Erenlai - A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖
A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

 

The rich wisdom found in Chinese religious and spiritual traditions is not just a treasure of the past. Let us re-discover and illuminate what China has to offer to the global spiritual quest of the modern world.

從中國到世界的天涯海角都有古老的哲思,值得活在現代社會的我們重新去探索。這些寶藏是靈魂的食糧,也是生命最底層的渴望。在生而為人的這條路上,你找過到那張給心靈的藏寶圖嗎?

 

 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Some Thoughts about Pope Francis, Michel de Certeau and the Jesuit Intellectual Apostolate

In an interview given to the Jesuit cultural journals in August 2014 Pope Francis mentioned two thinkers he particularly likes: Henri de Lubac and Michel de Certeau. He has mentioned the latter several other times, particularly for his edition of the "Journal" of St Pierre Fabre, which inspired the Spanish edition he asked two Jesuits of his province to undertake.

The mention of Henri de Lubac might not be very surprising, as the author of 'Meditations on the Church" is certainly a Jesuit theologian universally respected and admired. The one he made of Michel de Certeau raises other questions. Famous among anthropologists and historians, Michel de Certeau may be a little less popular among Jesuits, and his style and thought have made him less consensual an author. But an exception to this rule should be made for... Latin America. Michel de Certeau taught on this continent many times, and several of his books were translated into Spanish at an early stage.

Michel de Certeau (1925 – 1986) wrote on history, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the social sciences. He started by studying Jesuit mystics of the 16th and 17th centuries (especially Jean-Joseph Surin, and went on exploring the formation of history as an academic discipline, mobilizing his professional experience as a trained archive historian. He also tried to interpret the mystical authors he had been studying in historical perspective. The experience of the "night of the senses" or of "ecstasy" cannot be repeated or understood in the same way as in the past, but we are still experiencing the "departures' and "coming back" of God through the filter provided by social sciences, by psychoanalysis and by the institutional changes affecting the Church and society. In other words, we are still "travelers" and "migrants', but we travel through new landscapes and uncharted territories. Michel de Certeau was very sensitive to the inventiveness deployed by ordinary people in their everyday life (a dominant theme of The Practice of Everyday Life, probably his most influential book), and was thus able to speak about spiritual experience in its diversity and contrasts.

One can guess and feel what Pope Francis appreciates in Michel de Certeau's thought and works: a deep knowledge of Ignatian spirituality associated with a desire not to repeat the past but rather to be creatively inspired by it; a special attention given to the resources and ways of life of ordinary people; a deep sense of the crisis affecting Church institutions; and a love for cultural diversity and artistic sensitivity.

So far, four books of Michel de Certeau have been published into Chinese. An academic program is presently under construction for more and (better) translations. Several present-day thinkers consider that the resource offered by Michel de Certeau are nowadays more useful for understanding cultural and social patterns than the ones provided by more well known authors like, say, Michel Foucault. Here is a Jesuit author whose thought can and probably will grow influential in China during the years to come.

Actually, the influence of Michel de Certeau could be detected early in the words of Pope Francis. In 2012, in an interview to an Italian newspaper, the then-cardinal Bergoglio was declaring: "We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of self-referential church. It's true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that's sick because it's self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former." The word "self-referential" often comes in the words spoken by Francis, and it refers to something that he perceives as a specific temptation within the Church. In my view, the risk-taking attitude is the only one that can connect into a meaningful dialogue 'culture' - or "cultures" – and faith(s).

"Culture" is not a luxury product, is not something like paintings or flowers that we would hang on the walls or put on the table after everything else is ready. "Culture" refers to the worldviews, languages, ways of translating emotions, identities and insights that are developed and perpetually transformed by individuals and communities. Cultures are one with the "languages" (oral, written, artistic, emotional) that shape communication among peoples, and also communication between peoples and the Church. The Word took flesh within a given culture, expressed Himself with the resources of this culture while He was also challenging it, and He asked us to continue the "translation work" that He started when He was "explaining" to us (literally: "making the exegesis" cf John 1,18) of the mystery of the Father. By doing so, by asking us to continue this "exegesis" of the divine mystery in various languages and contexts, Jesus encourages us to go from the "scattered diversity" of Babel to the "unitive diversity" of Pentecost. When we close on our own "clerical culture" we refuse to open up the walls of our house, we refuse to surrender ourselves to the fire, the wind and the diversity of tongues that constitute the Pentecostal gift. This is the perspective from which I propose to consider not only our "cultural apostolic works" but also our mission among cultures in its totality.

