Influenced by the "aesthetic" trend of thought from the Wei and Jin dynasties, although the habits of Qi and Liang in the early Tang dynasty were still in the field of thought and culture, there was also the germination of the pursuit of beauty that represented the spirit of the times.
The Tang Dynasty was the peak period of ancient Chinese society, when the cultures of the North and the South absorbed and blended with each other, and the development of literature and art reached its peak; At the same time, it was also an era when the gatekeeper clan was gradually declining. In their soaring enterprising spirit, there is also a requirement to continue the morality and ethics of Confucianism to maintain their aristocratic style.
An obvious feature of the leisure life of officials in the Tang Dynasty was that it had a strong literary aesthetic atmosphere. From the Wei and Jin dynasties to the early Tang Dynasty, the great turmoil and division in political affairs "brought two effects to the progress and development of culture: first, the loss of the original inherent cultural development conditions, that is, the inherent culture can no longer advance in a straight line; Second, the new historical opportunities provided by the new historical conditions will inevitably provide corresponding conditions for the new cultural form.
This inevitably leads to the advancement of the variability of the original culture. And the task of creating this new cultural form naturally falls on the shoulders of scholars, who take cultural inheritance as their responsibility. Therefore, the Tang Dynasty Shidafu inherited the "wind flow" of Wei and Jin and the Taoism of the Song and Yuan dynasties, and it was inevitable that as part of the scholar class, the activities of the officials had both the characteristics of the debauchery of the Shidafu from Wei Jin onwards, and the obvious characteristics of the pursuit of elegance by the Shidafu of the subsequent Song Dynasty. Their elegant lifestyle is mainly reflected in two aspects.
First, in the activities to the officials, there is a strong literary and artistic atmosphere. Throughout the Tang Dynasty, due to the promotion and encouragement of the rulers, there was a strong atmosphere of Chinese learning and art in social life. In the course of the courtiers, the rewards, whether through home studies or through the imperial examination, all had profound literary skills, and on the way to the courtiers, the reconciling between kings and courtiers and among colleagues was commonplace, and became an indispensable part of their daily lives, so that their lifestyles were refined and became a symbol of their status.
All kinds of group life have in common, that is, in all the entertainment activities, poetry and singing are the main activities that run through them. In these singing and activities, the officials showed their talents and created many magnificent chapters, which not only created conditions for their communication and learning with others, deepened emotional communication, but also left valuable spiritual wealth for future generations.
Second, in the individual leisure activities of the officials, whether it is to swim in Lin Quan or spend a solitary drink, they will always write down the content of the activities and their aesthetic feelings in line with the times in the form of poetry. We know that "the ideological and cultural policy of attaching equal importance to Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism implemented in the Tang Dynasty created a spiritual realm of relative freedom of thought, and intellectuals not only enlivened their minds in the contention and collision of various cultures, but also broadened the field and horizon of spiritual inquiry, so that the subjectivity of aesthetics was broadened and galloped." "In the spatial environment and tools of leisure activities, they all reveal their role as subjects who maintain and continue cultural traditions, thus showing outstanding elegant aesthetic taste and noble personal cultivation."
In short, the Tang Dynasty's "strong and consolidated political affairs, high economic prosperity, enlightened and open cultural policies, the great integration of various nationalities and national cultures, and the participation of the vast number of landlord intellectuals of the Yu nationality who have been suppressed in the great creation of spiritual culture, all these converged into a very favorable spiritual atmosphere suitable for the great development of spiritual culture." ”
The leisure activities of the officials have created a wealth of spiritual wealth, reflecting their own status and elegant cultural taste. Therefore, as the materialized result of this kind of aesthetic experience activity of mind-object integration, scene interpenetration, and imagery integration, literary and artistic works are bound to be engraved with the spiritual imprint of the subject's own unique personality. Thus highlighting their essential characteristics as a class of scholars, and to a certain extent, showing their aesthetic taste higher than that of other classes in society.
The atmosphere of religious life after the arrival of officials in the Tang Dynasty was extremely strong, and they used the birth thought of religion to achieve the leisure effect of self-cultivation through activities such as sacrificing themselves to join the religion and association, which has very distinct characteristics of the times.
