While most domestic couplets pasted at the gateway of ordinary families are somewhat trite, this one caught my eye, at a peasant gateway in a north Shanxi village:
For the Word of the Sage to flourish is the Proper Way
For worldly affairs to decline evinces chronic vicissitudes
This may seem to reflect an enduring pre-Liberation faith—the Word of the Sage apparently referring to a Christian worldview (“the Word of God”). But it’s combined with phrases adapted from a poem of Chairman Mao:
The Proper Way among humans is inconstant
—appealing, whether fortuitously or ingeniously, to political correctness. Shame I didn’t have a chance to chat with the host.
For a Buddhist meditation on impermanence in the vocal liturgy of the Li family Daoists, click here.