The Taste of Vinegar

“More than 20 years west of Mount Yen[1]
I’ve never been cheated by a hoe
a garden in spring of new tea and bamboo[2]
a few trees in fall of ripe chestnuts and pears
I drone[3] on the summit when the moon is bright
and walk along the stream when the clouds turn warm
with so many friends in examination halls[4]
why do I leave my door open”
- Poem by 石屋(Shih-Wu, “Stonehouse”[5]), 1350. Translated by Red Pine[6].

Confucianism dates to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BCE); variously accepted, suppressed, and revised, Confucianism did not become the dominant philosophy of the empire until the Tang Dynasty; the coexistence of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism led to centuries of debate, revision, and reform within each religion and philosophy. Each in turn greatly influenced the other in a form of syncretism[7] that created a new dominate philosophy, Neo-Confucianism[8] (SongMing LiXue, 宋明理學; often shortened to LiXue, 理學), in the Tang Dynasty.