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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

舊說新語
Modern Interpretations of Ancient Expressions

【七 我聽不懂-知足篇】

7. “I Do Not Understand”-Contentment Chapter

□  孫秀美    文  By Sun Syou-mei

吉米是個孤兒,從小跟隨老船長過著四海為 家的生活,平日裡,他得從早工作到晚,才有 三餐吃,穿的是其他船員不要了的舊衣;只有 逢年過節,或是遇到船上的貨物銷售得好時, 才能得到幾個銅板。這一回,他們的貨船不像 往常只橫過大西洋到歐洲去,而在換裝一批新 貨後,又繞過印度洋北上,航向傳說中古老而 神祕的中國,因為才一靠岸,貨就有了買主, 老船長開心地把一袋中國銀元交給大家去分, 最後輪到吉米拿時,袋子內只躺著一塊銀元。

上了岸,吉米垂頭喪氣地邊走邊想:「唉! 我的命運為什麼總是這麼不好呢?只分到這一 塊銀元,看來我只能隨便走走,買點麵包充饑 罷了!」

離碼頭不遠,他看見另一頭的港口泊著一艘 好高好大的船,許多中國工人正忙碌地搬運貨 物,有糖、有茶、有布匹,還有許許多多沉重 的大箱子,不知裝的是不是磁器?或者竟是珍 珠、瑪瑙或翡翠?他急急忙忙攔住一個工人問 :「是誰這麼幸福,擁有這麼多東西?」搬運 工人摸摸頭,尷尬地笑笑,用中國話說:「我 聽不懂!」(Wo ting bu dong)吉米愣愣地望 著大船,喃喃自語:「原來是『我聽不懂』先 生(Mr. Watinpton)的產業!」

走呀走的,吉米注意到兩邊的街道變得又寬 又平,建築雖古老,卻描金繪彩的,十分富麗 堂皇。來來往往的人都穿著華麗柔軟的絲綢, 坐在人力車上一派悠閒的模樣,他停步在一棟 佔地寬廣的大宅院,光看那磐龍踞鳳的大門, 就已是氣象萬千,出牆的紅杏,更是肆無忌憚 地洩漏著深院的蘩華,他羨慕地想:「住在這 裡面的人可真是太有福氣了!不知道主人是誰 ?」他又攔著了一個行人問,那個人抱歉地笑 笑:「我聽不懂!」就走了,吉米無限欽佩地 搖搖頭:「哦!又是『我聽不懂』先生的!多 幸福啊!他有那麼大的產業,毋怪乎住得起這 麼豪華的房子!唉!哪像我這個居無定所的窮 光蛋,除了無盡的工作等著我外,什麼也沒有 !」

正當吉米邊走邊歎氣,抹眼淚時,一隊奇怪 的送葬隊伍,奏著古怪而哀悽的樂曲經過,幾 個人抬著一口朱紅的棺材,後面零雜地跟著一 群哭著的人,每個人都穿著白袍白鞋,有的還 披了一頭一臉的粗麻布,吉米看了也很難過, 明白一定是有人死了要出殯,忙脫下水手帽站 到一邊去。這時,經過他面前的那個人正好抬 起那憔悴而憂傷的臉,吉米忙拉住他問:「對 不起!去世的人一定是你的親戚或好朋友吧? 」那人苦笑了一下:「我聽不懂!」就又低下 頭跟上了隊伍,又是「我聽不懂!」吉米不由 也流下了淚:「可憐的『我聽不懂』先生!您 有這麼華麗的房子,這麼龐大的產業,現在又 剩了些什麼呢?雖然我是這樣地貧窮,但我死 去的時候,恐怕也不會比你壞多少啊!似乎我 們並沒有什麼不同!」所以吉米也一路跟到了 墳場,他拿出他那一塊緊捏在手心的,溫熱的 銀元,去買了一束鮮花捧在手上,靜靜地聽著 那些他聽不懂的經文,靜靜地看著『我聽不懂 』先生入土,然後把那束鮮花放在墳前:「安 息吧!」『我聽不懂』先生」。

在碼頭附近的外銷商店,他用剩餘的錢買了 些水果和乾麵包吃:「嗯!好香!好好吃!」 他深深吸口氣,滿足地說:「至少我還健康的 活著,能吃能喝也能工作,還能隨船四處遨遊 ;累了還可以在甲板上躺一躺,看浮雲和飛鳥 在遼闊的天空自由來去,不必躺在那又氣悶又 狹小黑暗的土坑!」當汽笛響起:「嗚--」 吉米禁不住揮手:「再見了!美麗的中國!再 見了!可憐的『我聽不懂』先生!」朋友!當 你聽(看)著故事而失笑之餘,是否同時也想到 一句中國的老話:「知足常樂」?或者,你是 真的『我聽不懂』 ?

Jimmy was an orphan. Ever since he was little he lived on a boat with an old sea captain. They sailed around the world. He had to work from morning to night in order to receive meals. He wore the discarded old clothes of other sailors. Only on holidays or when business was good for the merchant ship did he receive a few coins. This time they did not just sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, but they went further east. After they reloaded with new goods they sailed past the Indian Ocean and went north. Then they went to the ancient and mysterious land of China. As soon as they reached land, they sold all their goods. Because of that the old captain was very happy, so he gave a bag of silver ingots to the sailors to divide up among themselves. When the bag was finally passed to Jimmy, there was only one ingot left at the bottom of the bag.

