Mountainous landscapes gift different scenes from each viewpoint of the beholder. If you, however, look at them inside, it is hard to find their true beauty, of which a view from afar only tells. Immersion does not always lead you to learn a true essence. Bystanders sometimes see through the truth of the world more easily than those involved. Nearsightedness constrains your thinking system, only allowing you to take a one-sided and short-sighted view with little objectivity. The distinction of the rights and wrongs can depend on a viewpoint you take, which characterizes the theoretical aspects of Song Dynasty poetry that differentiate that of the Tang Dynasty. This poem is the origin of an old idiomatic phrase “Yeosanjinmyeonmok,” which means the truth or essence of a thing or situation.
Appreciating a cascade at Mt. Lushan in China (called Yeosan in Korean), famous poet Li Po of the Tang Dynasty wrote a well-known phrase, “Falling water as long as 3,000 ja (around 900 meters) reminds me of the Milky Way running down to the ground.” In response, famous Joseon poet Jeong Cheol boasted in descriptions on the 12 waterfalls at Mt. Geumgang in “Gwandong Byeolgok (The Song of the Sceneries of the Gwandong),” saying, “Li Po would not have claimed the superiority of the waterfall at Mt. Lushan if he had visited Mt. Geumgang and thought twice.”
This famous mountain Lushan is located in Jiangxi Province, China. Indicted and relegated for his writings amid a chaotic political strife, poet Su Shi of the Song Dynasty had to leave the capital. After his 10-day trip to Mt. Lushan, he left this piece of poetry on the wall of Sai Lam Temple situated on the northwest corner. Su Shi is known for his literature “The Red Cliffs” in Korea as well. His art name is Dongpo.