City L is located at the center of China and surrounded by Mountain Y and
Lake M. The city controls the access to provinces Shensi and Kansu. People in
Provinces Hopei and Shansi love to visit City L. Anyone who wants to conquer
China must conquer City L first. If there is a great war in China, City L will
be the first place affected by it. Therefore, I said,
"Only when City L is thriving can it
be determined that China is flourishing."
In the beginning of the T'ang
dynasty, the officials in the emperor's
court built 1,000 mansions in City L. Later, there was a war, followed by the
tyranny of the Five Dynasties. All the ponds and gardens were destroyed by
chariots and became ruins. Tall towers and huge gazeboes were burned to ashes by
fire. Every building in the park was destroyed when the T'ang
dynasty fell. Nothing remained. Therefore, I said,
"Only when the Great Park in City L is
thriving can it be determined that City L is flourishing."
Thus one can tell whether China is flourishing by watching whether City L is
thriving, and tell whether City L is flourishing by watching whether the Great
Park in City L is thriving. Based on this observation, wasn't
it worthwhile to write the book- The Great Park in City L?
Well, can the officials of the emperor's court enjoy the beauty of the Great
Park in City L after their retirement if they neglect state affairs and only
seek personal gain? From the lesson we have learned about the end of the T'ang
dynasty, the answer is "no".