Friday, 22 April 2011

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Tang Dynasty Poem: 乐游原


乐游原

向 晚 意 不 适 ,
xiàng wǎn yì bù shì  

驱 车 登 古 原 。
qū chē dēng gǔ yuán  

夕 阳 无 限 好 ,
xī yáng wú xiàn hǎo  

只 是 近 黄 昏 !
zhǐ shì jìn huāng hūn  

Literal Translation:
Feelings of sadness this evening,
Drove to “Deng gu yuan”.
No matter how beautiful sunset is,
It is near dusk.

Author:
This poem was written by a Tang poet, Li Shan Yin (812-858). He specializes in writing Parallel Prose and poetry, the most famous poem “Qilu”.

Modern Translation:
The author was feeling rather melancholic this evening. He drove to Le You Yuan (a place of interest south of Chang An in China during his time, where palaces had been built here during the Western Han dynasty 206 BC–AD 9) for walk. The colour of sunset is very beautiful, but alas this beautiful sight is very short-lived, as it means that the night is near... very soon the sun will set and this beautiful sight would dissipate away.

My After-Thought:
This is a very well-known and popular poem in China, as it expresses the universal feelings common to every human being i.e. in life, there will  always be sorrow, as life is so transient... just like sunset and spring time cherry blossom, for example. Nothing stays the same, nothing is of permanence. Beauty and joy will fade. With the joy of birth, comes the eventual sorrow of death.

Makes me think of J. We had a beautiful Good Friday today. Perfect weather, and we enjoyed ourselves with the nature walk, admiring the flowers that are all now springing forth. The day is gone... leaving behind sweet memories, but still memories nevertheless. As parents, we can’t be with him forever. The joy of the day is put into perspective. He can’t live forever. No one can. What then is the meaning of life, of joy... everything is transient. Yet we rejoice, because we will that we will all meet together in heaven, as after death comes eternal life. The meaning of life eternity brings meaning to life.

The Bible says it is wise to consider the number of our days in Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.

At the same time, it is wise to be content with what we have, and to thank God for gladness of heart, to appreciate and live in the presence:
“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given him – for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” – Ecclesiaste 5:18-20

Here lies, to me truely, the meaning of life. God is the one who gives me the gladness of heart in this life, and the life to come, by sending His Son Jesus, who have conquered death, and gained victory over death. He rose on the third day, that we no longer have to fear for death.

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