Record of the Thatched Hall on Mount Lu – Po Chu-i

D54510F6-1EFD-40B5-B0C6-E9EFAD6D2EEB
Landscape of Mt. Lu by Xu Beihong (1895–1953)

Record of the Thatched Hall on Mount Lu
Po Chu-i

K’uang Lu, so strange, so superb it tops all the mountains in the empire! The northern peak is called Incense Burner Peak, and the temple there is called Temple of Bequeathed Love. Between the temple and the peak is an area of superlative scenery, the finest in all Mount Lu.

In autumn of the eleventh year of the Yuan-ho era (816) I, Po Lo-t’ien of T’ai-yuan saw it and fell in love with it. Like a traveler on a distant journey who passes by his old home, I felt so drawn to it I couldn’t tear myself away. So, on a site facing the peak and flanking the temple I set about building a grass-thatched hut.

By spring of the following year the thatched hall was finished. Three spans, a pair of pillars, two rooms, four windows—the dimensions and expenditures were all designed to fit my taste and means. I put a door on the north side to let in cool breezes  to fend off oppressive heat and made the southern rafters high to admit sunlight in case there should be times of severe cold. The beams were trimmed but left unpainted; the walls plastered but not given a final coat of white.

I’ve used slabs of stone for paving and stairs, sheets of paper to cover the windows; and the bamboo blinds and hemp curtains are of a similar makeshift nature. Inside the hall are four wooden couches, two plain screens, one lacquered ch’in, and some Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist books, two or three of each kind.

And now that I have come to be master of the house, I gaze up at the mountains, bend down to listen to the spring, look around at the trees and bamboos, the clouds and rocks, busy with them every minute from sun-up to evening. Let one of them beckon, and I follow it in spirit, happy with my surroundings, at peace within.

One night here and my body is at rest, two nights and my mind is content, and after three nights I’m in a state of utter calm and forgetfulness. I don’t know why it’s like this, but it is.

If I asked myself the reason, I might answer like this… In front of my house is an area of level ground measuring ten chang square. In the middle is a flat terrace covering half the level ground.

South of the terrace is a square pond twice the size of the terrace. The pond is surrounded by various types of indigenous bamboo and wildflowers, and in the pond are white lotuses and silvery fish.

Continuing south, one comes to a rocky stream, its bank lined with old pines and cedars, some so big that ten men could barely reach around them, some I don’t know how many hundred feet in height. Their upper limbs brush the clouds, their lower branches touch the water; they stick up like flags, spread like umbrellas, rush by like dragons or serpents.

Under the pines are many clumps of bushes or thickets of vines and creepers, their leaves and tendrils so interwoven that they shut out the sun and moon, and no light reaches the ground. Even during the hottest days of summer the breeze here is like autumn. I have laid a path of white stones so that one can go in and out of the area.

Five paces north of my hall the cliff rises up in layers, heaped in stones and full of pits and hollows, bulges and projections. A jumble of trees and plants blanket it, a mass of dense green shade with here and there festoons of red fruit. I don’t know what they’re called, but they stay the same color all year round.

There is also a bubbling spring and some tea plants. If you used the water from the spring to brew tea, and people with a taste for such things happened along, they could amuse themselves for a whole day.

East of the hall is a waterfall, the water tumbling down from a height of three feet, splashing by the corner of the stairs, then running off in a stone channel. In twilight and at dawn it’s the color of white silk, and at night it makes a sound like jade pendants or a lute or harp.

The west side of the hall leans against the base of the northern cliff where it juts out to the west, and there I’ve rigged a trough of split bamboo to lead water from the spring in the cliff, carry it across to my hall, and divide the flow into little channels so that it falls from the eaves and wets the paving, a steady stream of strung pearls, a gentle mist like rain or dew, dripping down and soaking things or blowing far off in the wind.

On four sides these are the sights that meet my eyes and ears, that my shoes and walking stick take me to: in spring the blossoms of Brocade Valley, in summer the clouds of Stone Gate Ravine, in autumn the moon over Tiger Creek, in winter the snows on Incense Burner Peak.

Now sharply seen, now hidden, in clear or cloudy weather; concealed, revealed, in twilight or at dawn; undergoing a thousand changes, assuming ten thousand forms—I could never finish describing them or capturing them all in words. Therefore I say the scenery here is the finest in all of Mt Lu.

