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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

陶淵明詩講錄(續)
Lectures on Tao Yuanming's Poems (continued) s

葉嘉瑩教授 講 By Professor Yeh Chia-ying
郇若慧‧比丘尼恆音 英譯 English translation by Josey Shun and Bhikshuni Heng Yin

第 二 講

上一次我們把陶淵明所處的歷史背景簡單地說了一下,今天我們接著來看他的生平思想與生活經歷。我上次曾經說,歷史上有好幾種關於陶淵明生平事跡的傳記。在這些傳記裡邊,對陶淵明的名字也有很多不同的說法。有人說他的名字叫「潛」,號叫做「淵明」。有人說他名字叫「淵明」,號叫「元亮」。

一般比較令人信服的是說他本來叫「淵明」,號「元亮」,這是根據他自己所寫的文章考證後得出來的結論。關於「陶潛」的名字,那是東晉滅亡了,劉宋以後,他才改名叫「潛」的。

至于另外還有一種說法,說他也叫「深明」,那是為要避唐代的第一個皇帝,高宗李淵的諱的緣故。中國有一個習慣,皇帝的名字是不允許別人隨便叫,隨便寫的,這叫避諱。所以唐代人,當他們寫到陶淵明的名字的時候,因為要避李淵的名諱,所以他們就改寫「淵明」成「深明」。因為「淵」也是「深」的意思。還有的就變成「泉明」。總之,「深明」跟「泉明」都不是陶淵明本來的名字。

我上次還曾經講了陶淵明的時代中的幾件大事。說他是在東晉哀帝興寧三年出生的。他八歲時父親去逝了。他十八歲的時候,發生東晉跟北方外族前秦的一次淝水大戰。差不多在他二十一歲的時候,當時一位很有名的高僧慧遠,來到江西的廬山。晉武帝太元十五年時,高僧慧遠在東林寺成立了一個《白蓮社》。當時不但寺院裡的僧人參加了這個《白蓮社》,還有很多文士、詩人也都參加了。

我還提到有一本《蓮社高賢傳》的書,是記戴當時參加白蓮社的一些很有名的賢人。那裡面也有陶淵明的名字;不但是陶淵明,謝靈運等著名詩人也在裡面。當時還有一個很有名的人,大家應該知道,就是著名的大書法家王羲之;王羲之有一個兒子叫王凝之;王凝之這個時候在江州做刺史。

我上次說過,陶淵明的故鄉是在江州潯陽的柴桑。當時江州的地方長官就是王凝之。王凝之也是信佛的,當時他們曾經集合中外的僧人,聯合起來有八十多人一起翻譯佛經。陶淵明也參加他們的聚會。他和高僧慧遠是很要好的朋友,但陶淵明并沒有真正地皈依佛教,他只是與這些高僧、高賢們一起談話,討論些佛理,玄理中的問題。其實,按照中國佛教歷史發展來說,東晉實在是從印度傳過來的佛學與中國本體的玄學的一個交融的時代。

陶淵明雖然沒有正式皈依信奉佛教,但在他的詩裡,卻反映出深厚的佛教的空觀思想。上一次我舉「人生似幻化,終當歸空無」兩句,現在我還想再補充他另外的一組詩來說明這一點。他寫過一組叫作《形影神》的詩,共三首。

我上次說過陶淵明是中國詩人裡邊最有影響性的詩人。一般詩人寫詩,常常都是見景生情,就是說看到什麼景物,引起他什麼感情,就寫下一些詩。像李後主看到「春花秋月何時了」,就想到「往事知多少」了,其實李後主也是信佛的。可見一般人所寫的詩,大都是因景生情:悲歡離合啊、傷春怨別啊,可是陶淵明的很多詩都不是像一般人所表達的那種見景生情的偶然的感情。

陶淵明是一個最具有思想性的詩人。他這《形影神》三首詩裡面,反映出他對人生很多重要問題的思考。因為人生是短暫的,那麼在這短暫的、有限的人生中,你生活的目的,你存在的價值和意義,在哪裡呢?有的人是只具有「形體」上的意義的,行屍走肉酒囊飯袋而已。他們生存的目的只追求身體肉體上的享受。

待續

LECTURE TWO

Last time, we briefly talked about Tao Yuanming's background in Chinese history. Now we continue to look into his philosophy and life experience. As I mentioned last time, there are many legends about Tao Yuanming; and there are a few different names for him. Some say his first name was Qian and his other name Yuanming. Others say his first name was Yuanming and his other name was Yuanliang.

