I built my hut within where others live,
But there is no noise of carriages and horses.
You ask how this is possible:
When the heart is distant, solitude comes.
I pluck chrysanthemums by the eastern fence
And see the distant southern mountains.
The mountain air is fresh at dusk.
Flying birds return in flocks.
In these things there lies a great truth,
But when I try to express it, I cannot find the words. – T’ao Ch’ien
The Last Evening Of November…
Quiet, the dog wanders the house.
Shared cider with friends, Morgan’s Birthday, it seems.
Sickle Moon on the Western Horizon, clear air, the stars dance.
I ask nothing and receive everything, I desire and obtain not a thing.
Lamb – Angelica
A monk and his novice were walking through the forest. They come to a stream. On the bank there was a beautifully dressed woman, crying. The monks asked her what was the matter. “I am on my way to a wedding. I have to cross the stream to get there, but the bridge has been washed away. I was searching for a place to cross where I wouldn’t ruin the dress, but I can’t find one and if I don’t make it across soon, I will be late.”
Without a word, the elder monk scooped her into his arms, waded across the stream, and deposited her on the other side. Ignoring her thanks, he waded back and the two monks resume their walk. They continued on their journey, but the younger monk was agitated and obviously had something on his mind. The elder monk stopped and asked him what was the matter.
“Elder, I am confused. Our vows prohibit us from fleshly contact with women, yet you embraced that woman in your arms. How can this be?” The elder monk eyed his novice with kindly concern. “Novice,” he asked, “I left her on the bank of the stream. Why do you still carry her?”
There was once a monk who would carry a mirror where ever he went. A priest noticed this one day and thought to himself “This monk must be so preoccupied with the way he looks that he has to carry that mirror all the time. He should not worry about the way he looks on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.” So the priest went up to the monk and asked “Why do you always carry that mirror?” thinking for sure this would prove his guilt.
The monk pulled the mirror from his bag and pointed it at the priest. Then he said “I use it in times of trouble. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems as well as the solution to my problems.”
Once there was a horse tied up on the side of the street. Whenever someone tried to pass, the horse would kick them. Soon a crowd gathered around the horse until a wise man was seen coming close. The people said “This horse will surely kill anyone who tries to pass. What are we going to do?” The wise man looked at the horse, turned and walked down another street.
Climbing the Mountain
I burned incense, swept the earth, and waited
for a poem to come…
Then I laughed, and climbed the mountain,
leaning on my staff.
How I’d love to be a master
of the blue sky’s art:
see how many sprigs of snow-white cloud
he’s brushed in so far today.
A month alone behind closed doors
forgotten books, remembered, clear again.
Poems come, like water to the pool
up and out,
from perfect silence
Lu Tung Pin
People may sit till the cushion is worn through
People may sit till the cushion is worn through,
But never quite know the real Truth:
Let me tell about the ultimate Tao:
It is here, enshrined within us.
What is Tao?
What is Tao?
It is just this.
It cannot be rendered into speech.
If you insist on an explanation,
This means exactly this.
Feng-kan (Big Stick)
Actually there isn’t a thing
much less any dust to wipe away
who can master this
doesn’t need to sit there stiff
Sinking like a rock in the sea
drifting through the Three Worlds
poor ethereal creature
ever immersed in scenes
until a flash of lightning shows
life and death are dust in space
Around my door and yard no dust or noise
Around my door and yard no dust or noise.
In my bare rooms, no busyness.
After so long a prisoner in a cage
I have returned to things as they are
In youth I could not do what everyone else did
In youth I could not do what everyone else did;
It was my nature to love the mountains and hills.
By mistake I got caught in the dusty snare,
I went away and stayed for thirteen years.
Lamb – Gorecki
Success and failure? No known address.
This or that goes on, depending on the other.
And who can say if Milord Shao was happier
ruling a city, or sacked, his excellent melon patch?
Hot, cold, summer, winter: don’t they alternate?
Mayn’t a man’s way wander on just so?
Yes, those who “get there” know their opportunities…
have learned to untie the knots of knowledge.
But was it the notable or the notorious that our Sage spoke of?
The latter he called opportunists. Those who get there, doubtless,
know doubt nor care no more. Yet, doubt you not, nor do dead generals,
who plotted carefully at what seemed opportune,
and knew naught, right or wrong.
If, of a sudden, you’re offered fine wine,
let the sun sink. Enjoy it. – T’ao Ch’ien