Elegant Forever Su dongpo–Biography
TiPs1:Su Dongpo ’s fisrt name is Su(苏），last name is Shi(轼：It means the armrest of the carriage).
TiPs2:The names of Chinese people have their own tradition and characteristics. Unlike westerners, the family name in China is put first, followed by the given name. Interestingly a feme covert does not use her husband’s family name. The given name usually contains one or two Chinese characters but in order to avoid confusion, newly-born babies are now entitled to be given names of three characters.
Elegant Forever Su Shi–Biography
“Eastward flows the great river, whose waves have washed away gallant heroes of eternity.”West of the old fort they say stands the red cliff where General Zhou of the Three Kingdoms won his early fame.Jagged rocks pierce the clouds, towering waves dash on the shore, rolling up a thousand heaps of snow.
What a fair picture of rivers and mountains. How many heroes there were at that time? I think of the day when Feng Ji first married Xiao Qiao, He was so brave and bright. A plumed fan in hand and silk cap on his head, he was laughing, jesting.
A strong enemy was annihilated like smoke and dust. Traveling through the old kingdom in my dream, I should be laughed at for such sentiments. My hair turning gray at such an early age. Life is full of dreams. I pour out this wine .
Well, you probably heard of this big name. The man is Su Shi（Su dongpo）, a great literary master who called himself “Dong Po Ju Shi”.
About nine hundred years ago, there lived a family, surnamed “Su,” in Mei Shan, Si Chuan Province. Maybe blessed by heaven, three literary masters were born into the Su family. That made an interesting topic in Chinese literature. Both Su Shi’s father, Su Xun, and brother, Su Ce, were literary masters, too.
In 1057 A.D., 22 year-old Su Shi participated in a civil service examination, and impressed O Young Xiu, the official in charge, with an essay entitled “On Punishment During War.”? The senior literary master, O Young, could not help admiring young Su Shi’s talent. He said “I should make way for this young man, so he can cut a brilliant figure.” Su Shi began his political career at the age of 25 when his political talent started to bloom. Several years later Prime Minister Wong An Shi launched a series of reforms with which Su disagreed. The disagreement was such that they became almost incompatible. The forthright Su Shi finally gave up his post in the capital and asked to be transferred to Hang Zhou. The three year stay in Hung Zhou made one of the most dramatic pages in Su’s life. He once wrote with passion.
“The lake filled with green ripples under a sunny sky,the mountain vast with hazy mist,but the West Lake which, compared to Xi Shi,is as beautiful as ever, light or heavy makeup.”
Beside the beautiful West Lake, Su Shi revealed without reserve his love for poetry, wine and beautiful women. He not only did extensive travelling, enjoying all the beautiful scenery of Hang Zhou, but also took a second wife named Zhao Yun, literally “Morning Cloud,” who followed him loyally throughout his much frustrated life lying before him. Su Shi was a very outspoken man. Whenever he saw policies against people’s will, and endangering their interests, he gave vent to his indignation through his essays and poems. That eventually led to his banishment and frequent transfer of posts. After he served his term in Hangchow, he was transferred to Mi Zhou, later to Chuchow, and after that to Fuchow, by which time he had already turned 44. Less than three months after he was transferred to Chu Zhou , he was put into prison on the charge of slandering the emperor and the prime minister. It was an unjustified literary persecution. Someone deliberately misinterpreted some of his poems. Su Shi however was not defeated. He learned to train his personality in distress. Gradually an outspoken, offensive and bold character gave way to a moderate, broadminded and mature one. When he was released about 100 days later, Su shi was a completely different person. From then on no sadness in life could defeat him, from then on no trouble in life could worry him. A man was seen walking out from the prison, reborn to life.
A much frustrated life almost always helps to make a great man. Su shi served one good example. Had it not been for a literary persecution, Su shi might not have cultivated such a broad minded attitude toward life, nor could he have come up with some of the greatest masterpieces of Chinese literature. After he was released from jail, Su was banished to Huangzhou, where he served as a deputy captain of the local militia. Forty five year old Su accepted the lowly post philosophically.
Su’s five year stay in Huangchow marked the turning point of his life. The passions and arrogance of his younger days wore out gradually in remote and impoverished Huangzhou. His writing style therefore witnessed dramatic change.
Impoverished as he was, Su shi was a happy man. In casual attire he mingled joyfully with villagers and aging rustic people.
In 1084, Su left Huangzhou for Huzhou on the emperor’s orders. It was such a long, wearing journey that his youngest son died on the way. Grief stricken, Su petitioned the emperor to let the family stay in Chang Zhou temporarily because Ruzhou was very far away and they were running out of money. His request was granted. But just as the Sus were about to go to Chang Zhou, the emperor passed away. The new emperor treated Su Dong Po with great respect. Within less than two years, Su received several promotions and finally was called back to serve in the capital. That was the climax of his political career. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Back in the capital, Su got into constant strife while fighting for the welfare of the people. In such an unpleasant atmosphere, Su decided to leave the capital. When Su was 54, the emperor approved his transfer to Hangchow.
Sixteen years after his last stay in Hangchow, Su returned with joy. He was much welcomed by the people there. As soon as Su took his post he found his hands full dealing with natural disasters and man made calamities. One of his great achievements was to have a dike built along the West Lake. That dike was named Su Dike in his memory. The construction was very important for water conservancy and prevention of floods. Several years later, Su was called back to the capital on the order of the emperor’s mother, but he was soon transferred to a post away from the capital.
The exile didn’t come to an end until Emperor Gui Zhong came to the throne in 1101 and an amnesty was given? Unfortunately the poet’s life also came to an end. A year later Su Dungpo died,he was 66 this year.