Ah, even an ordinary person, if he builds himself a house, fits it with bed and mat, and lives there a while, can’t help putting on an air of boastfulness and pride. And now here I am, master of a place like this, with all these objects offering me understanding, each after its own kind—how could I be anything but happy with my surroundings and at peace within, my body at rest, my mind content!

Long ago Hui-yung, Hui-yuan, Tsung Ping, Lei Tz’u-tsing, eighteen men in all, came to this mountain, grew old and died here without ever going home. Though they lived a thousand years ago, I can understand what was in their hearts, because I’m here too.

What’s more, when I think back, I see that from youth to old age, wherever I’ve lived, whether in a humble house or a vermillion-gated mansion, even if I stayed no more than a day or two I immediately began dumping basketfuls of earth to build a terrace, gathering fist-sized stones for a miniature mountain, and damming up a few dippers of water to make a pond, so great is this weakness of mine, this fondness for landscapes!

Then one morning I met with trouble and demotion, and I came here to lend a hand in the administration of Chiang-chou. The magistrate of the district treated me with kindness and generosity, and Mount Lu was waiting for me with these superb sights and wonders!

Heaven arranged the time for me, earth provided the place, and so in the end I’ve gotten what I like most. What more could I ask for?

But still I’m saddled with my post as a supernumerary official, and with other entanglements I can’t get free of just now, so I come and go, not yet able to sit down and rest. Some day, though, when I’ve married off my younger siblings and served out my term as marshal, when I can stay or go as I choose, then you may be certain I’ll take my wife and family in my left hand, gather up my ch’in and books in my right, and live out the remainder of my days here, fulfilling the wishes of a lifetime. You clear spring, you white rocks, listen to what I say!

Source: https://www.dailyzen.com/journal/record-of-the-thatched-hall-on-mount-lu

—————

Nguyên văn chữ Hán

廬山草堂記

匡廬奇秀,甲天下山,山北峰曰香爐峰,北寺曰遺愛寺,介峰寺間,其境勝絕,又甲廬山。元和十一年秋,太原人白樂天見而愛之,若遠行客過故鄉,戀戀不能去,因面峰腋寺,作為草堂。

  明年春,草堂成,三間兩柱,二室四牖,廣袤豐殺,一稱心力。洞北戶,來陰風,防徂暑也;敞南甍,納陽日,虞祁寒也。木斬而已,不加丹,墻圬而已,不加白,墄階用石,羃窗用紙,竹簾、紵幃,率稱是焉。堂中設木榻四,素屏二,漆琴一張,儒、道、佛書各三兩卷。

  樂天既來為主,仰觀山,俯聽泉,傍睨竹樹雲石,自辰及酉,應接不暇。俄而物誘氣隨,外適內和,一宿體寧,再宿心恬,三宿後頹然嗒然,不知其然而然。

  自問其故,答曰:「是居也,前有平地,輪廣十丈,中有平臺半平地,臺南有方池倍平臺,環池多山竹野卉,池中生白蓮白魚。又南抵石澗,夾澗有古松老杉,大僅十人圍,高不知幾百尺,修柯戛雲,低枝拂潭,如幢豎,如蓋張,如龍蛇走。松下多灌叢,蘿蔦葉蔓,駢織暢澡,日月光不到地,盛夏風氣如八九月時,下鋪白石,為出入道。堂北五步,據層崖積石,嵌空垤塊,雜木異草,蓋覆其上,綠陰蒙蒙,朱實離離,不識其名,四時一色。又有飛泉,植茗就以烹燀,好事者見,可以永日。堂東有瀑布,水懸三尺,瀉階隅,落石渠,昏曉如練色,夜中如環珮琴築聲。堂西倚北崖右趾,以剖竹架空,引崖上泉,脈分線懸,自檐注砌,累累如貫珠,霏微如雨露,滴瀝飄灑,隨風遠去。其四傍耳目杖屨可及者,春有錦繡谷花,夏有石門澗雲,秋有虎溪月,冬有爐峰雪,陰晴顯晦,昏旦含吐,千變萬狀,不可殫紀。覼縷而言,故云甲廬山者。噫!凡人豐一屋,華一簣,而起居其間,尚不免有驕矜之態,今我為是物主,物至致知,各以類至,又安得不外適內和,體寧心恬哉?昔永遠、宗雷輩十八人同入此山,老死不反,去我千載,我知其心以是哉!