For a Jesuit, the intuition according to which we are evangelizers only if we are "evangelized' by the people with whom we meet remains a basic one. Reflecting on Church history teaches us that building up a position of "superiority' from which to preach without ourselves begin changed ultimately produces rotten fruits. I am often reminded for myself of the words of Jesus: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are." (Mt 23, 15) In a context where Jesus reproaches the Pharisees to impose on people burdens impossible to bear, it certainly requires from us to examine whether we make our teaching, our living and our understanding of human situations one and the same endeavor. It happens that zealous "converts" generate more negative than positive energies. Preaching the faith and fostering a process of human growth need to be two interrelated endeavors. 'Pulling on the shoots to help the rice to grow" ruins the harvest.

A more personal note: when I include in a textbook of Latin and Roman Religion, as I did recently in Beijing, excerpts and commentaries of Tertullianus, Augustine, Minucius Felix, etc..., showing how their intellectual and spiritual elaboration was closely linked to the developments happening in the Roman Empire I may contribute in my very modest way to an "understanding of the faith" which is not direct evangelization but attempts to nurture a rooting of Christianity into sound intellectual and spiritual insights. The same could be said of what we do in a variety of fields. While not hesitating to be counter-cultural, we also try to make the Christian worldview better understood by contemporary culture, while trying to make the Church emerge from what is presently a kind of cultural ghetto.

Going one step further, I have no problem either in the fact of devoting - as I do - a large part of my time to the study of Chinese religions - as we could also invest in paleontology of biology. The Jesuit charisma should remain to be at the frontiers of knowledge, with a sense of gratuitousness - the very gratuitousness through which God created us - for it is the way we "praise God" by marveling at the work that his Spirit accomplishes throughout the course of natural and human history - a praise that remains on our lips even when we are confronted to realities that seemingly challenge our faith and introduce us into an 'intellectual dark night."

Thanks to Francis and to Michel de Certeau for helping us to become more sensitive, in everything we undertake and we reflect upon, to the wonderful gratuitousness of a God who delights in dwelling among us.

Illustration by Bendu.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

An Interview with Liz Hingley

Liz Hingley is a British photographer who holds a first class BA Honours in Photography from Brighton University. Her work has been recognized with many international awards, including the Prix Virginia in 2012. She is currently living in Shanghai and working on her new project in the city. On an interview with her over Skype, we discuss her experiences in Shanghai. 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Giving Thanks for the Testimony of Cardinal Shan

Cardinal Paul Shan passed away in New Taipei City on August 22, 2012.

The emotion created in Taiwan by the death of Cardinal Paul Shan has been deep and far-reaching. Obviously, the voice of Cardinal Shan was heard and loved well beyond the frontiers of the Catholic community. The Cardinal is and will be missed by men and women of many faiths and ways of life. I see at least three reasons behind the respect and admiration that had been surrounding him all these years:

First of all, during the last part of his life Cardinal Shan had led his struggle against cancer in peace and openness, sharing about it in a way that was speaking to everyone: we are all being confronted to illness, suffering and our own mortality. Finding the words for describing such experience with both sincerity and modesty is not easy task. Cardinal Shan was not a man of exaggerated feelings, he never staged his struggle, but he did not hide its hardships either. The inner peace radiating from his words and behavior was genuine – and all who came in contact with him experienced such genuineness.

Second, Cardinal Shan was transformed by the experience of illness, and - even before this time - by the very fact of meeting and working with a large number of people very different in background and beliefs. The way he continuously shared about life and death with people of other religions was certainly the fruit of his openness: he was meeting people on what is essential, what is common to our human condition. Through his sharing he let two different experiences become one and the same: the experience of illness, and the experience of meeting people of other faiths – the two were part of the same transforming process. God was revealing himself to him both in his suffering body and in the people he was encountering when sharing about the coming of death. Being transformed is always a humbling experience, and I think it is his humility, fostered both by illness and by interreligious dialogue, that ultimately touched most the heart of the people of Taiwan.

