Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Confucius (551-433BC)

The Master Said

The Master said,
“It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused.”
It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established.
“It is from Music that the finish is received.”
The Master said,
“The people may be made to follow a path of action,
but they may not be made to understand it.
- Confucius

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)

Crimson Stream Temple
At Crimson Peak the clouds are thickest;
But the mystic's road is clear though it turns
Again and again.

The mountain flowers, glistening with frosty dew,
Reflect the moon;
And safe within the stands of bamboo, a kingfisher bird
Scolds humanity.

At dawn, rain beats a tattoo on the rocks.
In a crazed sortie, the dragon strikes at distant retreats,
Making clouds come in so thick that morning turns to dusk.

By noon there's Armistice!
Sun and peace and a world that's fresh and new.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)

Passing My Estate at Shih-ning
Bobbed haired, irksome child, I longed to grow Upright,
and find fame for it…
But then I found things of this world,
and they held me.
Only yesterday, or it seems so, I let such
honorable ambition go…
two dozen years, in fact, the then to now.
Blackened, reamed, worn as a knight would
never be, my nature sullied , I’d betrayed,
forgotten, even the bright broad land itself.
Worn, wasted, wearied I’m shamed now
by anything upright and firm…
But stupidity and sickness may yet
be my salvation: these have brought me here again
to the very bosom of Silence.
I am empowered by the emblem of a Magistrate
to rule “The Blue Sea”, but first I’ll play King
of my own old hills a while.
Hiking the high places, and the low,
crossing, tracing a winding stream to its source.
Here are cliffs, crags and peaks, and
ranks of ridges, ranges,
like rock islets and bits of sand bar in sea surge.
White clouds wrap dark boulders.
Green bamboo writhe in shamanesses’ dances by the stream.
I’ll rethatch the roof with the view
of the river’s twistings, and raise up
a tower for viewing the peaks.
Then I’ll wave farewell to my village folk:
“A three year term, then I’ll return…
plant me grave yard evergreens, and
coffin wood trees. These
are my last wishes.

Zhan Shichuang (1841-1893)

Crossing Hangu Pass
         Zhan  Shichuanɡ

Long is the ancient road;
Towering the insurmountable pass.
Gone the Blue Buffalo, way beyond Hangu,
Only the Daode classic is with us
        millennia old.

Who is today's dweller of that cave house?
The white rooster's still there
        wandering in the courtyard.
The wheels roll on
        this Taoist tour of ours;
Destiny has brought us together
        from all corners of the world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fa Xing (?)

Cold rain tapping the roof of the house;
Hot tea warming the roof of my mouth;
Nothing else to do until my friend arrives...

Li Shangyin (813-858)

Falling Petals

Gone is the guest from the Chamber of Rank,
And petals, confused in my little garden,
Zigzagging down my crooked path,
Escort like dancers the setting sun.
Oh, how can I bear to sweep them away?
To a sad-eyed watcher they never return.
Heart's fragrance is spent with the ending of spring
And nothing left but a tear-stained robe.
Li Shangyin :

Monday, May 25, 2015

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Reading the Classic of Hills and Seas

In the summer grass and trees have grown.
Over my roof the branches meet.
Birds settle in the leaves.
I enjoy my humble place.
Ploughing’s done, the ground is sown,
Time to sit and read my book.
The narrow deeply-rutted lane
Means my friends forget to call.
Content, I pour the new Spring wine,
Go out and gather food I’ve grown.
A light rain from the East,
Blows in on a pleasant breeze.
I read the story of King Mu,
See pictures of the Hills and Seas.
One glance finds all of heaven and earth.
What pleasures can compare with these?

Note: King Mu (1001-947BC) of the Chou Dynasty dined with the Queen of the Immortals, Si Wang Mu, in the Western Paradise (among the Kun-lun mountains of Tibet). There she tended the garden where the peach-tree grew that supported the Universe. Her Paradise was that of exalted purity, the jade or pearl mountain, entered through a golden door. The peaches conferred immortality. She later visited Emperor Wu Ti of Han (r.141-97BC) riding on a white dragon, gave him a peach from the tree, and taught him the secrets of eternal life. Wu built a tower with a golden vase on its summit to collect the pure dew that dripped from the stars.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Han Yu (768-824)

