Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Qiang Village (1)
Du Fu

Red clouds tower in the west,
The sun is sinking on the plain.
A sparrow chirps on the wicker gate,
I return from a thousand li away.
My wife and children are shocked to see me,
Then calm themselves and wipe their tears.
I floated through this disordered life,
By chance I have managed to return alive.
The neighbours all lean over the wall,
And they as well are sighing and sobbing.
Late at night we bring out candles,
And face each other as in a dream.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Meng Haoran (689-740)

Meng Haoran (689-740):  A Morning in Spring
 In spring, I sleep, unaware morning is here,
From near then far, trilling songbirds I hear;
In the night's pitter-patter of winds and rains though mild,
How many fallen petals? Know not, I fear!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Li Qi (690-751)

Li QiAn Old War-song
Through the bright day up the mountain, we scan the sky for a war-torch;
At yellow dusk we water our horses in the boundaryriver;
And when the throb of watch-drums hangs in the sandy wind,
We hear the guitar of the Chinese Princess telling her endless woe....
Three thousand miles without a town, nothing but camps,
Till the heavy sky joins the wide desert in snow.
With their plaintive calls, barbarian wildgeese fly from night to night,
And children of the Tartars have many tears to shed;
But we hear that the Jade Pass is still under siege,
And soon we stake our lives upon our light warchariots.
Each year we bury in the desert bones unnumbered,
Yet we only watch for grape-vines coming into China.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Decheng (?-860)

Decheng (?-860)
Gatha by the Boatman Monk

A thousand-foot fishing line hangs straight down.

One wave moves, ten thousand follow.

The night is still, the water cold, the bait untouched.

The empty boat carries home a full load of moonlight.

Lingche (746-816)

Lingche (746-816)
At Dong Lin Monastery: in Answer to Governor Wei Dan
In old age my mind is not bothered by worldly affairs.

A hempen robe and sitting mat will do for me.

Everyone I meet praises retirement from office,

but do you see any of them down here in the woods?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Du Fu

A wanderer hears drums portending battle.
By the first call of autumn from a wildgoose at the border,
He knows that the dews tonight will be frost.
...How much brighter the moonlight is at home!
O my brothers, lost and scattered,
What is life to me without you?
Yet if missives in time of peace go wrong --
What can I hope for during war?

Chia Tao (779-843)

Chia Tao (779-843)
The solitary bird
loves the wood;
your heart also
not of this world.

Seeing Off Spring on the Last Day of April
When April reaches its thirtieth day
your wind and light forsake a poor poet
I don’t want to sleep with you tonight
until the dawn bell you’re still spring

Zhuangzi (369 bc-286bc)

The perfect man has no self;
the spiritual man has no achievement;
the sage has no name.
-   Chuang Tzu

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ch'i-chi (864-937) Pao T'an ( cent.)

Ch’i-chi (864-937)
On my pillow little by little waking,
suddenly I hear a single cicada cry -
at that moment I know I have not died.

Pao T’an (tenth century)
Frosty wind
Raises deep night,
Missing onlyA gibbon’s howl.clouds feature image 1 winter 1998

Chia Tao (779-843)

Chia Tao (779-843).

Fresh moss covers
the stone bed;
how many springtimes
was it the Master’s?

His profile in meditation
has been sketched;
but the body of the meditator
has been burned.

Snow in the pines
has closed the pagoda courtyard;
dust settles in the the lock
on the sutra library.

I chide myself
for these two tears —
a man who hasn’t grasped
the empty nature of all things.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chih Yan (b.976)

Chih Y an (b. 976)
Living in Poverty
The stove
In my mountain kitchen
Is tracked with blue moss.
Dust fills the almsbowl.
There isn’t any food.
A pity
Mice and sparrows
Haven’t learned about poverty yet,
Drilling into the room, drilling
Through the walls.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308)

Yellow Orioles Don't Know
        Tran Nhan Tong 1258-1308

I raise the blind
        watch the flowers
                after rising,
Angry at the spring wind
        orioles cease singing.
Beyond the western pavillion
        the sun indifferently sets,
Flowers and branches
        bend their shadows to the east.

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Zhuangzi, The Monist
Bai Juyi 772-846

Zhuangzi levels all things
And reduces them the same Monad.
But I say that even in their sameness
Difference may be found.
Although in following the promptings of their nature
They display the same tendency,
Yet it seems to me that in some ways
A phoenix is superior to a reptile!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bodhidharma (5th or 6th cent)

Cen Can (?)

