of age and meet at an opportune moment, will become mysteriously attached to each other.

Though people love by instinct, yet all cannot understand it correctly. More often than not, love is but carnal desire in disguise and is treated as a mere game. That is why we so often hear tragic stories of love.

True love is not a game. Nor can its true value be appreciated by the morally degenerate. True love spurs one on to higher attainment. It embodies the supreme quality of selflessness, and is, above all, symbolic of beauty.

When a man and woman are deeply immersed in true love, they are full of amazing inner strength. Their souls are freed from all bondage. They are unyielding before threats and incorruptible before any promise of material gain. They transcend the reality to create an ideal paradise of their own.

Unfortunately, in this present world overflowing with material desires, this kind of true love is as rare as the feeble light of fireflies. What is more, “love” sometimes even leads to moral degeneration on the part of ignorant men and women. Over this, Venus cannot help lamenting with a deep sigh, “Love has become a mere game ever since humanity set out on its way to extinction. O what a sad story!”