Han YuOn the Festival of the Moon to Sub-official Zhang
The fine clouds have opened and the River of Stars is gone,
A clear wind blows across the sky, and the moon widens its wave,
The sand is smooth, the water still, no sound and no shadow,
As I offer you a cup of wine, asking you to sing.
But so sad is this song of yours and so bitter your voice
That before I finish listening my tears have become a rain:
"Where Lake Dongting is joined to the sky by the lofty Nine-Doubt Mountain,
Dragons, crocodiles, rise and sink, apes, flying foxes, whimper....
At a ten to one risk of death, I have reached my official post,
Where lonely I live and hushed, as though I were in hiding.
I leave my bed, afraid of snakes; I eat, fearing poisons;
The air of the lake is putrid, breathing its evil odours....
Yesterday, by the district office, the great drum was announcing
The crowning of an emperor, a change in the realm.
The edict granting pardons runs three hundred miles a day,
All those who were to die have had their sentences commuted,
The unseated are promoted and exiles are recalled,
Corruptions are abolished, clean officers appointed.
My superior sent my name in but the governor would not listen
And has only transferred me to this barbaric place.
My rank is very low and useless to refer to;
They might punish me with lashes in the dust of the street.
Most of my fellow exiles are now returning home –
A journey which, to me, is a heaven beyond climbing."
...Stop your song, I beg you, and listen to mine,
A song that is utterly different from yours:
"Tonight is the loveliest moon of the year.
All else is with fate, not ours to control;
But, refusing this wine, may we choose more tomorrow?"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wang Xizhi (303-361)

Nguyen Du (1765-1820)

Yellow Plum Bridge Evening View
        Nguyen Du 1765-1820

Over Yellow Plum Bridge
        sunset glow,
Below Yellow Plum Bridge
        river flows east.
My spirit floats
        beyond the blue sea,
Mountain mists 
        swallow turbulent river rapids.
Drapped in straw cape 
        a fisher man anchors alone
                under the moon,
On his long flute 
        he plays an open road tune
In this world everywhere 
        I find literary works
Men's hearts together always hurried

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Confucius (551-479BC)

Pole Star

The Master said,
“He who exercises government by means of his virtue
may be compared to the north polar star,
which keeps its place and all
the stars turn towards it.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

A Woman's Body has the fragrance of a Narcissus»
One should gaze long at King Chu's hill, then ascend it.
Midnight on the jade bed amid regretful dreams.
A flower opening beneath the thrust of the plum branch,
Rocking gently, gently her water-nymph thighs.
(Translated by Bernard Faure; «The Red Thread»)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wang Wei (701-761)

Peach Blossom Spring

A fisherman floated on, enjoying Spring.
The shores, he found, were covered in Peach Blossom.
Watched reddening trees, uncertain where he was.
Seeing no one reached green water springs.
There a way led through the hill.
Twisting, turning to a vast plain.
Distant trees rose to the clouds.
Houses stretched among bamboo and flowers.
Woodmen had names from times of Chou,
Clothes they wore were those of Ch’in,
Once had lived near Wu-ling River,
Now they lived outside the world.
Bright moon in pines. By their doors peace.
Sunrise. From clouds the wild birds call.
Amazed, they want to see this stranger,
Invite him; ask questions of his country.
At first light they sweep flowers from the gate.
At dusk fishermen, woodmen ride the stream.
They had sought refuge there from the world,
Became Immortals, never returned.

Who in those hills can know the world of men,
Who, gazing out, sees only clouds and hills?
He forgot Paradise is hard to find.
His spirit turned again to his own home.
Leaving those hidden streams and mountains,
Thought he could return when he wished,
Knew the way. How could he go wrong?
Who can know how hills and valleys alter?
He only knew the deep ways he wandered.
How many green streams in those cloudy woods?
When Spring comes a myriad Peach-filled rivers,
Who knows which one might lead to Paradise?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Yang Wanli (1127-1206)

Reading By The Window

I idly open a book of T'ang poems
and find a petal of peach blossom, still fresh.
I remember taking this book with me
to read among the flowers
and realize that another year has passed.
Yang Wanli :

Baizhang Huaihai (720-814)

Mazu, turning to his pupil: "What was that sound?"

Baizhang (innocently): "It was the cry of wild geese."

Mazu, after pausing: "Where have they gone?"

Baizhang: "They have flown away."

