Thursday, March 29, 2007

Everything I know about life I learned from Su Shi 蘇軾

So my last post was all about doubting one's life and accomplishments and the next day my teacher gave me this to read.

Here below is my crappy attempt at translation. My apologies to 蘇東坡.
The guest said:...Isn't this the place where Mengde (曹操)wrote a poem, as he was being cornered by Zhou Lang (周瑜) ? Forced to abandon Jingzhou, retreating down the river, fleeing east, the pursuing fleet covered 1000 li, and their flags darkened the sky, yet he could still sit by the river, raise his glass, and write this poem. What an uncommon man,yet where is he now?

You and I are like fishermen and woodcutters on a small island. We keep company with fish and shrimp, elk, and deer. Our boat is like a single leaf, we drink from gourd winecups. Between heaven and earth, we are the smallest of insects. We are the smallest of millet grains in the midst of the sea.

My life is brief. I envy the endless river. I want to grasp the flying immortal, and travel with him. I want to hold the moon until until the very end. I know that I will not achieve my ambitions quickly or easily, so I pour my feelings into the autumn wind.

Su said: You speak of the water and the moon. Water flows away, but it never vanishes. The moon waxes and wanes, but it is never extinguished. If you believe everything changes, and look at the world in this way, than nothing in the world lasts for more than an instant. If you believe that nothing changes and look at the world, then both you and it are limitless. So why do you envy it? On heaven and earth, every thing has a creator. If you have nothing, and cannot even grasp the smallest thing, look at the wind on the river, and the moon in the midst of the mountains. Your ears can hear the sound of the wind, your eyes can see the color of the moonlight. You can enjoy them as long as you wish. This is what the creator has treasured since the beginning of time, and that which both you and I can enjoy together.

1 comment:

Nien said...

ive tried for the past few days to figure out the second half of the last paragraph. i don't get it. im getting lost in the abtraction. explain it to me please so i can blog about it =)