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Tao Yuanming: If You Cannot Be a Farmer, At Least Think Like One: Part 2

If You Cannot Be a Farmer, At Least Think Like One: Part 2

气 节 易 过
和 泽 难 久。
冀 缺 携 俪
沮 溺 结 耦。
相 彼 贤 达
犹 勤 垄 亩。
矧 伊 众 庶
曳 裾 拱 手!
民 生 在 勤
勤 则 不 匮。
宴 安 自 逸
岁 暮 奚 冀。
担 石 不 储
饥 寒 不 储。
顾 尔 俦 列
能 不 怀 愧?
孔 耽 道 德
樊 须 是 鄙。
董 乐 琴 书
田 园 不 履。
若 能 超 然
投 迹 高 轨。
敢 不 敛 衽
敬 赞 德 美。
Quan Nong

Qi jie yi guo
Ji ze nan jiu.
He que xie li
Ju ni jie ou.

Xiang bi xian da
You qin long mu.
Shen yi zhong shu
Ye ju gong shou!

Min sheng zai qin
Qin ze bu kui.
Yan an zi yi
Sui mu xi ji.

Dan shi bu chu
Ji han jiao zhi
Gu er chou lie
Neng bu huai kui?

Kong dan dao de
Fan xu shi bi.
Dong le qin shu
Tian yuan bu lu.

Ruo neng chao ran
Tou ji gao gui.
Gan bu lian ren
Jing zan de mei.


If You Cannot Be a Farmer, At Least Think Like One: Part 2

Ji Que farmed and worked side by side with his wife
Ju Ni made no verbal reply.
Each of them are enlightened and virtuous people
Who worked hard in their small plots along the raised levees.

Yet too many people
Wear the long sleeves of affluence, to make their proper salutations.
People’s livelihood relies upon constant hard work
With this work ethic, how can deficiencies arise?

If one lives in comfort and ease, content with oneself and leisure
By the end of the year, what will you have to eat?
With nothing stored up in your 50 kilogram stone containers
You will meet head on with extreme hunger when the weather turns cold.

When just content to watch your hard-working peers
How can you not feel shame?
Confucius indulged himself with the Way and Virtue
Fan Xu, his student, was late meeting Confucius.

Dong Zhongshu just listened to music and read his books
He never walked among the fields and gardens.
If one is able, and wants to be this aloof and detached
If you follow this model of traveling only in high orbits.
Be certain I will not dress myself up for these people’s respect
But I will honor and praise what is beautiful in a virtuous heart.



Ji Que: During the Jin Dynasty (265-420), he was sent home by the emperor to farm. Working side by side with his wife, he then returned to the capital for achievement and success.

Ju Ni: He was a man who lived in spiritual seclusion. When he was approached by a student of Confucius, Confucius told the student to ask Ju Ni, “What are you doing?” Ju Ni, who has working his field, made no reply. He just pantomimed his pulling the plow, and then continued to man the plow.

Fan Xu: He was late because he was helping some farmers work in the field. Kongzi (Confucius) criticized him.

Dong Zhongshu: With the implication that he ignored his fellow man.



The penultimate line in this poem refers to the story that Tao Yuanming quit his last governmental position because his co-workers begged him to dress up, as there was to be an upcoming visit from a high level official.  Tao refused to do so, and told his colleagues he would never respect a man just because of their position in society.  So Tao quit his job, and went home to live the rest of his life farming.  Thereafter he had to endure many years in seclusion and  chronic poverty.

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Tao Yuanming: If You Cannot Be a Farmer, At Least Think Like One: Part 2
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