This was an unacceptably drab, straightforward answer for a Zen man, and in disgust Mazu whirled, grabbed Huaihai's nose, and twisted it until his disciple cried out in panic.
Mazu: "So you thought they had flown away. Yet they were here all the time.''

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Night Journey Thoughts

Bent grasses in slender breeze.
Boat’s mast high in empty night.
Starlight shining near the plain.
Moon floating on river’s light.
All this writing, but no name.
Illness and years, without a place.
Drifting, wandering, what am I?
A white bird over earth and sky.

Friday, May 15, 2015

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Days and months never take their time.
The four seasons keep bustling each other
away. Cold winds churn lifeless branches.
Fallen leaves cover long paths. We're frail,
crumbling more with each turning year.
Our temples turn white early, and once
your hair flaunts that bleached streamer,
the road ahead starts closing steadily in.
his house is an inn awaiting travelers,
and I yet another guest leaving. All this
leaving and leaving— where will I ever
end up? My old home's on South Mountain.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Spring Sleep

Pillow low quilt warm body smooth and steady
Sunshine room door cloth not open
Still have young spring air taste
Often brief arrive sleep at come
The pillow's low, the quilt is warm, the body smooth and peaceful,
Sun shines on the door of the room, the curtain not yet open.
Still the youthful taste of spring remains in the air,
Often it will come to you even in your sleep.
Bai Juyi :

Meng Haoran (691-740)

Meng HaoranReturning at Night to Lumen Mountain
A bell in the mountain-temple sounds the coming of night.
I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry,
While others follow the sand-bank to their homes along the river.
...I also take a boat and am bound for Lumen Mountain –
And soon the Lumen moonlight is piercing misty trees.
I have come, before I know it, upon an ancient hermitage,
The thatch door, the piney path, the solitude, the quiet,
Where a hermit lives and moves, never needing a companion.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Li Po (705-762)

Jade Stairs Grievance.

On jade stairs the white of dewfall.
Deeply soaked the silken slippers.
She lets fall the crystal blind.
Sees, through gauze, a Moon of Autumn.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shide (fl.9th cent.)

Cold Mountain Is A Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is a cold mountain
and Pickup was picked up
Big Stick knows our faces
fools can't recognize us

they don't see us when we meet
when they look we weren't there
if you wonder what's the reason
it's the power of doing nothing
Shide :

Zhang Jiuling (678-740)

Zhang Jiuling (678-740)
Gazing at the Moon, Longing from Afar


The sea
gives birth to a shining moon

As the other end of the world
shares this moment.

This sentimental man
resents a distant night

And the whole evening
gives rise to longing.

Extinguishing a candle,
feeling the fullness of moonlight

Putting on clothes
as I wake in heavy dew.

to fill my hands with this gift

I return to bed
and dream a lovely tryst.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Li Ch'ing-Chao (1084-1151)

To the tune “Everlasting Joy”
by Li Ch'ing-Chao (1084-1151)

The sun sets, molten gold.
The evening clouds form a jade disk.
Where is he?
A dense white mist envelops the willows.
A sad flute plays “Falling Plum Blossoms.”
How many Spring days remain?
This Feast of Lanterns should be joyful.
The weather is calm and lovely.
But who can say
If it may
be followed by wind and rain?
A friend sends her perfumed carriage
And high-bred horses to fetch me.
I decline the invitation of
My old poetry and wine companion.
I remember the happy days in the since-abandoned capital.
We took our ease in the women’s quarters.
The Feast of Lanterns was elaborately celebrated —
Golden pendants, emerald hairpins, brocaded girdles,
New sashes: we competed
To be the most fashionably dressed.
Now I am withering away:
thinning hair, graying temples.
I am embarrassed to go out this evening
Among girls in the flower of their youth.
I prefer to stay beyond the curtains,
listening to gossip and laughter
I can no longer share.

Yau Ywe-Hwa (Tang.)

 Still He Does Not Come
by Yau Ywe-Hwa (T'ang Dynasty)

I have been here a long time,
With silver candles
And sparkling wine,
Walking up to the gate
And back again,
Watching for him
Till it's nearly daylight.

Now the moon has set,
The stars are few,
And still he does not come.

Suddenly wingbeats drum
In the misty willows;
A magpie flies off.