Cen CanA Song of Running-horse River in Farewell to General Feng of the Western Expedition
Look how swift to the snowy sea races Running-Horse River! –
And sand, up from the desert, flies yellow into heaven.
This Ninth-month night is blowing cold at Wheel Tower,
And valleys, like peck measures, fill with the broken boulders
That downward, headlong, follow the wind.
...In spite of grey grasses, Tartar horses are plump;
West of the Hill of Gold, smoke and dust gather.
O General of the Chinese troops, start your campaign!
Keep your iron armour on all night long,
Send your soldiers forward with a clattering of weapons!
...While the sharp wind's point cuts the face like a knife,
And snowy sweat steams on the horses' backs,
Freezing a pattern of five-flower coins,
Your challenge from camp, from an inkstand of ice,
Has chilled the barbarian chieftain's heart.
You will have no more need of an actual battle! –
We await the news of victory, here at the western pass!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hsin Hsin Ming (d.606)

One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

LIU YÜ-HSI (772-842)



HILLS surround the ancient kingdom; they never change.
The tide beats against the empty city, and silently, silently, returns.
To the East, over the Huai River – the ancient moon.
Through the long, quiet night it moves, crossing the battlemented wall.

Luo Binwang (640-684)

Ode to the Goose
Luo Binwang

Goose, goose, goose,
You bend your neck towards the sky and sing.
Your white feathers float on the emerald water,
Your red feet push the clear waves.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lao Tzu (c.500 BC)

Lao Zi (circa 500 BCE): Dao De Jing Chapter 60
(Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching Chapter 60)

       Rule a large country as one would cook a small fish!

       Rule the world in accordance with the Way of Dao,
       The evil spirits would lose their potency;
       Not that they are not at all potent, but that,
       In their potency, they harm not the people;
       Not only, in their potency, they harm not the people,
       The sage ruler, too, would do no harm to the people.
    It is because the ruler and the people do not harm each other
    That the Virtue of De, reciprocating, returns and reigns.

Wang Wei (701-761)

The Cornel Grove
Wang Wei

When bearing fruit it's red and green,
As if the flowers were budding again.
If a guest remains on the hill,
Set a cup of cornel here.

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.

Sunday, April 19, 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?

Hui Yung (332-414)

Translating Sutras
We go on unwinding the wool
from the web of their meaning :
words of the Sutras
day by day leap forth .
Head on we’ve
chased the miracle
of Dharma :
here are no mere scholars .
Moon Sitting
High mountain cascades froth .
This wild temple owns few lamps .
Sit facing the glitter
of the moon: out of season
heart of ice .

Huang 0 (1498-1569)

 To the tune “Soaring Clouds”
by Huang O

You held my lotus blossom
In your lips and played with the
Pistil. We took one piece of
Magic rhinoceros horn
And could not sleep all night long.
All night the cock’s gorgeous crest
Stood erect. All night the bee
Clung trembling to the flower
Stamens. Oh my sweet perfumed
Jewel! I will allow only
My lord to possess my sacred
Lotus pond, and every night
You can make blossom in me
Flowers of fire.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Li Qi (690-751)

Li Qi
A Lute Song
Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,
Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.
Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,
Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;
But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,
And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.
Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:
A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin....
But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,
And so it's farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Meng Haoran (691-740)

Visiting An Old Friend On His Farm
Meng Haoran

My old friend's prepared a meal of chicken and millet,
And invited me to join him at his farmhouse.
The village is surrounded by green trees,
Blue hills slope up beyond the city wall.
The window opens onto the vegetable garden,
Where holding wine, we talk of mulberry and hemp.
We are looking forward to the autumn festival,
When I'll return to see the chrysanthemums bloom.

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

you stand inside me naked infinite love
the dawn bell rips my dreaming heart

—  Ikkyu Sojun

Mumonkan, (case 37)

A monk asked Joshu, "What is the meaning of Bodidharma's coming to China?"  Joshu said,
    "The oak tree in the front garden."
A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the living meaning of Zen?."   Zhaozhou said,
    "The cypress tree in the courtyard."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Li Bai (701-762)

Li Bai (701--762): Night Thoughts
  Before my bed, the moonlight so bright,
  Be frost on the ground, I suppose it might.
  I raise my head and the moon I behold, then
  I lower it, brooding: I’m homesick tonight.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wang Zhi Huan (688-742)

Climbing White Stork Tower
Wang Zhi Huan

The midday sun slips behind mountains
The Yellow River turns for the sea
Trying to see for a thousand miles
I climb one more story

Wang Zhihuan (688-742)

Wang ZhihuanAt Heron Lodge
Mountains cover the white sun,
And oceans drain the golden river;
But you widen your view three hundred miles
By going up one flight of stairs.

Meng Chiao (751-814)

"Impromptu "

Keep away from sharp swords
Don't go near a lovely woman.
A sharp sword too close will wound your hand;
Woman's beauty too close will wound your life!
The danger of the road is not in the distance;
Ten yards is far enough to break a wheel.
The peril of love is not in loving too often;
A single evening can leave its wound in the soul.

Li Bai (705-762)

Li Bai
The Moon at the Fortified Pass
The bright moon lifts from the Mountain of Heaven
In an infinite haze of cloud and sea,
And the wind, that has come a thousand miles,
Beats at the Jade Pass battlements....
China marches its men down Baideng Road
While Tartar troops peer across blue waters of the bay....
And since not one battle famous in history
Sent all its fighters back again,
The soldiers turn round, looking toward the border,
And think of home, with wistful eyes,
And of those tonight in the upper chambers
Who toss and sigh and cannot rest.