Chinese poem illustration: 采菊东篱下 or 饮酒 其五/ Picking Chrysanthemum Flower under East Fence or Drinking The Fifth by Tao Yuanming
YouTube not applicable? watch full video at Bilibili: 饮酒 其五 or 采菊东篱下
English word hermit or recluse both reflect some aspects of Chinese recluse but: not necessary religious, not necessary away from the crowds.
The tradition of Chinese hermit starts with Chinese history, at the very beginning it is the privilege of aristocracy who has a much different view from the regime, tired of troubled state affairs, thus he just stayed away from the aristocracy, live in mount, as a fisherman, a lumberjack, a farmer or a scholar(渔樵耕读).
Tao Yuanming is the first poet famous for hermit poetry or the first hermit famous for poem writing. He vocalized the feeling which has more than one thousand year’s history before him, and he populated this feeling among average Chinese after him.
For a life long pursuit, you could go further and higher, or just stay away from it, living in the mountain on wild vegetable, farming as your neighborhood…that is the fundamental Chinese philosophy, as Confucius put it: 道不行，乘桴浮于海. So a hermit can have the choice of boating to high sea as well.
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