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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Wandering on Mt. Lu (by Hui Yuan)

This is a poem I came across online that is attributed to Hui Yuan, who is designated as the first patriarch of the Pure Land school of Buddhism.  His dates are given as 334-416 AD, which means he predates Bodhidharma's arrival in China by more than two centuries.  As such this is the oldest Chinese enlightenment poem I've yet come across in the Mahayana tradition.  It's quite remarkable, at least to me, that Chinese monks chose to convey the essence of spiritual awakening through poetry so long before it became customary practice during the Tang Dynasty. 

On a cliff sublime
That emits the purest qi
In a cave remote
Dwelling amidst
Traces of divinity
I hear the music of
A flute that resounds from
The surrounding peaks
And fades away beneath
A solitary guest wandering
From the lower depths
Has found the right path
To pursue forgetfulness

Here I raise my hands and
Caress the cloudy gate
Alert yet cloaked in peace
Surpassingly open
As what flows forth is
A knock unheard before
Upon the mysterious gate
A sense of arrival at what
Is inseparable from
The essence within
Which soars to
The ninth heaven
Without the slightest effort
Buoyant as a feather
How exquisite to be
So much at one
To attain all three realms
In a single transcendent leap




Mt. Lu is depicted above in the painting by Jing Hao ,which dates back to the Five Dynasties period.  Mt. Lu was the site where Hui Yuan built Donglin Temple and to this day it is considered to be sacred ground for Pure Land practitioners.  The photo below suggests that the place seems to have retained some distinctive traces of divinity - a suitable spot, among other things, for caressing the cloudy gate, either without or within.


1 comment:

  1. lovely, new to me ..

    you may enjoy www.selfdiscoveryportal.com .. some wonderful things in a similar vein