Finally, there is a feature of Cardinal Shan’s life and behavior that has been an important t reason for his popularity: he was very clear and simple in everything he was communicating. Some people may even at times disagree with what he was thinking or planning, but the simplicity of the principles that were guiding him and the clarity he was giving to their expression were striking to everyone. Clarity is the characteristic of a very gifted communicator – and Cardinal Shan was very gifted at communication, not because he was using special techniques, just because he was very direct, because he was always aiming at what was essential to him.

The emotion created by his disappearance shows to us how much Taiwan expects his spiritual leaders to be men of simplicity, clarity and openness to others. Taiwan expects from religious leaders a testimony of life, not long discourses and divisive behaviors. Actually, the great Christian or Buddhist figures who have inspired Taiwan from the eighties onwards are now aging or have already disappeared. A new generation of religious leaders may slowly emerge, but it will have to rely on courage in action, simplicity in language, and veracity in behavior. The example of Cardinal Shan will continue to inspire all these who are in charge to lead and to advise others along their spiritual path.

 

Photo courtesy of  Weshare Education and Charity Fund

 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Celebrating 450 years of Xu Guangqi

Interview first published in Xuhui News (Vol.2, N.9, April 2012), by Guan Xin

What does it mean to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Xu Guangqi? What values should it lead us to promote?

Xu Guangqi was a man of extraordinary stature: a statesman thoroughly familiar with the Chinese philosophical and cultural tradition; a man of practical abilities fascinated by technical and scientific progress; an agriculturist who embarked on this field out of philanthropic concerns; a patriot endowed with military skills… but he was also someone who, in the person of Matteo Ricci and other Jesuit missionaries, discovered Otherness. He was able to challenge himself, to enter into a new understanding of existence, while remaining deeply faithful to the best of his culture and his personality. From the start, he realized a synthesis between different traditions and worldviews. So, when we commemorate his life, we are reminded that a healthy sense of identity goes with a strong capacity to understand and empathize with the other, to put oneself into question, and to creatively invent news ways of thinking and acting.

What has been the contribution of Xu Guangqi in the field of religion?

He is traditionally called “one the three great pillars of the Chinese Catholic Church”, together with the scholars Yang Tingyun and Li Zizhao. These scholars embraced the new faith and were actively promoting the participation of the Western missionaries in fields such as the reform of the Imperial calendar. At the same time, they were deeply anchored into the Confucian tradition, which they wanted to reform and purify, and they found in Catholicism the completion of what they thought was the original moral and theistic Confucian original worldview. Though their relationship with Buddhism was an uneasy and complex one, one can also find elements of Buddhist philosophy in their formation. In that sense, their contribution is also interreligious: in their written works they were offering a new expression of the Chinese religious psyche. Suring the last decade, these works have been republished, and they are object of intense interest for scholars. The complete works of Xu Guangqi have just been published in Shanghai.

The friendship and cooperation between Xu Guangqi and Matteo Ricci was great and profound. We are now facing a “smaller” planet due to globalization and intense cross culture communication. Doe their ideal and the model they offer keep some significance for us today?

When Xu Guangqi and Ricci were alive, communication among civilizations was minimal. Now, we have sometimes “too much’ of it, in the sense that clichés, superficial communication and conflicts of interests are often perverting our exchanges. Still, Ricci and Xu Guangqi remind us that in-depth communication is always to be grounded into patience, friendship and humility. Patience: it takes time to truly enter into a language and a new system of thought and perception, as there are no shortcuts for being truly “conversant’ with the other; Friendship; empathy and curiosity are the virtues that makes communication among human beings valuable and creative; humility: being able to critically evaluate one’s culture and personality is indispensable for a grateful appreciation of what the cultures and people we encounter may offer to us. In this respect, one can almost say that Xu Guangqi and Matteo Ricci are still the two pillars on which to build a positive model of globalization!


Photo by Roberto Ribeiro. Xu Guangqi Park, Shanghai.
Bronze statue of Matteo Ricci and Paul Xu Guangxi.
Together, Ricci and Paul Xu Guangxi translated and published some essential works of western science.

 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

San Wang Ye: A god goes back home!

Last month,  a very special event happened in my street: my neighbor, the god San Wang Ye (三王爺), decided to travel back home for his birthday!

The god San Wang Ye is originally from Tainan, a city around 300km south of Taipei, and he had arrived in Taipei a long time ago, so long ago that I don't remember!

