随物赋形 – Chinese philosophy and culture

suí wù fù xínɡ 随物赋形

Writing That Flows like Water

原意指水流无常形,随地理形貌或自然物而呈现千变万化的形态。宋代文学家苏轼(1037—1101)用它来形容文艺创作应像水流一样流畅自然而又灵活多变,既遵循客观事物的规律,又体现作家自由创作意志,从而达到立意与表现技巧自在圆融,情、景、事、理妙合无间的审美境界。这一术语可能受了道家“上善若水”、水“几于道”与佛教“随缘自适”思想的影响,也是艺术家人格、学养、技艺的综合体现。

This term originally referred to water, which, without a fixed shape, flows along the contours of objects or land. Song Dynasty writer Su Shi (1037-1101) used it to describe literary writing that was smooth and free like water, showing both the writer’s creative power and his adherence to the laws of nature and human society. This style of writing endeavors to achieve harmony between a motif and expressive techniques and to merge emotion, landscapes, events and moral lessons into an aesthetic whole. This term may have been influenced by the Daoist beliefs that “the highest virtue is like water” and that “water is the most exact equivalent of the Way” as well as the Buddhist faith in following karma. It also gives expression to an artist’s personality, artistic attainment and capability.

引例 Citations:

◎天下之至信者,唯水而已。江河之大与海之深,而可以意揣。唯其不自为形,而因物以赋形,是故千变万化而有必然之理。(苏轼《滟滪堆赋》)

(天下最可信的,只有水罢了。江河之大与海洋之深,都可以凭想象揣测。只因为水没有自己固定的形态,只是凭借自然物而获得形态,所以水虽然千变万化但有其必然如此的道理。)

The most admirable thing in the world is definitely water. The mightiness of a river and the depth of a sea can be envisaged through imagination. As water has no fixed shape of its own, it assumes different shapes when passing over various landforms. So, though the flow of water varies miraculously, it follows an inherent law of nature. (Su Shi: Ode to the Yanyu Rock at the Qutang Gorge of the Yangtze River)

◎吾文如万斛泉源,不择地皆可出,在平地滔滔汩汩,虽一日千里无难。及其与山石曲折,随物赋形而不可知也。所可知者,常行于所当行,常止于不可不止,如是而已矣。(苏轼《论文》)

(我写文章就像上万斛泉水,不用选择地势,随处都可以涌出,在平地上流淌起来滔滔不绝,即使一天流淌千里也无难处。而到了顺随山石而曲折变化,依据地理形貌而获得各种形态,这种情况不可预知。所能知道的是,经常行进在应当行进的时候,经常停止于不得不停止的时候,就这样罢了。)

When I write, words keep pouring forth like springs come from numerous sources. They will flow in from everywhere in the mountains without having to choose a commanding height to do so – words that like water flow so profusely over flat ground that they travel a long distance a day with perfect ease. Then rocks of all kinds appear, but words flow around them, taking on shapes as determined by various terrain. It is hard to predict what will emerge eventually, but I do know that I will pause or move on as necessary. (Su Shi: A Commentary on My Own Writing)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *