lørdag, marts 29, 2008

A crude attempt at the translation of Li Po's poem

[Currently reading H.S. Prasad's Essays on Time in Buddhism]
[Currently listening to
The Bee Gees' Immortality (featuring Celine Dion)]

天地者,万物之逆旅。
光阴者,百代之过客。

——李白

"Life seeks sojourn within the celestial boundaries of the universe; generations find transient existence within the eternity of time." - Li Po

I've lost touch with Chinese for a considerably long time, and I constantly fear that one day I might forget the language totally. Anyway, I suddenly thought of these two lines from Li Po's poem when reading philosophical essays about the notion of time in Buddhism and classical Indian thought, and on a whim I instinctively wrote down how I personally thought it should be expressed in English. There always seems to be an inevitable loss of beauty in the translation of classical Chinese poems into other languages, but I hope this is a reasonably satisfactory product.

I shall resume my tiring activity of making futile and desperate attempts to fully appreciate the mind-boggling dissertations (which are packed with so much profundity and which are sometimes also written in very inaccessible language) on the concept of time in Buddhist philosophy.

Or maybe I should just go to sleep instead. My feeble little brain has utterly exhausted itself.

7 kommentarer:

wei shi sagde ...

You jia you too, miao miao!!
Meanwhile, I am counting down to the day that I get to go home again! :)

Jingo sagde ...

I'll hopefully be learning Chinese in the summer, so maybe I'll be able to read your Chinese posts in time.

And yes, I'm back!

wei shi sagde ...

Take care, miao miao!
Work and stress will be over really soon. (Your hols are coming right?)
And I'll be back! (Okay, not SO soon) but yeah, we'll all have fun then. :)

Miao sagde ...

Jingo: Good to see you back again! :) Chinese should be easy for you, since you are a Chinese!

Wei Shi: Yeah my holidays are coming soon. :D I'm looking forward to it already, even though I still have 2 upcoming German tests, one philosophy presentation and one 5000-word essay to finish (I haven't even started writing it!). I'm so stressed that I even dreamt of my professors twice. :/

Ben sagde ...

Hey, how have you been? Remember me? It's been a long time since we last talked.

It's a pleasant surprise to see how much you've improved in English. =) I still remember that in the past I used to advise you to brush up on English by talking more to Sha, and I also told Sha to brush up on her Chinese by talking more to you... lol. Your English is fabulous now, and your Chinese is still as powerful as ever.

Nice to know that you are fine. Take care.

Maya sagde ...

Here's my two cents worth...

There is no time...it's an illusion (even though I seem to be greatly affected by my perceptions of it) and everything is constantly changing within the illusory phase of present time. The past and the future are also illusions and the only thing that is real is NOW...even though, like Li Po points out, everything is changing so much that there's almost no point in trying to grasp it at all. Even though we all do...

Anonym sagde ...

'Feeble little brain'? You give yourself too little credit.

One very big problem about you is that you don't know how smart you are.