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Say It Right Series

Chinese Idioms - 高山流水

Posted by vann0000 February 10, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: idiom, Friends, , , , , music, appreciation

Understanding and Appreciative Friends (高山流水 gao shan liu shui)

Understanding and Appreciative Friends

During the Spring and Autumn Period(770-476B.C.).there was a man whose name was Yu Boya.  Yu boya famous music master at that time, having a good command of the temperament and superb skills in playing the musical instrument.  He was bright and eager to learn when he was young.  He had formally acknowledged several experts as his teachers,and his skills in playing the musical instrument had already reached a fairly high level.  But he still felt that he could not superbly express the various things which had deeply impressed him.  Knowing what was in his mind, his teacher took him to the penglai Island, a fabled abode of immortals, on the East China Sea by boat.  On the island,his teacher let him enjoy the natural scenarios and listen to the roaring of the great waves.  looking into the distance, Boya saw that the waves were turbulent and that the white breakers leapt skywards.  Sea birds were circling in the air, and their crying was very pleasant to the ear.  Trees were green and intriguing feeling welled up in his mind, as if he had heard the harmonious and charming music of nature.  He couldn't help taking his musical instrument and playing it .  He followed his inclinations while he was playing,and incorporated the beautiful nature with his music,thus reaching a realm of thought he had never experienced before.  Seeing this,the teacher said to him,''You have mastered the art of playing."

Once,on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, he was boating for sight-seeing.  The moon was bright and a cool breeze was blowing gently.  With myriads of thoughts welling up in his mind, he began to play the musical instrument.  The melodious music became more and more beautiful when a man on the bank shouted "bravo!"  Hearing the shouting,  Boya came out of the boat,and saw a woodcutter standing on the bank.  He knew that this man was keenly appreciative of his talents, because he understood his music.  He immediately invited the woodcutter to his boat and , full of zest, he played the musical instrument for him.  When Boya played a piece of music eulogizing the high mountains,the woodcutter said,"wonderful!The melody is as magnificent and dignified as Mount Tai which reaches to the sky!"  When he played a piece of music depicting the turbulent waves,the woodcutter said,"Wonderful!The melody is as vast and mighty as the great rivers!"Boya was excited,and said,"Bosom friend! You are really my bosom friend!"  That woodcutter was Zhong Ziqi.  Since then,they had been very good friends.

This story appears in The Works of Lie Zi.From this story,people have derived the set phrase "high mountain and running water" to refer to understanding and appreciative friends.  This set phrase is also used to refer to melodious music.

gao1     shan1     liu2     shui3
高     山     流     水

春秋时代,有个叫俞伯牙的人,精通音律,琴艺高超,是当时著名的琴师.俞伯牙年轻的时候聪颖好学,曾拜高人为师,琴技达到水平,但他总觉得自己还不能出神入化地表现对各种事物的感受.伯牙的老师知道他的想法后,就带他乘船到东海的蓬莱岛上,让他欣赏大自然的景色,倾听大海的波涛声.伯牙举目眺望,只见波浪汹涌,浪花激溅;海鸟翻飞,鸣声入耳;山林树木,郁郁葱葱,如入仙境一般.一种奇妙的感觉油然而生,耳边仿佛咯起了大自然那和谐动听的音乐.他情不自禁地取琴弹奏,音随意转,把大自然的美妙融进了琴声,伯牙体验到一种前所未有的境界.老师告诉他:"你已经学了."

一夜伯牙乘船游览.面对清风明月,他思绪万千,于是又弹起琴来,琴声悠扬,渐入佳境.忽听岸上有人叫绝.伯牙闻声走出船来,只见一个樵夫站在岸边,他知道此人是知音当即请樵夫上船,兴致勃勃地为他演奏.伯牙弹起赞美高山的曲调,樵夫说道:"真好!雄伟而庄重,好像高耸入云的泰山一样!"当他弹奏表现奔腾澎湃的波涛时,樵夫又说:"真好!宽广浩荡,好像看见滚滚的流水,无边的大海一般!"伯牙兴奋色了,激动地说:"知音!你真是我的知音."这个樵夫就是钟子期.从此二人成了非常要好的朋友.

故事出自《列子·汤问》.成语"高山流水",比喻知己或知音,也比喻音乐优美.

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