Discovering the Charms of Chinese Poetry (Part 5): --- The Proper Life for a Human

Wang Yifeng

PureInsight | September 16, 2002

"I slumbered this spring morning and missed the dawn,
From everywhere I heard the cry of birds.
Last night the sound of wind and rain came,
Who knows how many blossoms fell?"

"Spring Dawn" by Meng Haoran

It was a bright and beautiful spring morning. I heard mother's voice before I could open my eyes: 'You lazy little worm, get up! You slumbered this spring morning, and missed the dawn,' I opened my eyes. The radiant sunlight shone through the wide-open window and lit up the whole house. The oriole was singing in the tall cypress tree just outside the window. Mother picked me up, carried me over and we stood at the window. The view was a limitless expanse of light yellow rape flowers and undulating mounds of purplish-red broad bean flowers. There were bees buzzing busily around, sucking up the pollen with all their might.

I was five years old then and will forever remember that morning. I asked mother what it was she had said and she explained that it was from a poem. I was surprised. The word 'poem' entered my heart like a musical note. 'Beautiful sound!' As I became literate, I read more Tang Dynasty poems throughout my childhood and youth.

Those days were as beautiful as dreams. Each day was marked not by a number on the calendar, but by the changing shades of seasonal crops on the roadside outside the windows, or by the different colors of leaves of the Chinese parasol tree in the courtyard. I remember each year in early spring the Chinese parasol tree would sprout tiny green leaves. In just a few days the whole tree was green again. Looking up, I saw a green tree against the great blue sky. The shade of the parasol tree was thin and sunlight flickered between the leaves overhead, making them look like jasper. The brilliant green was heart-achingly beautiful! Bees, swallows and katydids jumped, cracking in and out of the house.

Sometimes I liked to watch the sun rise over the edge of the world. The sleepy blossoms dozed in the breeze. Grass and rice plants were all strung with dewdrops. When the very first rays of sunlight appeared, hundreds, thousands, millions of tiny, tiny sparks of color blazed on the grass blades and rice plants. The gorgeous radiance was beyond description. But the riotous profusion that dazzled the eyes swiftly disappeared with the warming sun. Part of the reason why I don't care for jewelry is that no man-made artwork can compare to the masterpieces of nature. We lived in humble circumstances, yet the surrounding natural environment enriched our lives. Everyday we breathed nature and lived in nature.

In the summer's midday the sun was throbbing with bursting light and blazed like fire. We cooled ourselves with cattail leaf fans when the summer cicadas were giving their short, booming cry. Suddenly thick, dark streaks appeared in the air above the farmland. Their edges rolled and swelled in big puffs. A smell of thunderstorm came on streams of coolness through the wind. All the children in the courtyard scampered to the high mounds in the farmland to enjoy the gusts of cool air. "Oh! What cool wind! And how free!" everyone cried out with joy. We stood hand-in-hand, afraid that the wind might carry us off. We were both excited and wary at the same time. We stared helplessly at the accumulating clouds. The thunder was approaching. Suddenly a fir-white streak zigzagged. "Crack!" The deafening thunder banged right in front of our eyes. We fled back to the courtyard like a flock of birds. The torrential rain came pouring down like millions of marching feet. The white dove from the distant fields and the ducks from the ponds flew into the storm, as if dancing with delight. In a while the rain stopped and sun shone again. A brilliant rainbow appeared in the azure blue sky. The distant hills appeared washed and were scrupulously clean and clear-edged. The air was cool and the earth was damp and grateful. The chimney in each house began to breathe out a thin streak of haze as the women prepared for dinner. Far away, village folk and woodcutters in distant hills strolled slowly down the road. In the evening we all sat on the bales in the fields for cool air. The air was cool and perfumed from the rice plants and damp earth. Swarms of little fireflies flittered around us. The large, bright stars hung down from the sky. We counted them one by one and slowly learned to recognize which one was the Big Dipper, which was Altair, and which Sirius.

I gradually grew up and began to be very curious about the mysteries of heaven. It was during the Cultural Revolution period when atheism prevailed in China. In contrast, our village was a secluded paradise, completely cut off from the outside world. Growing up with nature and reading the few books of ancient poetry that were left, I sensed the intelligence of all living things that were profoundly mysterious. Later, I read Xi You Ji. [Xi You Ji, or Pilgrimage to the West, is a Classical Chinese novel where a Chinese monk traveled to India for Buddhist scriptures with the help of three disciples, including a monkey, a pig and a horse.] My thoughts unfolded and broke through the boundaries of social reality. My heart was liberated. I longed for the day when a deity would accept me as a disciple. That was in China in 1974.

After I grew up and started a new life in the city, I felt completely lost. I was at my wit's end in the hustle and bustle of the city. I could no longer smell the fragrance of the earth. Day by day my life was withering away. Everything in the city was so suffocating. I developed insomnia living in a dormitory room that was like a pigeonhole. To comfort my hungry soul, countless times I made myself recall the pastoral scene described by Meng Haoran: "I slumbered this spring morning and missed the dawn, from everywhere I heard the cry of birds…" Remembering the days of brilliant sunshine in nature quenched my thirsty soul. A life in harmony with nature, I thought, is the true life for human beings.

Later, while intermingling in society, my heart was veiled by layer after layer of worldly aspirations. I could no longer sense the redness of the flowers, the greenness of the leaves, the blueness of the sky, being immersed in this mortal life. I had become completely immersed in this mortal life. I was at a loss and alone. Then one day I came upon Falun Dafa and became a Dafa disciple. In retrospect, Dafa removed all layers of dust and filth from my body and soul! I was reborn and had an entirely new outlook on life! Nature and life took on new meanings of distinctness and beauty for me. It is a world of murmuring brooks, buzzing bees, chirping and dancing birds, and myriads of beautiful blossoms. It is a world in which to roam about in the vast expanse of the truth of Buddha's law, which has opened for me layer after layer of the mysteries of the cosmos. The wonders of the Fa are infinite and beyond description: Every day is a good day. Every day I harvest new understandings of the Fa. I have found my way home. It is as if I have just awakened from a dream and am basking in the infinite compassion of Lord Buddha. Life in Dafa cultivation is simple and peaceful with a clear goal. It is a joyful and steady journey on the way back to the true origin. In addition, I have realized the higher realm that humans must embrace in their lives.

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