Climbing Green-Crag Mountain at Young Chia

A hermit will always walk the level Way,
Yet his goal lies higher than anyone knows:
Utter tranquility, no distinction between this and that.
I will embrace this primal unity,
wisdom and silence woven together,
nature thereafter healing me.

Hsieh Ling-Yun

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The Faithful will say

The faithful will say on the last day, “O King!

Was not Hell on the route all of us travelled?

Did not faithful as well as infidels pass through it?

Yet on our way we perceived not the smoke of the fire;

Nay, it seemed Paradise and the mansion of the blessed.”

Then the King will answer, “That green garden,

As it appeared to you on your passage through it,

Was indeed Hell and the place of dread torment;

Yet for you it became a garden green with trees.

Since you have laboured to make hellish lusts,

And the fire of pride that courts destruction,-

To make these, I say, pure and clean,-

And, to please God, have quenched those fires,

So that the fire of lust, that erst breathed flame,

Has become a holy garden and a guiding light,-

Since you have turned the fire of wrath to meekness,

And the darkness of ignorance to shining knowledge,

Since you have turned the fire of greed into bounty,

And the vile thorns of malice into a rose-garden;

Since you have quenched all these fires of your own

For my sake, so that those poisons are now pure sweets;-

Since you have made fiery lust as a verdant garden,

And have sowed therein the seed of fidelity,

So that nightingales of prayer and praise

Ever warble sweetly around this garden;-

Since you have responded to the call of God,

And drawn water out of the hell of lust,-

For this cause my hell also, for your behoof,

Becomes a verdant garden and yields leaves and fruit.”
Rumi

Luna

Her antiquity in preceding and surviving succeeding tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.

James Joyce

Extract from, ‘Ulysses’.

Stone Gate Mountains highest peak

At dawn, staff in hand, I climb the crags,
and by dusk settle among the mountains.
Scarcely a peak rises as high as this hut
facing crags and overlooking winding streams.
Forests stretch before the mountain’s open gate
boulders heaped round its very steps.
Mountains crowd around, blocking out roads.
Trails wander into bamboo thickets.
Visitors lose their way on coming up
or forget the paths leading home when they descend.
Raging torrents rush through the dusk,
Monkeys howl throughout the night.
Deep in meditation I hold the inner pattern,
nurturing the Way, never severing from it.
My heart is one with the autumn trees,
My eyes delight in the flowering of spring.
I inhabit the constant and await my end,
Content to dwell in peace, accepting the flux of things.
I only regret that there is no kindred spirit here
to climb this ladder of sky and clouds with me.

Hsieh Ling-yun

The Lake of Beauty

Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world, and the immense the boundless treasures that it holds in store.

All that you have within you, all that your heart desires, all that your Nature so specially fits for you- that or the counterpart of it waits for you embedded in the great Whole, for you. It will surely come to you.

Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands will make no difference.

Therefore do not begin that game at all.

Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind in this direction and in that, lest you become like a spring lost and dissipated in the desert.

But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them still, so still.

And let them become clear, so clear- so limpid, so mirror-like;

At last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in peaceful beauty.

And the antelope shall descend to drink, and to gaze at his reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,

And Love himself shall come and bend over, and catch his own likeness in you.

Edward Carpenter

Endless Events

I gaze on myself in the stream’s emerald flow
or sit on a boulder by a cliff,
My mind a lonely cloud leans on nothing
and needs nothing from the world and its endless events.

Han Shan

Abandon this fleeting world

The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way.

Ryokan

Searching for the Essence

Mild and moist were the months of spring;
Cool and clear is the white season of autumn.
Now the dew congeals, no longer drifting mists.
The sky is high, the landscape sharp and clear.
Soaring peaks rise from yonder mountain range —
Seen from here, their lofty beauty is unsurpassed.
Fragrant chrysanthemums deck the woods with splendor;
The green pines stand in rows above the cliff.
I admire their beauteous grandeur,
Elegant and lofty under the frost.
Holding my wine cup, I toast to the mystics
Who once roamed along the pines.
Searching for the essence I have not yet acquired,
Reluctantly I await the rising moon.


T’ao Yuan-Ming

After trying many years

After trying many years, and then
near death, the able man may know
an image living in the alpine stone.
If at all, the high and new come slowly,
and, for us, they do not last so long.
Oh my beloved! nature’s like that too,
who tried for beauty times untold
until she triumphed, and made you.
Yet by that token she is old
and almost at the end of her career.
So terror, which is always near
to beauty, feeds desire strange food.
My mind falls silent and no longer says
if joy or pain be more: the sight
of you calls forth the End of Days,
yet gives me great delight.

Michaelangelo

Songs of Life and Hope

Brother,you who have the light, tell me mine.
I am like a blind man. I go without direction and fumble along.
I go under tempests and storms,
blind with fantasy and crazy with harmony.

That is my malady. Dreaming. Poetry
is the iron jacket with a thousand bloody points
I wear upon my soul. The bloodstained thorns
spill the drops of my melancholy. 

And so I go, blind and crazy, through this bitter world;
at times it seems to me that the path is very long,
and at times that it’s very short…

And in this back-and-forth between eagerness and agony, 
I am full of woes I can hardly bear.
Don’t you hear the drops of my melancholy falling?

Ruben Dario