Lester Lee – Chinese/English translator and freelance writer

This blog will host articles and other works authored by me in various fields – poetry, philosophy, science, history, politics, current affairs, music – and anything else which seizes my attention and imagination!







生死是大問題。這裡主要談後半截 死亡,但生死不可分,談死不免也要提到生。


       西藏佛學名著《西藏幽冥書》(Bardo Todrol Chenmo The Tibetan Book of the Dead)洵是人間寶。目前在坊間可以買到的《西藏生死書》 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying , Sogyal Rinpoche著)更適合當代人看。語言文字常會蒙蔽真理,不可不慎,但像《老子》、《西藏生死書》等傑構堪稱「典」,善讀之當有所得。



       有人認為死是生的寂滅,死則一了百了。Death squares all accounts 又有認為生命短暫,死亡比較長久。李白視死亡為歸宿:「生者為過客,死者為歸人。」

       We die not of illness, we die of being alive.Montaigne蒙田)

       從某角度看,生命從開始起即漸趨死亡。As soon as man is born he begins to die.世有生死輪迴之說,佛家主無常,視生命本身為死生生死瞬息交替的過程。




       影星Woody Allen說: It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens(我並不怕死,只是死時不想在場吧了。)相信許多人都有同感。

       愛爾蘭詩人葉(W.B. Yeats)說:Nor dread nor hope attend/A dying animal;/A man awaits his end/Dreading and hoping all.(大意是:禽獸死時無牽無挂,人死時卻充滿恐懼與希望。)



死可能痛苦,但生可嘗無苦?培根(Francis Bacon)說:It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.

蒙田:What does it matter when it comes, since it is inevitable? Is it reasonable so long to fear a thing so short? 這是說死亡不可免,並非大不了事。又死亡的過程短暫,不應為之惶恐半生。又曰:Inasmuch as I no longer cling so hard to the good things of life when I begin to lose the use any pleasure of them, I come to view death with much less frightened eyes.

史賓諾莎(Spinoza):A free man thinks of nothing less than of death, and his wisdom is not a meditation upon death but upon life.


       Fear no more the heart o’ the sun,/Nor the furious winter’s rages …..(莎士比亞)

       After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.(莎士比亞)

       I find it (death) the least of all evils.(培根)

       Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas,/Ease after war, death after life does greatly please.Edmund Spenser



       Why, like a well-filled guest, not leave the feast of life? Lucretius

       I leave when the pub closes.邱吉爾說,酒店關門我就走。

       有宗教的人會覺得死亡是蒙主寵召。莎士比亞信不信神不得而知,但他說過:I have a journey,/Sir, shortly to go:/My master calls me, -/I must not say no.

       蒙田說:Make room for others, as others have for you.「芳林新葉催殘葉,流水前波讓後波。」洵是自然之道。



       有生必有死。西洋聖經:For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.塵土之身復歸塵土。英古諺:Death devours lambs as well as sheep.

       Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

       人誰無死?Golden lads and girls all must,/As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.Shakespeare – 饒你是金童玉女,終須像掃煙的與塵土為伍。)

       「公道世間惟白髮,貴人頭上不曾饒。」老境如此,死亡亦然。Death is the great leveller,死亡把一切都拉平了。蕭伯納卻另有說法:Life levels all men: death reveals the eminent(人活著時都差不多,死亡才顯出高下。)



       如何能善吾死?死亡是要努力認真預備的。「學道即學死法。」(Melete thanaton)語出蘇格拉底,Cicero引述過(Commentatio mortis),蒙田(Montaigne)在《散文集》中更一再提及。

       Let us learn to meet it steadfastly, and to combat it. Combat是戰鬥,對象如是恐懼則可,如屬死亡本身則不成話。

       Teach me to live, that I may dread/The grave as little as my bed.(語出十七世紀英國主教Thomas Ken。)

       Stoics對死最看重,培根甚不以為然: Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear most fearful. 錢鍾書(《談藝錄》)亦認為孔子、史賓洛沙對死亡的態度比釋迦、莊子、Stoics、蒙田更疏放。








       有道肉身死而精神永存。古羅馬詩人賀拉斯(Horace)有言曰:Non omnis moriar,(我不會完全死去。)李杜文章在,光燄萬丈長。莎士比亞亦有豪語:Not marble, nor the gilded monuments/Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme.大理石,或王侯金碧輝煌的紀念碑,都不比這詩篇更長壽。




       詩人John Donne高喊:「死亡,你不要驕傲!」(Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so.

       Dylan Thomas:  ….When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,/They shall have stars at elbow and foot;/Though they go mad they shall be sane,/Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;/Though lovers be lost Love shall not;/And death shall have no dominion….And Death Shall Have No Dominion)(等白骨都剔淨,淨骨也蝕光,就擁有星象,在肘旁,腳旁;縱死者狂發,死者將清醒,縱死者墜海,死者將上昇;縱情人都失敗,愛情無恙;而死亡亦不得獨霸四方。《而死亡亦不得獨霸四方》余光中先生譯)



       Robert Graves對死亡不甘心。有人說死亡只是睡眠的孿生兄弟(Death is the twin of sleep, they say),他卻說 I do not like Death’s greedy looks:/Give me his twin instead -/Sleep never auctions off my books,/My boots, my shirts, my bed.(我不喜歡死亡貪婪的神色:/我寧取它的孿生兄弟,/睡眠人不會把我的書籍鞋靴襯衫床鋪統統拍賣掉。)


       Emily Dickenson:  Because I could not stop for Death,/He kindly stopped for me;/The carriage held but just ourself/And immortality.

       Christian Rossetti:  When I am dead, my dearest,/Sing no sad songs for me;/Plant thou no roses at my head,/Nor shady cypress tree:/Be the green grass above me/With showers and dewdrops wet;/And if thou wilt, remember,/And if thou wilt, forget.


       「人之將死,其言也善。」約翰遜博士(Dr Johnson)則認為人之將死,其神也專(Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.


       英年夭逝是憾事,故曰「天妒英才」。但也從另一面看:Grieve not that I die young.   Is it not well/To pass away ere life hath lost its brightness?(英詩人Lady Flora Hastings


       有人相信死是一了百了(He that dies pays all debts),但對相信輪轉世的人來說,死亡只是生滅過程的一環,絕對不是終點。To die is going from one room to another room.





June 4, 2008 - Posted by | Word-watching 語文影

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