The Tang Dynasty was a dynasty in which Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism converged in parallel, and the rituals, methods and organizations of various religions "were attached to the mainstream ideology and mainstream ethics and morality of the country, and at the same time more catered to the tastes and hobbies of the upper class scholars, and became the ideological resources accepted by the upper class and mainstream thought." "Especially in the middle and late Tang Dynasty, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism absorbed each other, on the one hand, the increasing secularization of religion, and on the other hand, the increasing religiosity of Confucianism. Religion and society are becoming more and more closely linked, "from the ceremonial sacrifices of the state to the daily life of the people, all of which are linked to various religious rituals and beliefs." ”
As upper-class scholars, they are more and more inclined to regard the transcendent, elegant or indifferent philosophy of life and life taste of religious people as their own goals. And the high-class officials, after staying away from the pride or helplessness of the political career, abandoned the mundane and miscellaneous things, put themselves in the profound and subtle metaphysical exploration of religion, and through "silent contemplation of nature, discover the endless inner life of the universe, comprehend the true meaning of life and the essence of life, so as to achieve a profound and far-reaching realm of life, so as to form the communication and unity of the individual heart and the cosmic mind," and realized the aesthetic realm of the true meaning of life, so as to experience the self and realize the self," And then gain physical and mental peace and comfort.
Some of the officials practiced thrift and tea when they were relaxing with religious masters. However, there are also some officials who do not hesitate to spend money and a lot of manpower and financial resources when gathering with friends, in order to pursue the luxury of material leisure life. Tang people especially value peony flowers, even if it is expensive, they will not hesitate to buy it home to enjoy. In this regard, Bai Xiangshan Youshi ridiculed: "When you share peonies, buy flowers with each other." There is no permanent price, and the reward depends on the number of flowers. ...... A cluster of dark flowers, endowed by ten households. ”
Of course, luxury is not the exclusive preference of these officials, first of all, because the whole society pursues the social custom of luxury. Minze said in his book "History of Chinese Aesthetic Thought": "Intoxication, indulgence in song and dance, sound and wine, and seeking spiritual sustenance from the stimulation and enjoyment of functional abilities have become quite common social customs, indicating that under the historical conditions at that time, a considerable number of intellectuals sank in spirit and low aesthetic taste." "This part of the Zhi Zhi Gong has contributed to luxury.
The second is because of the development of cities and transportation in the Tang Dynasty, and the development of the commodity economy brought about by it. In the Tang Dynasty, "the commodity economy began to break through regional barriers and move towards a national large market system," and "the cities that had renewed their appearance further promoted and enriched the development of the commodity economy." "The rapid development of the city provides favorable conditions for the circulation and exchange of goods, and facilitates the circulation of goods and services for luxury life.
Needless to say, the officials living in such a social environment, coupled with their good economic foundation, it is natural to pursue the leisure and luxury of life. Their living space is relatively close to folk life, and the impact of their lifestyle is greater. Their extravagant leisure activities undoubtedly in turn deepen the chronic ills of this society, so to a certain extent promote "people to wander more and have the power of the land; Those who keep their own business, floating but not solid; The emergence of the phenomenon of "those who are chasing the last business, and forgetting to return".
There are also some officials who do not enthusiastically enjoy the above-mentioned extravagant or elegant activities, but fully integrate themselves into the circle of life of the lower classes of society, and they live in peace and happiness and work as farmers. Of course, there are also a small number of officials who have become officials, although they also integrate themselves into the lower society, but they are not self-reliant, but use their family power to bully the people, and even re-enter the eunuch road.
In addition, the passive and decadent reclusive thinking of some officials has also played a considerable role in society. This part of the officials was beaten by many eunuchs and felt the vicissitudes of the world, so they advised people to have a short life and to be happy in time. For example, the poet Bai Juyi exhorted the young man to be humane: "Advise the king to do less fame, the name is to lock the body; Persuade the king to lose fame and fortune, and the profit is to burn the fire. After the poet Yongtao of Emperor Xuanzong's reign resigned from office, he "lived idly in Luyue, raised his arrogance, and lived with dust," he once wrote a poem to exhort people to enjoy themselves in time: "Old age and scenery do not belong to the body, and gold does not hesitate to buy youth." The white-headed indulgence is the gardener, and the drunken folding of flower branches is someone else.
