Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Han Shan - Cold Mountain

Some might laugh at my poems but no matter --
they’re fine just as they are, and fun besides!

They need no commentary, no studious explanation,
not even any signature.

Who even cares if they're read or not --
certainly not me!

The pine just sprouts needles,
the wind just blows.

I have no literary pretense, no wordy ambition,
but still, these poems can offer a taste of light.

If you would read my poems,
prepare yourself well: be pure of mind.

Open your tight-fisted heart; flatter none
but honesty with your authentic voice.

From the bag of Self, unpack selfishness;
refolding what remains, your Buddha-body.

This is your first assignment. Do it now,
and quickly. I speak the law of what's true.

In our hearts, I'm not the same as you --
if in your heart you should become like me,
then you can reach the core of it too.

I choose to bray at the cock-eyed moon,
to dance through mountain clouds at dawn.

Why bury my hands in my sleeves,
place a lock on my tongue, tie legs in knots
and sit like a stone?

My hair flows and cascades!

Among the winding creeks and towering crags
there lives a happy hermit of a man.

In daylight he wanders freely 'round the mountain,
intoxicated by the mere existence of anything.

At night he sleeps wherever he pleases,
at home in any cave or pine needle nest.

Let all the springs and summers pass themselves,
selfless peace and serenity wrap around him
like a robe of comfy light.

What a great and indescribable pleasure -
Real Freedom!

Suchness sometimes means just sitting,
relaxing, in a cool autumn stream.

On Tien-Tai Mountain I make my home,
clouds and fog keep the tourists away.

This very life is a magic picnic
laden with oodles of bliss!

Tzon Tze said:

`The good death you are having
makes the earth and sky your coffin.'

The Unborn is prior to this world --
it has no form, health or disease.

It's the master of all things,
following nothing, at rest in all.

Climbing Cold Mountain --
the path forward never seems to end.

In the long stream there are many stones;
on either shore the grass is the same.

White clouds silently drape the hillside,
the peaks are obscured in the morning mists.

Building my hut was easy enough -- just borrowed
some light from essence of moonshine.

Wild deer make an excellent audience!

A man beyond both existence and non-existence,
I thoroughly enjoy this beautiful life!

Birth and death are just like water and ice.
Water becomes ice and ice turns to water.

There is nothing otherwise.

Han Shan-Tze,
Ever Thus!

Living alone --
no birth, no death!

I stand on the peak, lit by bright sunshine,
gazing out at the clear blue sky.

Crane and friendly clouds fly by, beckoning me
to pick flowers down by the lovely riverbank!

We play till dusk, watch wind rising, waves rippling,
water birds lifted on wings of flight.

Afloat in this boat my mind expands --
no place to hide, essence of space!

Now the old year is gone, the spring has come.
Flowers smile at the stream, cliffs dance
playfully in clouds and mist!

Butterflies seem so glad, while
fish and birds are sporting like mad!

Our friendship is endless, I am so happy
I can no longer sleep!

How sublime is this nature --
creation with no creature therein!

The Tao is like a stream from nowhere,
yet there is water in every mouth!

I gaze far off at Cold Mountain's summit,
alone and aloft above the crowding peaks.

Pines and bamboo sing in the swaying winds,
sea tides wash beneath the shining moon.

I gaze at the mountain's green borders below
and ponder philosophy with the puff-ball clouds.

In the wilderness mountains and forests are fine, but
I yearn for my companion to delight in this Way.

Many claim that Han Shan was the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri. People say a lot of things, but Han Shan paid little mind to the opinions of dreamers and interpretations of myth-makers, choosing instead to play among the peaks and white clouds of his beloved Cold Mountain, and leave the world behind.

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