Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Little Han Shan

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.

Han Shan was a Chinese hermit who lived in a world called Cold Mountain in the T'ien-t'ai Range that spans the coast of Chekiang Province, south of the Bay of Hangchow, in the late eighth or early ninth century. Mostly what we know of him originates from a mysterious intuition that is shared by that which is Free in all of us, and from a preface, written by a T'ang Dynasty official named Lu-ch'iu Yin, for Han Shan's collected Cold Mountain Poems:
"He looked like a tramp. His body and face were old and beat. Yet in every word he breathed was a meaning in line with the subtle principles of things, if only you thought of it deeply. Everything he said had a feeling of the Tao in it, profound and arcane secrets. His hat was made of birch bark, his clothes were ragged and worn out, and his shoes were wood. Thus men who have made it hide their tracks: unifying categories and interpenetrating things."
Lu-ch'iu Yin sent clean clothes and incense to Kuo-ch'ing Temple, near Cold Mountain, asking that the gifts be delivered to Han Shan and his friend Shih Teh. But on the approach of the messenger, Han Shan disappeared inside a mountain cave. Shih Teh vanished too. Lu-ch'iu Yin then asked the monks to collect any of the poems they left behind.
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.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Amritanubhav, by Jnaneshwar

Moved by a love indescribable, we adorn ourselves with the passionate radiance of each other's dreamy form, Lover and Beloved, to celebrate the engaging mystery of duality's play of conciousness.

How amazing, this miracle of Love -- that the Beauty we are can know and honor itself as two, not-two!

You and I both share the same unspeakable Divinity, and are consumed in the same fire at the Heart.

At the playful banquet of our dervish delight, we have become each other's hunger, food, and satisfaction.

What elegant sufficiency is this!

If they say we are two, we say, "Not so!" If they say we are one, we can only smile in reply and skip away.

No one can say exactly what we are, nor can we.

What use are names and forms to such lovers, for whom the whole multiverse is one great juicy plum!

Our yearning is our secret -- what greater bliss than this?

It's our yearning that draws us into these luminous forms so we can gaze back upon our essential unity in awe and wonder, clapping and spilling warm tears of pure happiness!

What can disturb this unity, if there is nothing else but this unity itself?

Even to call it "Unity" is a kind of superimposition, a puny fantasy of knowing in the face of the magnificent Unknown of our true being.

Even though the entire world of apparent phenomena is but a tiny cell within our infinite body, never for a moment do we let some sense of separation come between us.

Both the sentient and inanimate arise, sustain, and dissolve within our own vast emptiness, so why talk about an "other"?

Wrapped in robes of golden light, we dwell together in the same heart, as that very heart itself.

Reclining on the perpetually flowering blossom called "Endless", we persist, indivisible, and yet out of such Supreme Enjoyment we have conjured a magical sense of self and not-self with which to play.

In child-like innocence, we've dreamed a fictional story of "you" and "I", but when our true intimacy is recognized, we cannot help but drop off the different masks and merge again into our prior union.

Without you there is no me, and without me there is no you. I am, because you are, and you are, because I am.

How sweet is that, how utterly sublime!

Although even the immensity of the universal manifestation is too small to harbor us, nevertheless we can blissfully exist within the smallest atom.

Your life is mine, mine is yours. Not even a blade of grass can grow between us.

We live in a house called "The Vastness".

When you doze off, I stay up all night and act out both our roles. You do the same for me. What ingenious fun!

When we awaken in each other's arms, the whole multiverse dissolves into quiescent extinction without remainder.

For the sake of the game, we pretend to be two, but the aim is always to realize again our basis -- Oneness.

We're both seen and see together, live and are lived together, by virtue of the sheer divine perfection that we are.

Such is our happiness, that we have become all polarities: light and dark, male and female, day and night, hot and cold, hard and soft, yes and no, and yet we are also beyond both affirmation and denial. Beyond even that!

Through our union, everything has its existence. By the light of our Presence, all becomes visible, bright and alive.

Two voices, one sound.

Two flowers, one scent.

Twin flames, one light.

Two lips, one kiss.

Two eyes, one vision.

God and Goddess, one celestial realm.

Though appearing as two, forever united.

Always drinking from the same chalice, always dining from the same bowl.

You cannot live without me, and without you, I cannot even appear.

How can we be told apart?

I appear because of you, you exist because of me.

Who can tell honey from its sweetness, or wetness from water?

The sun and its light are not two, and so it is with you and I.

The world of form and function is but our playful reflection.

If "to be" meant to be many, none of this endless multiplicity could be, unless we are.

Whatever appears is mind, but we are before mind.

Out of pure emptiness, the unspeakable void, you gave birth to the entire cosmos.

In Union, nothing is seen or known, so out of the abundance of your grace, you brought forth the multiverse as your happy play.

I assume the Witness position, out of love of watching you.

What I behold is your inifinite form -- a Glory words can't touch.

You adorn me with that very Glory, by melting yourself and becoming everything, and all I need do is step out of the way!

In the incomparable thrill of watching you, I can behold the grand totality of the cosmic manifestation. Amazing!

If I couldn't exult in your creative dance, I wouldn't have even come here.

I'd have no reason to exist.

I assume the form of all phenomena as a robe you've woven out of love for me. Without your gift, I'd be naked.

It is only through your graciousness that I appear.

You awaken me and serve me a breakfast the size of the galaxies.

It is good!

I swallow the floating worlds in a single gulp, and then I swallow you too!

This makes us laugh out loud, and we are consumed in pure joy.

Look! Now I am hiding, and can't be found without you, because we are mirrors for each other, each revealing the other.

Since there is no other, this makes us laugh all the more!

Embracing you, I embrace my own bliss.

The love I bring to you is your own love, circling back to you in return.

The simple mechanics of this natural loving is our supreme happiness, though in reality nothing happens. This recognition makes us even happier!

We enjoy the nectar of union by blending and merging, though we have never been separated.

For true lovers, this is no paradox.

Though all the joy of the world is mine, there is no joy without you.

Shiva and Shakti are one, like incense and its fragrance, like fire and its heat, and cannot be separated.

If night and day were returned to the sun, there would be no difference between them.

In the same way, the veil of duality would dissolve if our essential unity was realized.

In the Light of the Supreme Truth, there is no difference between Shakti and Shiva, nor between you and I, Beloved.

When we discover our prior Unity, all words, thoughts, and interpretations melt into silence.

Still, the ocean can enjoy its waves, just as a flower its own fragrance.

Likewise, all can enjoy the vision of Shiva and Shakti, even though there is no real and enduring separation from them.

When the wind becomes still, ripples merge back into the water. When the night is over and dawn breaks through, the one who was sleeping awakens.

Just so, when the sense of separate self is seen through and abandoned, as if it were merely last night's dream, all returns to the clear light of Union.

When the lid is removed from a jar, the air inside rushes out spontaneously and merges with the outside air.

This is how we honor our fundamental truth -- by joyfully seeing through and discarding all superimpositions and facades of separation, thus realizing our prior and immortal nature -- Union.