The religious activities of some officials greatly promoted the development of Buddhist culture. Buddhism is based on the principle of "Interpreting the texts to wash away the void, both with and without thanks; Enlightenment condenses silence, and forgets all of us", thus becoming the spiritual destination for some officials to escape reality. More importantly, an important reason why Tang Dynasty scholars believed in and respected Buddhism was that Buddhists were attracted by techniques such as poetry, qinqi calligraphy and painting, architecture, sculpture, tea ceremony, and literary transformation. The superb cultural skills of some Buddhists and the timeless "tea ceremony" advocated by Buddhism such as "tea Zen taste" have shown a world of otherworldly novelty and great attraction for Zhi Shiguan, who has been cultivated by Confucian culture that pays attention to the real world for a long time.
Some officials usually recite Buddhist scriptures, and in the process of interacting with learned monks, they "listen to the monks' sayings, lecture on scriptures, and consult the true meaning of 'suffering and emptiness', so as to interpret the doubts in the essence, solve the confusion of earthly suffering, and eliminate all kinds of troubles in life." In the process of talking with the senior monks about the essence of the occult, they used their profound Confucian knowledge to put forward reasonable views and suggestions on Buddhist Zen theory, which further promoted the development of Buddhist culture and accelerated the process of the unity of Confucianism and Buddhism.
In society, they consciously or unconsciously used their special identity, influenced their families and people around them with their thoughts and beliefs, attracted these people to the activities of believing in and spreading Buddhist culture, and further expanded the social foundation for the spread of Buddhism.
In addition to discussing the Tao, they sang harmony with those high monks and great virtues, leaving a wealth of literature related to Buddhism for posterity. The poet and the crowd receive the baptism of Buddhist sutra teachings in the moonlight at night and deeply understand the meditation principles, and this is the basic method for them to meditate in the future, so as to achieve the complete selflessness of "replacing ten thousand thoughts with one thought" and attain what the Buddists call Nirvana. In this way, the religious activities of the officials accelerated the process of Zenization of Confucianism on the one hand, and on the other hand, made Zen Buddhism more widely popular and spread.
Similarly, some leisure and health activities such as taking medicinal stones and maintaining health and qi have also perfected Taoist theory to a certain extent. Taoism is based on "the supreme Dao Chong Void", and the practice of immortality is "admired by the living people", and because the originator of Taoism is surnamed Li, it is regarded as the state religion by the Li and Tang dynasties. The more important reason is that the so-called immortal doctrine of longevity and longevity promoted by Taoism precisely caters to the rulers' psychology that prosperity and wealth can be sought, and immortality is difficult to seek. Officials who are keen on the Taoist art of immortality, pursuing the Taoist art of extending life has become one of their important leisure activities.
"The Taoist ideology of advocating nature and being quiet and inactive injected the Tang Dynasty culture with the creative idea of returning to the basics and getting rid of all shackles and 'the unity of heaven and man'." Under these circumstances, those officials who had a bumpy journey and returned to the mountains and forests wrote many chapters about or influenced by Taoist aesthetic tastes while wandering away and indulging in the beauty of nature. These not only reflected the colorful secular life and spiritual state of the Tang Dynasty to a certain extent, but also further promoted the perfection and maturity of Chinese Taoist theory.
In addition, the Tang Dynasty was an era of poetry prosperity. Because "the Tang Dynasty had a relatively relaxed political environment; This relaxed political environment has brought poets a certain amount of creative freedom; A certain creative freedom space provides a good environment and conditions for the cultivation of excellent poetry and the multi-faceted and diversified development of poetry. ”
From the point of view of leisure, "the relative openness of leisure and the non-seriousness of its consequences provide a place to transcend those established ways and meanings of behavior." Behavior in this way may lead to creativity in art, virtuosity in sport, and humor in conversation. "It is precisely because of such a relaxed political environment, in a relaxed leisure place, those who are nobles and officials are excited, and use poetry to express their pride or frustration in political affairs and life.
When in the company of friends with similar political circumstances and similar life values, poetry becomes a tool for them to complain and comfort their chests, and it is also one of the main ways for them to comfort each other and release themselves. This kind of poetry is often the swan song in poetry, which is not only the first-hand reliable information for us modern people to study the social affairs and life of the Tang Dynasty, but also a model for some later scholars in society to learn and imitate, thus greatly promoting the development of literature and art such as poetry.