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季羡林《我的书斋》英译

2013-03-29    来源:普特整理    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

季羡林(1911.8.6~2009.7.11),山东临清人,字希逋,又字齐奘。国际著名东方学大师、语言学家、文学家、国学家、佛学家、史学家、教育家和社会活动家。历任中国科学院哲学社会科学部委员、北京大学副校长、中国社科院南亚研究所所长,是北京大学惟一的终身教授。通英、德、梵、巴利文,能阅俄、法文,尤其精于吐火罗文,是世界上仅有的精于此语言的几位学者之一。“梵学、佛学、吐火罗文研究并举,中国文学、比较文学、文艺理论研究齐飞”,其著作汇编成《季羡林文集》,共24卷。生前曾撰文三辞桂冠:国学大师、学界泰斗、国宝。

我的书斋

最近身体不太好,内外夹攻,头绪纷繁,我这已届耄耋之年的神经有点吃不消了。于是下定决心,暂且封笔。乔福山同志打来电话,约我写点什么。我遵照自己的决心,婉转拒绝。但一听这题目是《我的书斋》,于我心有戚戚焉,立即精神振奋,暂停决心,拿起笔来。

我确实有个书斋,我十分喜爱我的书斋,这个书斋是相当大的,大小房间,加上过厅、厨房,还有封了顶的阳台,大大小小,共有八个单元。册数从来没有统计过,总有几万册吧。在北大教授中,“藏书状元”我恐怕是当之无愧的。而且在梵文和西文书籍中,有一些堪称海内孤本。我从来不以藏书家自命,然而坐拥如此大的书城,心里能不沾沾自喜吗? 

我的藏书都像是我的朋友,而且是密友。我虽然对它们并不是每一本都认识,它们中的每一本却都认识我。我每一走进我的书斋,书籍们立即活跃起来,我仿佛能听到它们向我问好的声音,我仿佛能看到它们向我招手的情景,倘若有人问我,书籍的嘴在什么地方?而手又在什么地方呢?我只能说:“你的根器太浅,努力修持吧。有朝一日,你会明白的。”

我兀坐在书城中,忘记了尘世的一切不愉快的事情,怡然自得。以世界之广,宇宙之大,此时却仿佛只有我和我的书友存在。窗外粼粼碧水,丝丝垂柳,阳光照在玉兰花的肥大的绿叶子上,这都是我平常最喜爱的东西,现在也都视而不见了。连平常我喜欢听的鸟鸣声“光棍儿好过”,也听而不闻了。

我的书友每一本都蕴涵着无量的智慧。我只读过其中的一小部分。这智慧我是能深深体会到的。没有读过的那一些,好像也不甘落后,它们不知道是施展一种什么神秘的力量,把自己的智慧放了出来,像波浪似涌向我来。可惜我还没有修炼到能有“天眼通”和“天耳通”的水平,我还无法接受这些智慧之流。如果能接受的话,我将成为世界上古往今来最聪明的人。我自己也去努力修持吧。

我的书友有时候也让我窘态毕露。我并不是一个不爱清洁和秩序的人,但是,因为事情头绪太多,脑袋里考虑的学术问题和写作问题也不少,而且每天都收到大量的寄来的书籍和报刊杂志以及信件,转瞬之间就摞成一摞。在这样的情况下,如果我需要一本书,往往是遍寻不得。“只在此屋中,书深不知处”,急得满头大汗,也是枉然。只好到图书馆去借,等我把文章写好,把书送还图书馆后,无意之间,在一摞书中,竟找到了我原来要找的书,“得来全不费工夫”,然而晚了,工夫早已费过了。我啼笑皆非,无可奈何。等到用另外一本书时,再重演一次这出喜剧。我知道,我要寻找的书友,看到我急得那般模样,会大声给我打招呼的,但是喊破了嗓子,也无济干事。我还没有修持到能听懂书的语言的水平。我还要加倍努力去修持。我有信心,将来一定能获得真正的“天眼通”和“天耳通”。只要我想要哪一本书,那一本书就会自己报出所在之处,我一伸手,便可拿到,如探囊取物。这样一来,文思就会像泉水般地喷涌,我的笔变成了生花妙笔,写出来的文章会成为天下之至文。到了那时,我的书斋里会充满了没有声音的声音,布满了没有形象的形象。我同我的书友们能够自由地互通思想,交流感情。我的书斋会成为宇宙间第一神奇的书斋。岂不猗欤休哉!

 我盼望有这样一个书斋。

My Study

Ji Xianlin

I’ve not been in good health lately. With troubles from both within and outside and, with far too many things to attend to, I’m finding myself under stress. So I made up my mind to suspend writing.