I had been wondering for a long time what the temple in my street was all about: this small, unassuming, but well taken care of temple, that you can hardly see by day, but is always shining and often holds events at night. Some lanterns are usually hanging, a vague reminder that a god lives there. Day after day, I had made up stories of mafia and gangsters, of witches and weird spirits, stories of everything that could happen in this mysterious temple.

But I was wrong. When I met the people who take care of 三王爺 (San Wang Ye), I could immediately see that this god is a good god as he protects people around in exchange of some attention, and doesn’t ask much, only to go back and see his family once a year. I was also told by the disciples that he likes to be talked to. I could see that he smokes cigarettes, not only incense; he also likes to drink milk tea, and dresses rather conservative. He has a good relationship to its neighbors, too: in front of his temple, a very old japanese house, dimly lit, is shelter to an old man who lives in peace with the God. When there is a ceremony, it is probably the only time a year he opens his house, in a mark of recognition.

The ceremony for departure of the god lasts 2 days. On Saturday everyone travels to Tainan, spends there the evening celebrating, eating, and they all go back on Sunday. 三王爺 (San Wang Ye) has about 10.000 followers: among them, around 400 made the trip to Tainan, this is already quite impressive. More people were to join in Tainan, where he is popular.

Having heard about the event the night before, and together with a friend, we decided to go and attend the departure ceremony. From 4.30am to 7.00am, the main followers prepare the Gods, and double check the organization. The gods are brought out; it seems like the main God has invited some fellows from his family to join. Dancers and fighters repeat their moves, the encense is burning, the drums start to play. Waking up at night, entering this somehow different world, is a strange feeling. At this time, people start to leave a nearby disco, adding to the feeling; they watch incredulously the world of Gods as alcohol seems to make all things look plausible to them. They seem to be satisfied and they resume their path in the wide night.

Then, suddenly, at dusk, the ceremony starts. The ceremony master is a strong robust lady who directs the participants. She sets a fire on the road, then waits for the long queue of dignitaries to come and bend before it, then jump above the fire, and turn back normal again. During the procession most people seem possessed, it is an impressive demonstration. The lady-ceremony master also beats herself with some kind of axe. The drums are playing heavily, there are firecrackers and smoke everywhere. After everyone has come, it is the God’s turn to cross the fire, and I could almost see him smile, delighted to leave soon for the South, and to have so many friends.

There is a market nearby, a typical old place that will probably be destroyed soon, God knows why. It has been deemed too old by the municipality, and this is only one step in the fight that opposes the day forces such as business and money, to the Gods of the night and the ancient culture of Taipei. Alas, I think I know who’s gonna win this one…

First published on Litanies.net.

Click here to see the complete set of photos.

All photos by B. Girardot

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Bedouin's Gift of the Eucharist

This video witnesses the consoling discovery of the desert after a period of grief. The beauty of the landscape the hospitality of the Bedouin guides and the inspired humanity of Michèle the pilgrim convey a new zest for life. The Bedouin's attitude to their christian hosts shows a greatness of deeds rather than one of words.

Friday, 01 April 2011

Is Asia Pacific? Interreligious Encounters, Peace-building and Theological Inventiveness in today’s Asia

Synopsis

There is no need to underline the dizzying diversity of Asia’s religious landscape. At the same time, some general trends have emerged in the last two or three decades, partly reshaping the traditional setting of Asia’s religions. It is necessary to reflect on the challenges that these trends are creating. Interreligious dialogue in Asia is indispensable not only for peaceful religious coexistence and mutual understanding but also for progressing towards national and ethnic reconciliation in the various Asian countries as well as for tackling global challenges (peace-making, ecology, struggle against consumerism, development of a global ethic.) Theological inventiveness, itself nurtured by religious diversity, is a prominent resource for turning interreligious encounters into cultural, social and spiritual resources.