In China the magpie is associated with happiness. In this case the happiness of the poetess is flying away.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Wang Wei (701-761)

Birds Calling in the Ravine
Wang Wei

 I'm idle, as osmanthus flowers fall,
This quiet night in spring, the hill is empty.
The moon comes out and startles the birds on the hill,
They don't stop calling in the spring ravine.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Alone in her Beauty

Who is lovelier than she?
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley.
She tells me she came from a good family
Which is humbled now into the dust.
…When trouble arose in the Kuan district,
Her brothers and close kin were killed.
What use were their high offices,
Not even shielding their own lives? –
The world has but scorn for adversity;
Hope goes out, like the light of a candle.
Her husband, with a vagrant heart,
Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade;
And when morning-glories furl at night
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side,
All he can see is the smile of the new love,
While the old love weeps unheard.
The brook was pure in its mountain source,
But away from the mountain its waters darken.
…Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls
For straw to cover the roof again,
She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair,
And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers,
And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold,
She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.

Tu Fu (712-770)

A Song of an old Cypress

Beside the Temple of the Great Premier stands an ancient cypress
With a trunk of green bronze and a root of stone.
The girth of its white bark would be the reach of forty men
And its tip of kingfish-blue is two thousand feet in heaven.
Dating from the days of a great ruler’s great statesman,
Their very tree is loved now and honoured by the people.
Clouds come to it from far away, from the Wu cliffs,
And the cold moon glistens on its peak of snow.
…East of the Silk Pavilion yesterday I found
The ancient ruler and wise statesman both worshipped in one temple,
Whose tree, with curious branches, ages the whole landscape
In spite of the fresh colours of the windows and the doors.
And so firm is the deep root, so established underground,
That its lone lofty boughs can dare the weight of winds,
Its only protection the Heavenly Power,
Its only endurance the art of its Creator.
Though oxen sway ten thousand heads, they cannot move a mountain.
…When beams are required to restore a great house,
Though a tree writes no memorial, yet people understand
That not unless they fell it can use be made of it….
Its bitter heart may be tenanted now by black and white ants,
But its odorous leaves were once the nest of phoenixes and pheasants.
…Let wise and hopeful men harbour no complaint.
The greater the timber, the tougher it is to use.

Tu Fu

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sengai Gibon (1750-1837)

         To what shall I compare this life of ours?
         Even before I can say
         it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop
         it is no more.

                           -    Sengai

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Li Po (701-762)

Everyone says that the Heng-chiang's great,
I say that Heng-chiang's awful--
Three days of steady wind blows the mountains over,
And white waves higher than Wa-kuan Tower.
In front of Heng-chiang Station
the ferry master meets me,
Faces me, points east where clouds
are rising from the sea.
Mister, why on earth
would you want to cross today?
With wind and waves like this
we just can't go.
Ring around the moon, wind from heaven,
fog unopening.
The sea's leviathans crush eastward;
rivers run back in their courses.
Waves shaken rise together,
Three Mountains moves.
My lord, cross not the river,
turn back home
(Translation by Stephen Owen)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pang Yun (740-808)

十方同聚會 The ten directions converging,
個個學無爲 Each learning to do nothing,
此是選佛場 This is the hall of Buddha's training;
心空及第歸 Mind's empty, all's finished.
P'ang Yün ( Hõ Un)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tantric Songs (8th-11th cent)

Who speaks the sound of an echo?
Who paints the image in a mirror?
Where are the spectacles in a dream?
Nowhere at all -- that's the nature of mind!
-   Tantric Buddhist Women's Songs,  8th - 11th c.

Li Bai (705-762)

Li BaiBallads of Four Seasons: Spring
The lovely Lo Fo of the western land
Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside.
Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand;
In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed.
"my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay.
Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Chia Tao (779-843)

Spring Travel

Keeping on and on,
a traveler gets farther, farther away;
dust of the world
follows an indefatigable horse.

A traveler's feelings
after the sun's rays slant-
colors of spring
in the morning mist.

The river's flow heard
at the empty inn-
flowers just blooming
at the old palace.

I think of home
a thousand li away;
wind off the pond
stirs in green willows.
Chia Tao :

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822)

Spring-Watching Pavilion

A gentle spring evening arrives
airily, unclouded by worldly dust.

Three times the bell tolls echoes like a wave.
We see heaven upside-down in sad puddles.

Love's vast sea cannot be emptied.
And springs of grace flow easily everywhere.

Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.
Ho Xuan Huong :