Poems of Meng Jiao
Escorting Huang Gou back to Jiangnan after he was chosen for a position there
Gentle ripples of the deep blue sea
Join with Huang's pervasive talent.
His youthful thoughts spread their wings,
Rising weakly towards his heart's desire.
Osprey gazes from its high tree;
Other birds don't dare to even think.
Fine horse gallops down the boulevard;
Other beasts don't dare to join him.
Successful in spite of hardships
One feels as if emerging from a thunderstorm.
Now appointed as monastic abbot
Can your heart truly not return?
You will be able to command secluded men --
Let a true voice ring in all directions.
But remember Jiangnan's ways, so that,
At ancestral feasts, the local flowers bloom.
You cannot let your good influence depart.
If it does, all will fall into empty idleness.
This poem comes at a time in the Tang when Daoism has become ascendant at court and the persecution of Buddhism has begun. Eventually, Buddhism will be stripped of power and possessions (as Henry V wished to strip the Catholic Church in England.) But that is some years and emperors in the future. At this time, Huang Gou seems to have been given charge of a Theraveda monastery after having passed the get-a-job exam. This speaks to how the empire feels now about Buddhism when it appoints a young man to be the "abbot" of a monastery. It also seems that Meng Jiao knows this man to have been a better man in the past. Huang has no doubt become an idelogical hardliner as men do when their paychecks depend upon it. And Meng Jiao is trying to call him back to his true humanity.