  矧予自思:從幼迨老,若白屋,若朱門,凡所止,雖一日二日,輒覆簣土為臺,聚拳石為山,環斗水為池,其喜山水病癖如此,一旦蹇剝,來佐江郡,郡守以優容撫我,廬山以靈勝待我,是天與我時,地與我所,卒獲所好,又何以求焉?尚以冗員所羈,餘累未盡,或往或來,未遑寧處。待予異日弟妹婚嫁畢,司馬歲秩滿,出處行止,得以自遂,則必左手引妻子,右手抱琴書,終老於斯,以成就我平生之志。清泉白石,實聞此言。」

  時三月二十七日,始居新堂,四月九日,與河南元集虛、范陽張允中、南陽張深之、東西二林寺長老湊公、朗、滿、晦、堅等凡二十有二人,具齋施茶果以落之,因為《草堂記》。

Source: https://zh.wikisource.org/zh-hant/廬山草堂記

—————
Lư Sơn Thảo Đường Ký
Bạch Cư Dị
Nguyễn Thị Bích Hải dịch

Phong cảnh Lư Sơn cực kỳ mỹ lệ, thực là ngọn núi đẹp nhất gầm trời. Đỉnh phía bắc núi này gọi là Hương Lư/Hương Lô; ngôi chùa phía bắc đỉnh Hương Lư gọi là chùa Di Ái (gởi lại niềm yêu); khoảng giữa chùa Di Ái và đỉnh Hương Lư lại là nơi đẹp nhất Lư Sơn.

Mùa thu năm thứ 11 niên hiệu Nguyên Hoà (861), Bạch Lạc Thiên người Thái Nguyên vừa thấy đã sinh lòng yêu mến, như du tử phương xa gặp lại cố hương, lưu luyến chẳng nớ rời; thế là, trước đỉnh hương lư, gần chùa Di Ái dựng một ngôi nhà cỏ/ (hoặc dựng một nóc thảo đường).

Mùa xuân năm sau, nhà cỏ dựng xong. Ngôi nhà ba gian với hai cột cái, hai phòng bốn cửa; lòng nhà vừa vặn, xứng với ý cũng hợp với khả năng/ (vừa với túi tiền). Mở cánh cửa phía bắc đón luồng gió mát lành, lại tránh được ánh nắng chói chang; hiên trước hơi cao để ánh mặt trời rọi sáng, tránh được cái lạnh.

Gỗ dựng nhà chỉ đẽo bằng rìu, không sơn, tường trát bùn là được, không cần phải quét vôi. Thềm xếp bằng đá, cửa sổ dán giấy, trúc làm mành, vải gai làm rèm, tất cả đều tương xứng với vẻ giản dị chất phác của ngôi nhà cỏ. Trong nhà đặt bốn cái chõng, hai tấm bình phong trắng; lại thêm một chiếc đàn cầm, sách Nho, Phật, Lão mỗi thứ một vài quyển.

Lạc Thiên ta đã đến làm chủ ngôi nhà cỏ này, ngẩng nhìn màu núi, cúi nghe tiếng suối, tùy ý đưa mắt ngắm cây đá gần bên. Từ sáng đến chiều cảnh đẹp thật nhiều biến hoá, nhìn ngắm không xuể. Thưởng lãm hồi lâu, bị cảnh vật thanh u quyến rũ, tâm tình trở nên điềm đạm; môi trường thích nghi, tâm hồn thanh thản. Ở một đêm thân thể lành mạnh, ở hai đêm cảm thấy trong lòng thoải mái, ở ba đêm về sau tinh thần sảng khoái, quên cả phân biệt mình với cảnh, không rõ vì đâu mà đạt được cảnh giới này.

Nguồn: Những mái lều ẩn cư trong văn chương Đông Á, Phan Thị Thu Hiền (chủ biên), Nguyễn Nam Trân, Nguyễn Thị Bích Hải, Đoàn Lê Giang, Nguyễn Thị Hiền, Vũ Thị Thanh Tâm

—————

Landscape of Mt. Lu by Xu Beihong (1895–1953)

Phong cảnh Lư Sơn của Từ Bi Hồng (1895-1953)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s