Episode 92: Why Are You In My Pants?

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Today’s story is about Liu Ling 刘伶, a Chinese poet and scholar from the year 221 to 300 C.E. He is notorious for his love of alcohol. He is one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove 竹林七贤. During the Wei-Jin period 魏晋时期, some scholars were pursuing a spontaneous and natural existence instead of the strict Confucianism. He is one of them. Maybe he was an ancient Chinese hippie.


In book JinShu 晋书, it says Liu Ling was around 6 chi 尺, which is around 150 cm high and wasn’t an attractive man. He was carrying liquor with him all the time and asked his servant to carry a shovel so if he dead anytime his servant could bury him. Once he had a conflict with people after getting drunk, the other person was going to punch him. Liu Ling said slowly, “I am as skinny as the ribs of a chicken. If you punch me, your hands would get hurt.” After hearing this, the other person laughed and stopped the fight.


Today we will talk about an interesting story from the book A New Account of the Talks of the World 世说 新语, complied and edited during the year 420 ~ 479 of the Northern and Southern dynasties 南北朝. The book has more than 1000 historical mostly fictional anecdotes of people lived in the Han dynasty 汉朝and Wei-Jin periods 魏晋. A lot of the stories only has a few lines of words.

In the book A New Account of the Talks of the World, it says Liu Ling always drank a lot and sometimes when he was at home he would take off all of his clothes. People saw him nudity and made fun of him. Guess what he said. He replied, “I consider the entire universe as my home. My house is my clothes. Why are you in my pants? ”



世说 新语 A New Account of the Talks of the World

晋书 JinShu

竹林七贤 Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

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