Yue liang ai ren - Moonlight Lover - A Love Beyond Time
By Dr Moni Storz
Wandering aimlessly in Penang, amongst the old shops, I seemed to be led into a time beyond the present, a time past, a time of ancestors. Now trapped in the ever present, dreamily I fingered the art objects in this shop, objects that seemed to have captured this time past. My hands with a synchronicity only true to itself, picked up a bone pendant made of an unnamed animal. On it, four black Chinese characters were burnt into its bleached smoothness: yue liang ai ren. Moonlight lover. An invisible hand squeezed my heart. I swallowed, speechless, caught in the sheer timelessness of the phrase.
How the human heart has longed from time immemorial of a love beyond time, a longing for eternity, a longing for a love that transcends this mortal life. I bought the pendant and outside in the blinding sunshine, I suddenly realised that I had no one to give it to. No one whom I love is immortal. I looked up at the brightness of the Malaysian sky and a glimmer of truth, eternal and timeless, whispered to me that only Death is immortal. A paradox, but true nevertheless. We live and we will die. That is the only certainty so Death, a lover beyond time, yue liang ai ren, seduces and beckons, in all its pleasures and pain.
Living and dying, held in such terror by so many, especially in modern culture. Steeped in the rational and the scientific, these people fear death as it often defies our control. No matter who we are, death comes to us when it is time. In the Chinese Taoist tradition, death is clothed in white cloths and ashes, clanging cymbals and burning joss sticks, these sound produced to appease the spirit world of ancestors and appropriate deities.
With the coming of Indian Buddhism and Hinduism, the Chinese concept of dying adds to it the comforting idea of reincarnation and rebirth. Comforting because, the body now is only a house or the spirit of the soul. Death immortalised, yue liang ai ren, it is in this sense that we live forever and love is the chariot to take us from lifetime to lifetime, each a cycle of birth and death and rebirth. However, this love has many manifestations.
The erotic is the most well known and as a projection from one human consciousness to another, it wreaks havoc in the human heart. However, love in its divine form, truly acts as a chariot of the gods and goddesses. In its divine aspect, love brings us closer to our Inner Lover and it is this phenomenon that speaks to us of immortality. The Inner Lover is our soul and as such, it never dies, but lives eternal. In this divine sense, yue liang ai ren is our Inner Being. To connect with this Being or Lover, we must resort to the language of art, poetry, meditation and aesthetics. We must use Nature as the jetplane into our higher consciousness.
The contemplation of Nature - sunsets and sunrises; the moon waxing and waning; the rush of a waterfall and the rise and fall of the tides; all these and much more in Nature's movies, comfort our senses, croon to us of easeful death as Keats, the great English romantic poet wrote when dying of tuberculosis. Or as the American poet, Edgar Allen Poe, bemoans; Tell me not in mournful numbers, that life is but an empty dream. So, there is no word of instruction, no word of comfort except this: No one can live your life for you and neither can they die your death.
Live in peace and thus hope to die likewise.