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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

採薇者
He Thorn Fern Gatherers

【聖者篇之一】

Chapter on the Sage I

■   孫華穗     文     By Sun Huasui

們都聽過〈採薇〉這首歌吧?

登彼西山兮,采其薇矣!
以暴易暴兮,不知其非矣兮!
神農、虞夏忽焉沒兮,我安適歸矣!
于嗟徂兮,命之衰矣!

這是伯夷、叔齊臨餓死前唱的歌。

伯夷原是孤竹君的長子,理當嗣位,但因為他的父親想立幼弟叔齊為繼承人,因此父王一死,他就避開了叔齊的相讓,逃到北海濱;叔齊也丟了王位追隨他去,結果國人只好立中子為王。這兄弟倆因為帝紂的無道,不願去京城做官,寧可在窮困落後的北海邊闢地為田,耕種過日子。當時附近的居民因為天然的生存條件太差,生活不易,強悍的就爭奪,懦弱的就偷竊,地方十分不平靖。自從這兄弟倆來了之後,免不了有人上門找麻煩;但他們總泱泱大度不予計較;不但如此,還你佔我一分田,我讓你兩分地,你偷我一袋米,我送你兩袋穀。反正我們有的是力氣,不怕餓死的!就這樣,不但不佔人便宜,更不報復,鄰居都受到感化;連聽說了他的故事的,頑鈍的貪心漢變清廉了,懦弱的膽怯者也有了氣節和志向。漸漸地他們年紀也大了,聽說西方的領導者姬昌很敬老尊賢,頗有神農、堯、舜的淳美古風,便率眾前去歸附。等到姬昌去世,嗣王姬發準備興兵伐紂,兩人老淚縱橫地挽住他的馬勸諫:「他再怎麼壞,我們總是他的臣子,怎麼可以攻打他呢?再說用武力去平暴力,豈不是以暴止暴?這是大錯特錯,不是古人之道啊!」武王誠懇但堅定地表示:「老先生!請不要這麼迂腐!小子我並非要弒君,而是奉天承命,為民除暴!暴君一日不除,百姓一日不得安居啊!」

等到武王平定天下,建立了周朝,兩人謝絕了高官厚祿,躲到首陽山去,靠採野生的薇草過活。有人用激將法逼他們:「你們說吃周朝的米糧是可恥的,可是周天子既擁有天下,首陽山也是他的啊!」伯夷一聽,放下鐮刀。唉!天地之大,竟無容身之地啊!於是就悲歌而餓死了!

H ave you all heard this song, “Gathering the Thorn Ferns”?

We climb West Mountain to gather the thorn ferns.
Violence is exchanged with violence,
but the injustice is not recognized.
Shen Nong, Yu, and Xia suddenly disappeared; where am I to go?
Wandering to and fro, my life is being exhausted!

This is the song that Bo Yi and Shu Qi sang before they starved to death.

Bo Yi was Lord Gu Zhu’s eldest son and was supposed to be the heir to the throne. However, his father wanted the youngest son, Shu Qi, to be his heir. Therefore, when Lord Gu Zhu died, Bo Yi fled to the North Sea so that Shu Qi would not have to yield the throne to him. Shu Qi, however, also renounced the throne and followed Bo Yi to the North Sea. As a result, the people could only give the throne to the middle son. Since Emperor Zhou of the Shang dynasty was cruel, the two brothers preferred to stay in the poor and backward North Sea area farming and tilling the land, rather than be officials in the imperial capital. At that time, since the natural living conditions were very bad in the North Sea area, it was difficult for people to make a living there. The strong lived by robbing, and the weak survived by stealing; there was no peace in the area. After the two brothers arrived, it was inevitable that people would go to give them trouble. But they were always generous and never seemed to mind. Not only that, their attitude was: “If you seize one share of our field, we will yield two shares of the field; if you steal one sack of rice from us, we’ll let you have two sacks of rice. In any case, since we still have the strength to work, we won’t starve.” They did not take advantage of other people, and they did not seek revenge either. All the neighbors were influenced by their example. Upon hearing their story, those who were dull and greedy became honest, and those who were weak and timid came to have courage, integrity, and resolve. In time, the brothers became advanced in years. Hearing that the leader Ji Chang [posthumously known as King Wen] in the west respected the elderly and honored the worthy and that he had the simple and honest style of the ancient emperors Shen Nong, Yao, and Shun, they led a group of followers and moved to Ji Chang’s state to live under his leadership. After Ji Chang died, his heir, Ji Fa, mobilized the troops and prepared to wage a punitive war against Emperor Zhou of Shang. The two elderly brothers, with tears streaming down their faces, held onto the reins of his horse and tried to remonstrate with Ji Fa, saying, “No matter how bad the Emperor is, we are still his courtiers. How can we attack him? Besides, by using military force to subdue atrocity, are you not trying to stop violence with violence? This is a great mistake! It is not the way of the ancient sages!” King Wu [Ji Fa’s posthumous title] said sincerely but firmly, “Old gentlemen! Please don’t be so inept! I am not killing our sovereign. I am simply acting in accord with heaven’s decree by removing the tyrant for the sake of the people. If the tyrant is not removed, the people cannot live in peace!”

After King Wu had pacified the kingdom and established the Zhou dynasty, the two brothers turned down the imperial offer of well-paid high official positions and retired to Shouyang Mountain. They gathered and lived on thorn ferns [osmunda regalis] that grew in the wild. Some people tried to urge them, “You said that eating the grain of the Zhou dynasty is shameful, but since the Emperor of Zhou owns the entire kingdom, Shouyang Mountain is also his!” Upon hearing that, Bo Yi put down his sickle and sighed, “The great earth under the heaven is vast, but there is no place for me!” So he sang his melancholy song and starved himself to death.

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