Wang Wei: Wang River Country House

Wang River Country House

辋 川 别 业
不 到 东 山 向 一 年
归 来 才 及 种 春 田。
雨 中 草 色 绿 堪 染
水 上 桃 花 红 欲 燃。
优 娄 比 丘 经 论 学
伛 偻 丈 人 乡 里 贤。
披 衣 倒 屣 且 相 见
相 欢 语 笑 衡 门 前。
Wang Chuan Bie Ye

Bu dao dong shan xiang yi nian
Gui lai cai ji zhong chun tian.
Yu zhong cao se lu kan ran
Shui shang tao hua hong yu ran.

You lou bi qiu jing lun xue
Yu lou zhang ren xiang li xian.
Pi yi dao xi qie xiang jian
Xiang huan yu xiao heng men qian.

 

Wang River Country House

Almost one year since last arriving in the eastern mountains
Return just at the right time for the spring fields.
Fallen rain on grass, green colors dye and stain like a painting
Water on the peach blossoms, their red a burning flame.

Youlou and Biqiu study the highest level Buddhist sutras
Hunchbacked old man in your hometown wise and virtuous.
Over the shoulder clothes, sandals worn reversed, just to see one another
Joyous words with one another, laughter in front of the flimsy front door.

 

Notes:

Wang River: Wang Wei’s Lantian cottage location was called Wang River. The famous scroll of painting and poems are called the Wang River Scroll. This vacation retreat and estate was located south of the capital city of Chang’an, within the foothills of the Qinling mountains.  All of the original paintings of Wang Wei are lost and/or gone.  The poems of the Wang River Scroll can be found on this website.

Eastern mountains: A place for yinju, that is, rural seclusion to meditate and study the sutras. Probably a historical and poetic allusion to the famous poem by Tao Yuanming, Drinking Wine No.5. The poem and commentary can be found on this website.

Youlou and Biqiu: Two famous and highly accomplished Buddhist monks. Wang Wei was referring to himself and his friend, Pei Di.

Hunchbacked old man: Kongzi (Confucius) and his famous student Zhongzi were walking in the forest with a group of students. They happened upon an old hunchbacked man catching cicadas with a bamboo pole, one end was covered with a sticky substance in order to snare the insects. Zhongzi asks the old man how he came up with this clever method of catching cicadas. The old man replied that he had a very deep understanding of the Dao. With the withered bamboo branch, like his arm, he could catch each cicada, and because the cicadas fly, they know of their whole world, the old man too can know the whole world. Kongzi was delighted with this old man’s explanation, telling his students that one should just do one thing well, concentrate on this one thing to achieve everything.

Sandals worn reversed: Wang Wei was in such a hurry to meet his friend, he only got half dressed.

Flimsy front door: In this remote village front doors do not need to be solid or locked, as everyone knows everyone else.

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