Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih
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Popularized in the West by Beat Generation writers Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac, T’ang-era rebel poet Han Shan is an icon of Chinese poetry and Zen. He and his sidekick, Shih Te, are known as the laughing, ragged pair who left their poetry on stones, trees, farmhouses, and monastery walls, calling others to “the Cold Mountain way” of simple, honest, joyful living.
J. P. Seaton takes a fresh look at these poets, as well as at Wang Fan-chih, who followed in the outsider tradition a few centuries later. Forceful and wry, all three condemn the excesses of mind and matter that prevent people from attaining true enlightenment. With a comprehensive introduction and commentary throughout, this collection points to where, in a world that’s always moving and so full of suffering, stillness and clarity can be found.
If you can learn to want no more, you might become a real, real man. X There are few these days who do not, seeing, sigh, that we’re all toads, that would be geese, soaring above the Northern Borderlands. Fly, and all that’s blue is yours. And yet, on foot, the mud’s all yours to muddle onward in. Wang Fan-chih XI Begging can get you a good living, get you past hunger and cold. The shaved pates on these Taoist monks, ride over nice pudgy cheeks. XII Every one, on every day, they come for the
paper. For more information please visit www.shambhala.com. Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc., and in Canada by Random House of Canada Ltd Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hanshan, 1546–1623. Cold mountain poems: Zen poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan- chih/translated by J. P. Seaton. p. cm.—(Shambhala library) Includes bibliographical references and index. eisbn 978-0-8348-2187-3 isbn 978-1-59030-646-8 (hardcover: alk. paper) 1. Zen poetry,
life’s grown from old roots on Cold Mountain, 65 My mind’s the autumn moon, 24 My old landlady, 31 My poems are poems, 77 No charcoal for heat, 87 Not going, not coming, 83 Now your modern day monk’s, 84 Oh I’ve been poor before, for sure, 55 Oh Wise Gentlemen, ignore me!, 29 Old, sick, last years, hundred and some so far, 61 Once we start our work, it’s heart in hand, 51 Parrots live in the Western Lands, 27 People ask about the Cold Mountain way, 27 Pigs eat dead man meat, 37 Ranges, ridges,
of Wang Fan-chih, The Buddhist Layman 85 Notes to the Poems Index of First Lines 99 123 vii This page intentionally left blank. Cold Mountain Poems This page intentionally left blank. Introduction H an Shan and Shih Te have been the most popular icons of Mahayana Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism in particular, for more than a thousand years. Their poetry traveled to Japan nearly as quickly as Zen itself, and there, as in China, it inspired a popular and long-lasting tradition of
and listen to the birds sing. And who should come by from time to time to sigh their admiration? The woodcutters quite often do! XII Since I came to dwell up on Cold Mountain how many ten thousands of years have gone by . . . Accepting chance and change, I hid away by a spring in a grove; perched there, just watching, I was satisfied. Not many come, out among these cliffs, but white clouds sometimes touch, and pass . . . Soft grass to lie down on, blue sky for covers. Pillowed on a rock. Happy,