(Minghui.org) Yue Fei, a legendary character in Chinese history, is an exemplar of loyalty for generation after generation of Chinese people. From driving off the invading Jurchens, to pulling off impossible feats on the battlefield, to defending the heartland of China—his story has been told time and time again in Chinese history books, dramas, novels, and movies.

Chinese people often express their aspirations through poetry, and Yue was no exception. His poems in the Collection of Yue Wumu and Collection of Song Poems evinced his magnanimous character and lofty ideals. 

(Continued from Part 4)

Let’s examine another poem from Yue Fei about the relationship between his military and spiritual goals. 

To Futu Huihai 

Beside old Pen River, Mount Lu rises high,The Yangtze winds eastward for thousands of miles.A young man should aim to support our great king, And aid him in battle to quell the fiends vile. 

Fulfilling a legacy etched in pale stone,I’ll then walk the mystical path like Chisong.These words to the abbot at Donglin I’ll leave,For Buddha’s true pupil has found his way home. 

Mount Lu, also known as Lushan, has stood mightily on the banks of Pen River since time immemorial, while the meandering Yangtze River has been flowing to the sea since the beginning of Chinese civilization. The author uses these majestic, timeless images to set the scene for his lofty goal in youth, which is to bring peace to all of China. He aspires for his noble deeds to be worthy of being written into history on stone tablets, but this is where his aspirations suddenly take a turn. Instead of continuing to chase further fame and fortune, he expresses his wish to live as an ascetic like Chisong, a legendary figure in Chinese history. 

According to Shi Ji (Records of the Great Historian), “Chisong is a deity who was known as Yu Shi during the Shennong era.” 

Li Bai, one of the most famous poets in Chinese history, had written several poems about this figure. For example:

“There was a deity natural and pure / whom I knew as Chisong for sure.” (“Gu Feng”)

“I have not followed Chisong like Zhang Liang in the past / Huangshi Gong next to the bridge knows my heart.”

“A deity was born in the east / emerging from the cloud sea... After arriving at the bank of Jinhua River / I found Chisong was there for a wave.” (“Sending Wei Wan back to Mount Wangwu”)

“The elixir furnace in Ye County is ready to burn / as deities in Ying Zhou accompany Chisong to return.” (“On Elixirs Furnace at Cui Ming Mansion in Yongqiu”)

In addition to Li Bai, other poets have also written about Chisong. Su Shi, a renowned poet in the Song Dynasty, once wrote, “I would like to fly / traveling east to visit Chisong in the sky / The divine place of Penglai is too far / since it is thousands of miles apart.”

By referring to Chisong, Yue implied that protecting the country with arms was not his ultimate goal. Instead, once he brought a peaceful life to his people, he longed for the chance to follow a divine path like Chisong. The last two lines are both an expression of his own determination and words of encouragement to the monks at Donglin Temple on Mount Lu—Yue Fei hopes that both he and they can strive forward in their path of self-perfection and reach enlightenment. 

This poems shows the breadth of China’s highly spiritual culture which spans different dynasties, different periods of war and peace, and even different levels of existence, from the mortal world we all know to the ethereal realms of the divine. 

(To be continued-Part 6)