A fine day with lovely breezes
The Lan Ting Prologue
It is the Ninth Year of Emperor Yong He, in the beginning of late spring. We, all the literati old and young, are gathering at Lan Ting (Orchid Pavilion) on the northern slope of Kuai Ji Hill. Amidst the gorgeous mountains and hills, dense woods and slender bamboos, the sparkling winding stream is flowing by. Seated in the midst of this scenery, short of the company of good music, we regale every single toast and poem that put us in the mood of a free and subtle dialogue.
It is a fine day with lovely breezes. Behold the magnificent universe with abundance of myriad beings. Stretch your sights and relax your minds. It is the supreme bliss the eyes and ears can achieve. How enjoyable!
While experiencing the ups and downs in our lives, we may be wakened by thoughts while meditating in a small room. Or, we may let go of ourselves in open nature. Tranquility or activity -- there are plenty of choces before. I am contented with whatever happiness is brought forth, however short the moment is. I am satisfied, not knowing that I am aging nor where I am heading, I am tired.
Things change, only our feelings linger. What we used to be fond of will become the past instantaneously. We can't help but try to cheer ourselves by recollection. Life, long or short, always come to an end. An old saying has it that: "Life and death are the ultimate things."
What pain! Every time I read about the writings of people from the past, I always sense their feeling reflects my own. I can only lament but not know how to put it in words. Life and death may be an illusion. Yet it is ridiculous to equalize longevity with short-lived. Future generations will look upon us just like we do our past. So, I document the lives of contemporaries and their works. Time has changed, yet the desire to express the feeling is the same. Those in the future will understand what I mean when they read this article.
Wang Xi Zhi, 51, 353 AD
The Lan Ting Prologue, written by Wang Xi Zhi, has been acclaimed as an elegant piece of Chinese calligraphy art. Wang's style has a strong influence on calligraphy in China, Japan and Korea.