The planned conference will specifically address the two following issues:

(A) Revivalism and Identity Crisis

Revivalism has become the dominant religious trend. The clearest example is provided by the new vitality found by Islam in Asia, as has been also the case in other parts of the world. Such fact is of utmost importance: Indonesia is the most populated Muslim nation in the world; Bangladesh and Pakistan have overwhelming Muslim majorities, and Malaysia has also a Muslim majority, though not as pronounced; India has a strong Muslim minority; and Muslim populations are located on conflict-prone frontier regions in the Philippines or Thailand for instance. Of course, besides Islamic revival, other sources of concern exist, which strongly influence interreligious conflicts and cooperation on the continent as a whole: proselytism as and fundamentalism; the rise of political/religious currents and organizations asserting the predominance of a given  “national’ religion and thus endangering national cohesiveness; consumerism and individualism, which generate indifference towards the Other and closing upon one’s world..

(B) Interreligious dialogue as a peace-building endeavor

As a set of working hypothesis, we suggest that the conference discuss the following propositions:

-          What might be the most dangerous feature of violence is the fact that it exercises a kind of fascination that leads all people involved to hardening their own identity, fostering a chain of violent reactions, in spirit even when not in deeds. In this light, the importance of interreligious dialogue anchored into real spiritual encounters cannot be overlooked.

-          Asia is a region marked by an irreducible linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. Such diversity is a treasure that needs to be assessed, appreciated and interpreted. Peace-building is thus to be seen as an ongoing, creative endeavor inseparable from the development of interreligious dialogue in Asia, for both tasks are anchored into an interpretative process through which cultures, creeds and world-views are perpetually reshaped. On the long run, the “translation” of traditional languages and narratives that the in-depth meeting with the Other makes possible nurtures a creative reinterpretation of one’s spirituality and faith.

-          Value education and other actions conducive to a culture of dialogue must first target youth and women, as these two sectors are the ones who are susceptible to foster a less rigid and compassionate social culture. Value education starts from existential requirements such as the importance of honesty, mutual respect and joy. Interreligious cooperation is actually anchored into the nurturing of basic values that, ideally, could and should also be taught in the schools of a pluralistic secular state.

 

Provisional program

Friday May 13

16h30-18h20: First session: Theology and Practice of Interreligious Encounters

- Prof. KIM, HEUP YOUNG

"A Dao of Interreligious Dialogue in an Age of Globalization and Science"

- Dr. Emi Mase-Hasegawa,

"Religions in Daily Life -  Religious Pluralism in Japan"

- Prof. Benoit Vermander

“Interreligious Dialogue and Conflicts in Asia Today: Theology and Geopolitics”

Discussant: Prof. Wang Zhicheng, Zhejiang University

Saturday May 14

Second session: 8h45-10h20: Conflicts and Peace-building  in Interreligious Context

- Prof. Amir Hussain

Islam, Interreligious Dialogue and Peacemaking: Issues from South Asia

- Prof. David Pinault

"Muslim-Christian Cooperation on Wildlife Conservation and Deforestation Issues as a Response to the Threat of Communal Violence in Muslim Southeast Asia."

-          Prof. Michael Reder

"Understanding the role of religion concerning global challenges: inter-religious co-operation in Indonesia facing climate change - an example"

 

Third session: 10h45-12h20: Religions and Peace in National Contexts

- Prof. Michael Amaladoss

“Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: the Indian Experience”

- Prof. SHIN, Jae-Shik

"Beyond the Religious Tension between Buddhism and Christianity in Korea"

- Prof. Katsuhiro Kohara, Doshisha University,

"Theology of Religions in the Rise of Nationalism"

Discussant: Prof. Yu Zhijun, Fudan University

Fourth session: 13h45-15h15: Religious Education and Peacemaking

- Prof. Edmund Tang

"Beyond Stereotypes: Changing Perceptions of Chinese Christianity from 1949 to the Present"

- Dr. Gao Xin

“Teaching Religions as Way of Value Education”

Discussant: Prof. Toshimasa Yamamoto, Kwansei Gakuin University

Fifth session: 15h30- 17h20: Religions and World Visions

- Prof. Li Tiangang

“Reinterpreting Teilhard’s Worldview from Today’s China”

- Prof. Hisakazu Inagaki,

"Peace and Happiness in East Asia from Public Philosophy / Theology"

- Prof. SUH, ChangWon

“The Asian Dream from a Religio-cultural Perspective”

Discussant + general synthesis: Prof. Michael Reder, Munich Hochschule fur Philosophie

 

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

China's paradoxical religious revival

Is China really experiencing a religious revival?

