Poems of Meng Jiao
For Master Jian Yeqi
My teacher's temple is in the green hills
Where purity ever radiates from his life.
Although he arrives at the city walls,
No dust clings to his garments.
Titles are often problematic. 建业契 has the form of a personal name. But, according to my dictionaries, none of the characters are family names. 建业 is an old (pre-Tang) southern place name and one of the traditional characters collapsed onto 契 is used in Shang names. But this is clearly a contemporary poem. I take it that 建业契 is the name this master has taken in Buddhism.
The character 公 (gong1) is also a problem in titles. It can be "duke" which is the English for the highest of the five noble ranks in China, although gong is no more duke than duke is gong, as their contexts in society are so different. It can also be a very formal, courtly "you." And it can be "master" in the master-disciple sense. Here it is pretty clearly "master." But in former poems I've sometimes had to guess and choose the most likely between "master" and "duke."
I should say something about the collapse of multiple characters onto single simplified characters. This is probably the most culturally destructive act of Mao Zedong. It will be, in the long run, more destructive than the burning of books under the Qin. It makes it impossible to know with certainty which traditional character was used in the original text. The internet has made it possible to freely access old Chinese texts. But far more texts, especially poetry, are only available in simplified characters, where this destruction is a fait accompli. And often the original, traditional text is not even purchasable in the west. In individual cases, one can often work backwards from simplified to traditional through reasoning. But ambiguities are by no means rare. And the real loss is the loss of nuance. One can lump several characters only differing in nuance together and proclaim them all the same. But the real meaning of the original is thereby lost. Loss of nuance strips away intelligence, leaving only a dull facade. The struggle of the translator, in these cases, is to restore the intelligent understanding of the author.
The only comparable act of destruction I know of is the reduction of the recorded words of the prophet Mohammed (blessings and peace be upon his name), or hadith, by the imams over time. Roughly one hundred thousand hadith have been reduced to four thousand on the pretext that the deleted ones were not the prophet's words. And the only thing you can say about the remaining hadith is that they are in no way a threat to the power of the imams.
And, no, I am not a Muslim. But I am considerate of others, regardless of their faith.