Monday, November 10, 2008

陶渊明:道家精神最高境界 Tao Yuan-Ming: Daoism at its Best


Extraced from A Short History of Chinese Philosophy by Fong You-lan:
The Taoists had no formal treaties on art, but their admiration of the free moment of the spirit and their idealization of nature gave profound inspiration to the great artists of China. This is being the case, it is no wonder that most of the great artists of China took nature as their subject. Most of the masterpieces of Chinese painting are paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers, trees and bamboos. In the landscape painting, at the foot of maintain or the bank of a stream, one always find a man sitting, appreciating the beauty of nature and contemplating the Tao or Way that transcends both nature and man.
Likewise in Chinese poetry we find such poems as that by T’ao Ch’ien (Tao Qian 陶潜, AD. 372-427):
I build my hut in a zone of human habitation,
Yet near me there sounds no noise of horse or coach,
Would you know how that is possible?
A heart that is distant creates a wilderness round it.
I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge,
Then gaze long at the distant summer hills,
The mountain air is fresh at the dusk of day;
The flying birds two by two return.
In these things there lies a deep meaning,
Yet when we would express it, words suddenly fail us.
Here we have Taoism at its best.

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