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/stories/thumbnails_video/BV_edito_china_religious_revival.jpg|}images/stories/edito/BV_china_religions_revival.flv{/rokbox}

Also available in streaming on Youtube

Tuesday, 07 December 2010

Avent

{rokbox size=|800 600|thumb=|images/stories/thumbnails_video/tuduri_avent_thumb.jpg|}/images/stories/flash/tuduri_poeme_Avent.swf{/rokbox}

Bûcheron, dépose ta hache sous l'arbre de minuit
Et offre un siège ému à l'enfant de l'Esprit
Vois enfin la sève brassée avec la cendre, et le monde en sou neuf
Dévaster l'astre ancien des faubourgs et des temples

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

植物园妙遇奇缘

植物园是一处奇妙的所在,是城市里的荒林。在城市的快速变迁里无法再容身的那些事物:传奇、古老的秘密、逝去的身影,还有消失了的话语……,都沈淀在植物园的深处。

上个春天,我在这里遇见了帕特。

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

植物園妙遇奇緣

植物園是一處奇妙的所在,是城市裡的荒林。在城市的快速變遷裡無法再容身的那些事物:傳奇、古老的祕密、逝去的身影,還有消失了的話語……,都沈澱在植物園的深處。

上個春天,我在這裡遇見了帕特。


巧相逢

他幾歲呢?六十?很難說。可能比這年輕很多、也說不定他已經六百歲。帕特高大、有銀白色捲曲發亮的長鬚,像古希臘人一樣線條深刻的面孔,和美麗的湖水色眼睛,裡面溢著宇宙的祕密。帕特令人想起奇域魔境裡走出來的古精靈。

天熱天寒,他身上永遠是同一套衣服,西式外衣、燈心絨長褲、襯衫、羊毛衫,整齊不茍。材料跟配色都很講究,然而上面都沾滿了歲月的烏髒和塵埃。他手中拿著一隻神奇木杖,據說可以探測地表下的能量;頭上總戴一頂磨爛了邊的褐色絨帽。

帕特彷彿來自另一度時空。另一度古老而莊嚴的時空。那裡的人們更敬畏自然,明白天地間存有太多不可語的事物,並且願意屈身向滿是腐葉與蟲蟻的土地求教。帕特懂得樹語、鳥語,還有雲跟風的語言。

某個春日,我正在觀察新花。帕特突然從那株開滿春花的梅樹後頭冒出來。我們一起拜訪了老樟樹、無患子、乳香樹與春桃木。有些是經常出現在普羅旺斯鄉野傳奇裡的草木,另些是遙遠異洲來的花木,跟我所生長的亞熱帶土地緊緊相連,原本我卻不認識它們,見了只有驚奇連連。


享交誼

我們在種滿銀杏的散步道上談天、在塞滿祕密的老榕樹下小坐。帕特說的事都很特異。比方,園裡那株接骨木具有奇異的能量,在它周圍綻放的紫羅蘭,因此都有著與其他紫羅蘭不同的藍色;比方,天上某一片烏雲的飄然抵達,原來預告著地上某位不速之客的來到;比方樹梢的小鳥,會回應人們在心中默默的叫喚牠。

他還說了其他更怪異的事,旁人聽了一定當他作瘋子。可是我從來沒有輕視他的任何一句話。我知道他不是凡人。

我們閃避管理員的巡邏,跑到荊棘亂生的灌木叢間,去採早春冒出的野蘆筍、品嚐初夏的漿果。天氣好的午後遊人多,我們在園中漫步,帕特莊嚴美麗的容貌經常吸引各路攝影愛好者,握著犀利的相機,上前來向他請求一張人像照。

他究竟來自何方?上一個世紀?另一個國度?我沒有深想。春光漫爛,我正全心全力的學習生命的學問:樹木、花草、泥土間的菌類與微生物……,種種飽滿而精采的事物填滿了我的好奇心。帕特的友誼令我愉快,我明白這是一份很奇特的情誼,並不很想強把奇特不可解的際遇拆解。


初深談

然後有一天,在寂靜的樹林裡,帕特的聲音忽然間轉了調,變作了一長串異鄉的語言。我驚異極了。那是來自北方高緯地區的英語,古老、帶著美麗而鏗鏘的音韻……,然後他哭了。

因為鄉愁、貧病、逝去的愛、失落的回憶?因為隻身在宇宙裡孤苦無依?我靜靜的聽,周圍的時空彷彿消失、停滯,彷彿一直以來我們就是用這種語言交流。光陰流逝。他對我說,從來沒有人願意這樣的傾聽他。他說他感覺自己彷彿又青春了,像一個小男孩。

