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Dream of red chambers

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Imperial Exam about Non – Attachment

Chia Lan and Pao-yu both went for the exam. Chia Lan’s success was evident but Pao-Yu’s changed attitude towards studies was very curious in nature. This was displayed in his result when he stood seventh and Chia Lan ranked one hundred and thirteenth. After the exam, Pao-yu disappeared from the gate of the examination hall and his feeling of non-attachment from the worldly duties and affairs and from all materialist attractions diminished. This became more obvious before his departure, he said to Precious Virtue: “ Chieh-chieh, I am going now. You can wait with Tai-Tai for the good tidings”. And to his mother, Madame Wang he said, “ I shall never be able to repay Tai-tais kindness to me but I shall try my best at the Examinations and earn the degree. Perhaps this will make Tai-Tai happy and in a way atone for my past unworthiness.”

Chia Cheng about Ritual

Chia Cheng adhered to the teachings of Confucian canon and governed his life following those teachings. For him, the sincerity lies in the mourning and true emotion and not in pompous and expensive ceremonies. Despite all the objections and criticisms, Chia Cheng abandoned the place of mourning and left the arrangement for the rituals on the hand of other people. And the impact the rituals had on the lives and minds of the subject and people around Chia Cheng can be well demonstrated from the sayings of Phoenix, “ Lao Tai-Tai was never extravagant in her life”. And also commented, “ I do not understand what Lao-yeh meant about the sincerity of mourning and the teachings of the sages but I know that Lao Tai-Tai used to love Nai-Nai and myself and was kinder to us than the rest and that I for one will be ashamed to face her in after¬ life if her funeral is skimped. So I implore Nai-Nai to spare no expense. Lao Tai-Tai provided for this herself”.

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