Sat

19

Mar

2016

Pushing & Knocking

Working on one's composition over again and again in order to improve the wording is written as "推敲" in Chinese Character ("Suiko" in Japanese.)   "Suiko(推敲)” literally means "pushing and knocking" which came from the story of Jia Dao (賈島 779-843). 

 

During the Tang Dynasty(618-690, 705-907), there was a man named Jia Dao who used to be a monk and poet, went to the capital city (Luoyang) to take an imperial examination.

One of the significant subjects of this examination was a poem.  So Jia Dao was always thinking about poems. 

 

One day as he rode upon a donkey through the city streets, he had a new poem in his mind. A portion of the poem came in his mind was;


"A bird sits on the tree branch near a pond,
A monk knocks on the gate under the moonlight"

As soon as he got these sentences, he started to wonder if another word "push" might be better than "knock" in his poem.

Riding upon a donkey, he imagined a monk who did both pushing and knocking.   But it was hard for him to decide a word.  Soon he became lost in his poem and didn't see Mayor's procession coming toward him.  As a result of absorbing in making a poet, Jia Dao's donkey went straight inside a Mayor's procession.  Then he was caught by Mayor's guards immediately, but he was still thinking about wording of this poem whether pushing or knocking.  Jia Dao apologized and explained his poetic dilemma.

The mayor, Han Yu, a scholar and a well-known poet, happened to hear Jia Dao's poem and dilemma.   He got off his horse and advised,  "I think knock is better.  The sound of knock will match with the scenery under the moon."  Then Jia Dao was invited to join in Mayor's procession by Han Yu.  They say they enjoyed talking about their poems and love of poetry.

 

From this story, working on one's composition over again and again is written as "推敲(Suiko)" meaning "pushing and knocking."

 

The reason why I introduced this story was because I had hard time to decide a title of new Youtube channel.  Just like Jia Dao experienced a poetic dilemma to decide a word, I took much time to decide a title which can be shared with you later!

 

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