It is more generally accepted that originally his first name was Yuanming and his other name was Yuanliang. This conclusion is based on his own article and some research which confirms it. He changed his name to "Taoqian" after the Liu Song Dynasty.

It is said that he also had the name Shengming, for people in the Tang Dynasty had to avoid using the characters of the first emperor's name, Liyuan. There was an old Chinese custom which made it taboo for people to casually say or write the emperor's name. Therefore, when people in the Tang Dynasty wrote Tao Yuanming's name, they changed Yuanming to Shengming. 'Yuan' (deep waters) basically means the same thing as 'Sheng' (deep). Some people changed his name to another name, Quanming. At any rate, neither Shengming nor Quanming were his original name.

I have mentioned some important events that happened during Tao Yuanming's lifetime. He was born in the third year of Emperor An's Xingning reign period in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. When he was eight, his father died. When he was eighteen, the Eastern Jin dynasty and the Qian Qin, a kingdom built by foreigners from the north, had a great battle at Feishui. When he was about twenty-one, a famous monk, Great Master Hui Yuan, came to dwell at Lu Mountain in Jiangxi Province. In the fifteenth year of Emperor Jinwu's Taiyuan reign period, Great Master Hui Yuan set up the White Lotus (Buddhist-Recitation) Society at Donglin Monastery. At that time, not only monks at that temple, but many scholars and poets joined the Society.

I also mentioned a book, Stories of Worthies in the Lotus Society, which lists some of the eminent members of the Society. The book includes Tao Yuanming, as well as other famous poets such as Xie Lingyun. There was also another very famous man, whom everyone should know, the renowned calligrapher, Wang Xizhu. Wang Xizhi's son, Wang Ningzhi, was the governor of Jiangzhou.

Last time, I said that Tao Yuanming's hometown was Caisang, in Xunyang, Jiangzhou Province. At that time, the governor of Jiangzhou was Wang Ningzhi, who was a Buddhist. Under him, more than eighty people, including foreign and domestic monks, were brought together to translate the Buddhist Sutras. Tao Yuanming joined their gatherings and was a good friend of Great Master Hui Yuan, but he did not formally take refuge in Buddhism. He merely conversed with those high monks and literati and discussed points of Buddhist doctrine and metaphysics with them. In fact, in the historical development of Chinese Buddhism, the Eastern Jin Dynasty was the time when Buddhism, a religion from India, and Chinese traditional metaphysical studies, blended together.

Although Tao Yuanming did not formally become a Buddhist, he expressed the profound Buddhist doctrine of emptiness in his poems. Last time, I quoted two lines of his: "Life is like an illusion; all returns to emptiness." Now I want to cite another collection of poems, "Shape, Shadow, and Spirit," which contains three poems.

I mentioned last time that Tao Yuanming is the most influential of Chinese poets. Most poets, being inspired by sights, write down their feelings when they see certain things. For example, when Lord Li of the Kingdom of Southern Tang read the words, "When will the spring flowers and autumn moon come to an end?" he thought, "How much do we know about the events of the past?" In fact, Lord Li was a Buddhist as well. From this we can see that most poems express feelings triggered by what the poets see and experience. They convey the joys of reunion and the sorrows of separation, the inspirations of spring and the gloom of autumn, and so on. But Tao Yuanming's poems, for the most part, are not like ordinary poems that simply express the emotions of the moment.

Tao Yuanming was a most thoughtful poet. In "Shape, Shade and Spirit," he reflects on many critical issues of life. Life is so short; what is the purpose, value, and meaning of our brief existence? For some people, the meaning of life is limited to their physical existence. Such people are merely walking corpses; their bodies are nothing but bags for holding wine and rice. Their goal in life is to pursue sensual pleasures.

To be continued

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