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Saturday, December 16, 2017

What Resides Inside the Body of Dharma (by Wang Wei)

This poem by Wang Wei is not easy to understand or to translate but I decided to give it a try anyway this morning.  Whatever its poetic merits may be, it is full of elliptical Chan insight. Maybe the best way to enjoy it is as a poetic gloss on Mahayana Buddhism -- emptiness that lacks all emptiness perhaps being the poet's way of reformulating the Mahayana notion that all dharmas are essentially dharma-less! 

A Summer Visit to Azure Dragon Monastery 
to Visit Chan Master Cao

A feeble old man
Walks slowly
Through the Chan temple
Come to pay respects

Yearning to inquire about
The meaning at the heart of meaning
And to reach understanding of
Emptiness that lacks all emptiness

Mountains rivers and sky
All beheld within the eye
The entire world resides
Inside the body of Dharma

There’s nothing strange
Everything melts in scorching heat
And soon it will be reborn
From the union of wind and earth


龙钟一老翁     徐步
山河天眼里     世界法身中
莫怪     能生大地

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