After getting off the boat, Jimmy bowed his head in sadness and thought while he was walking, "Oh! Why am I so unlucky? I only have one piece of silver. I guess I can only wander around nearby and buy some bread to satisfy my hunger."

Not far from the wharf, he saw a magnificent ship resting on the other side of the harbor. He saw many Chinese workers busily unloading the ship's cargo. There were sugar, tea, fabric, and many other heavy boxes of merchandise. Maybe the boxes were full of china, or maybe the boxes were full of pearls, onyx and green jade. He eagerly asked a worker busily unloading cargo, "Who is this lucky person who has so much precious merchandise?" The worker scratched his head and smiled uncomprehendingly and answered "Wo ting bu dong." (I don't understand.)" Jimmy stared at the boat and said to himself, "Oh! All these belong to Mr. Watinpton!"

As Jimmy walked and walked and he began to notice that the road became wider and smoother. He also noticed the gilded paintings on the magnificent walls of the adorned buildings. He also noticed that the people who were passing by were wearing pretty and soft silk clothes, and were riding on rickshas, and looking so calm and easy-going. He then stopped in front of a large house. He was filled with a sense of awe as he looked at the door. The red apricot blossoms that hung over the wall promised more spectacular splendors within the walls. He enviously thought, "Whoever lives in this house must be very fortunate, I wonder who it is?" He then stopped a pedestrian and asked him. The man smiled regretfully and said, "Wo ting bu dong." and left. He admiringly thought, "Oh! So this belongs to Mr. Watinpton, too! He has so much property, no wonder he can live in such a huge house. Unlike me, I am but a poor vagrant. All I have to look forward to is endless hours of work. I have nothing!"

While Jimmy was walking along and feeling sorry for himself and crying, quietly, a strange group of mourners and a band playing sad funeral music passed by. There were a few people carrying a red coffin, and behind them was a group of mourners. There were wearing white robes and white shoes and some also wore white funeral hats. Jimmy saw this and felt sorry for them. He knew there was going to be a funeral, so he took off his sailor hat and stood to the side. A mourner who walked by lifted his head, and Jimmy saw the sad expression on his sullen face. Jimmy stopped him and asked, "Excuse me, the person being buried must either be your relative or a good friend?" The man reluctantly replied, "Wo ting bu dong." then quickly bowed his head and caught up with the group. It was Wo Ting Bu Dong again! Jimmy could not help but cry and think to himself, "Poor Mr. Watinpton. You have such a magnificent house and so much property, but what do you have left now? Although I am very poor now, when I die I won't be much worse off than you. It looks like we aren't so different after all!" Jimmy followed the group to the cemetery and used the silver ingot which he had clenched tightly in his hand for a long time to buy a bouquet of flowers. He held the flowers in his hand while he quietly listened to the people recite sutra texts which he didn't understand at all. He quietly watched Mr. Watinpton being buried. He then put the flowers in front of the grave and said, "Rest in peace, Mr. Watinpton."While Jimmy was walking along and feeling sorry for himself and crying, quietly, a strange group of mourners and a band playing sad funeral music passed by. There were a few people carrying a red coffin, and behind them was a group of mourners. There were wearing white robes and white shoes and some also wore white funeral hats. Jimmy saw this and felt sorry for them. He knew there was going to be a funeral, so he took off his sailor hat and stood to the side. A mourner who walked by lifted his head, and Jimmy saw the sad expression on his sullen face. Jimmy stopped him and asked, "Excuse me, the person being buried must either be your relative or a good friend?" The man reluctantly replied, "Wo ting bu dong." then quickly bowed his head and caught up with the group. It was Wo Ting Bu Dong again! Jimmy could not help but cry and think to himself, "Poor Mr. Watinpton. You have such a magnificent house and so much property, but what do you have left now? Although I am very poor now, when I die I won't be much worse off than you. It looks like we aren't so different after all!" Jimmy followed the group to the cemetery and used the silver ingot which he had clenched tightly in his hand for a long time to buy a bouquet of flowers. He held the flowers in his hand while he quietly listened to the people recite sutra texts which he didn't understand at all. He quietly watched Mr. Watinpton being buried. He then put the flowers in front of the grave and said, "Rest in peace, Mr. Watinpton."

He went to a marketplace near the harbor and bought some fruit and bread with the money he had left. "Wow! This smells and tastes so good!" He took a deep breath and said contently to himself, "At least I am still healthy and able to eat, drink, work, and travel around the world. When I am tired I can lie on the deck and watch the clouds and birds fly freely in the open sky. I don't have to lie in that musty and dark grave." When the ship blew its horn, "Woo. Woo," Jimmy waved and said, "Good bye beautiful China! Good bye! Poor Mr. Watinpton!" Friends when you read this story, you may have laughed to yourself and at the same time did you think about the Chinese proverb "contentment brings happiness," or did you say, "Wo ting bu dong" (I don't understand)?

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