太陽落到樹林後方,空氣變涼了,我得離去了。帕特吻了我的手,舉帽揮別,然後說:「不要太用力的觀看。只要與植物一起呼吸、感覺,作它們的朋友就好。輕輕使用妳的能量。太用力會適得其反哦。」我知道,他這說的是我拿樹木圖鑑對照認樹的行為,還有我那拼了命記錄所有植物名字的小本子。他從來就不認同,害我在他面前總要藏起指南書。

他不明白為什麼我得要掌握所有人的名字與來歷。他說,妳若認識他們的靈魂、認識自己與他們的關係,這樣還不夠嗎?我慚愧的解釋說考試不考靈魂。我對於自己有著學位考試這樣俗氣的目的感到很心虛,然而我要怎麼向他說明,花園外的世界,講求的總是功利跟目的,獲取學位不過是我所能找到的藉口,讓我可以花上大把光陰在我所喜歡追求的學問上,不受外界的干擾。

我以為還會再看見帕特。


QiaWei_MontpellierJardin02植物靈

秋天來了,我成了植物園的實習生。

暑熱已經褪得差不多,該來的秋雨卻還遲遲未到,草木們都口乾舌燥。當第一道晨光射在樹林間,我拖著水管,為口渴的鼠尾草跟曼陀羅澆水。這裡還有好多奇異的植物:據說擁有大麻功效的馬雅人菸草、芬芳如椰子卻含有劇毒的茄科小花、百香果、鮮艷的燈籠花跟刺桐……。

我聽著土壤與根吸收水分的聲音,彷彿是花草們暢快呼嚕的在牛飲。在初秋清晨的曦光微照裡,這些花卉跟灌木,每一株都顯出獨一的神韻;靜靜處在它們中間,久了,就感到每株植物的周圍空氣裡,彷彿有某種濃稠、半透明的光在流動。

這種感覺很強烈,是純然的想像嗎?很久以前,我曾經在某處讀過人們鍛鍊自己,以能看見動植物生命靈魂的事。據說樹木的靈魂像一圈流動的彩光,包圍著它們有形的形體,與它們的枝幹一同漫延伸展……。當時我還偷偷練習了很久,始終也沒看見過什麼。也許我的練習是太「用力」了?就像帕特所說的?


遊戲心

晨早的植物園,時光清澈而透明,毫無人間的干擾。園門深鎖,要到正午才會打開。園丁們忙著清理草本植物在夏暑之後枯乾的枝條,從乾硬的果實裡採集各形各樣的種子。

翻土、除草,然後,一趟又一趟,拉著拖車,哼著歌兒,穿越那些森天古木下透著神祕光線的小道,到樹林最隱密處,載回來一車車的有機腐質土。那是以園裡的落葉、枝條、青草和時光所調製。他們拿這土去調混園土,在上面又種下新的灌木幼苗。

園丁的工作像是一種孩童的遊戲。而這些園丁,也好像一個神祕的孩童集團,每人各自有著頑傲不凡的心性。有像粗硬的樹皮,有像帶刺的荊木,有像含蓄不彰顯的花:他們彼此親密卻又疏離,每個人掌管著不同的區域。最奇妙的是,每一區恰恰正反映出那位長期照料的人的性情。


攝影/恰唯

{rokbox album=|myalbum|}images/stories/April_2010/QiaWei_MontpellierJardin/*{/rokbox}



本文為節錄,完整內容請見2010年4月號《人籟論辨月刊

No70_small

想知道有關本文中植物園的更多奧祕,請購買本期雜誌!

您可以選擇紙本版PDF版

海外讀者如欲選購,請在此查詢(紙本版PDF版訂閱全年份

banner


 

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

有名為萬物之母

孟子曰:人之所以異於禽獸者幾希。到底希到什麼程度?一直是達爾文(Charles Darwin)《物種原始論》(On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection)出版後,科學界想解答的問題。

Page 1 of 10

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation

AMOUNT: 

Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« April 2017 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

We have 3941 guests and no members online