Comrade Qiao fushan, though, phoned me a few days ago, asking me to write something for his magazine. Following my decision, I declined.

But he told me that he would like me to write an essay entitled “My Study,” which touched my soft spot. I felt energized immediately and decided to suspend my decision and take up the pen.

I do have a study, and I love it dearly.

It is pretty big: there are altogether eight units when you count in rooms big and small, the lobby, the kitchen, and a shingle-topped balcony. I have never counted the number of my books; probably they exceed tens of thousands. Of all the professors at Peking University, I’m deservedly “No. 1” in terms of stored books. What’s more, some of the books in Sanskrit and other foreign languages are the only ones available in China and overseas. I have never prided myself on being a book collector, but who wouldn’t feel complacent when he owns such a “mountain of books?”

All the books I have are like my friends. They’re my close friends, indeed. I don’t know every one of them, but every one of them knows me. The moment I set foot in my study, all the books seem to be activated and they vie with each other in greeting me. I could almost see their hands waving to me and hear their voices saying “Hi” to me. If anyone asks me where the books’ mouths are or where their hands are, I will say, “You haven’t cultivated yourself well enough. Work hard and some day you’ll understand what I mean.”

As I sit straight in my study, I forget all the troubles in the world and feel happy and pleased with myself. It seems as if only my book friends and I existed in the vast world and the even vaster space. The rippling water in the pond outside the window, the weeping willows, and the sunshine on the big leaves of magnolia all seem to have disappeared from my field of vision, although they are what I love most in ordinary times. The same is true of the songs of birds, one of which says “It’s good to be single.”1 They have lost their meaning though I hear their sound.

Every one of my book friends embodies boundless wisdom. I have read only a small part of them, but I have come to deeply appreciate their wisdom. Now those unread books seem determined not to be left behind. Somehow, they exercise a mysterious force to release their wisdom, which rushes to me like waves.

It’s a shame that I haven’t been able to cultivate myself long or well enough to become a person who has “eyes to see distant things and ears to hear distant sound.” 2 As a result, I’m not yet able to absorb all the wisdom. If I were able to , I would surely become the smartest man in the world for all time. I’ll have to go on cultivating.

Sometimes my book friends put me on a hot spot. I’m by no means a person who doesn’t love cleanliness and order. As, however, I have so many things to attend to, and so much to consider, academic or writing, and so many books, magazines, newspapers, and letters to read—they come in huge numbers every day—I often cannot find the book I want to use, no matter how hard I try.

“Though I know the book is in the study, I cannot find it because it’s hidden deep.” 3 I might break a sweat, but my effort would be futile. All I could do was to go to the library and borrow the book for my writing. When the writing was done, I would return the book to the library. And then, as if by miracle, the book I was looking for popped into my sight. “Effortless, I got what I had been looking for.” 4 But it was too late: I had spent much time and effort on it. I could neither laugh nor cry. And this might happen again with another book, and I had to play the comedy again.

I believe that the book friend I’m looking for would shout to me loudly when it sees me act like an ant on a hot wok. But it might shout till its voice goes hoarse and I still could not hear or understand it.

I’m sorry I haven’t cultivated myself long enough to understand the language of the book world. I have to go on cultivating. I am confident that one day I’ll acquire the ability to know everything under heaven. Every time I want a book, it will report itself to me, telling me where it is, and I’ll stretch out my hand and get it as easily as taking something out of my pocket.

In those times, I’ll be able to write the best essays and papers in the world because my stream of thought would gush out like a spring and my pen would write as if it were gifted. In those times, too, my study would be filled with voices without a sound and images without a shape. I would be able to exchange thoughts and feelings with my book friends freely. My study would become the most magical study in space. How wonderful that would be!

I wish I had such a study.

June 22, 1993

1. “guang-gun-er-hao-guo”: an onomatopoeic meaning “It’s good to be single.”

2. Qian-li-yan and shun-feng-er are two of the long-cherished dream of the Chinese. The two terms are known to almost everyone in the country.

3. These two lines are the result of a creative twist the author gives to a poem by Jia Dao, a Tang Dynasty poet. Jia’s poem, entitled “Searching for a Hermit in Vain,” says, “Asked where his teacher was, the boy under a pine tree said, ‘He’s gone collecting medical herbs in the mountain.’ But the teacher was hidden deep behind the clouds that no one could find him.”

4. A Chinese proverb says, “[One might] find something accidently after tracking miles and miles (wearing out iron shoes) in vain for it.”

(钱炜、林珍珍 译)



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