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寒山 Hanshan (active 627-649)

(Rōmaji:) Kanzan
(English:) "Cold Mountain"
(Magyar:) Han-san,


Hanshan shi 寒山詩 (Poems of Hanshan), 2 fascicles. Full title Hanshan shi ji
寒山詩集; also known as the Sanyin ji 三隠集 (Collection of the three recluses).
A collection of the poems of the three semi-legendary hermits Hanshan 寒
山, Shide 拾得, and Fenggan 豊干, who are said to have lived at or around the
temple Guoqing si 國清寺 on Mount Tiantai 天台. It is not known exactly
when Hanshan lived; estimates of his dates range from the seventh to the
ninth centuries. He is said to have written his poems on rocks and walls
around Mount Tiantai; these were later written down by Lü Qiuyin 閭丘胤
(n.d.), the traditional editor of the collection. Fascicle 1 of the text contains
Hanshan's poetry; fascicle 2 contains poems by Shide and Fenggan. There
are several editions of the work, all having a preface by Lü Qiuyin and a
postscript dated 1189 by Zhinan 志南 (n.d.) The earliest extant edition dates
from the Song. The collection is one of the most widely read works in all of
Chan literature.



A bölcs vigyor
Fordította: Károlyi Amy et al.

A magyar Wikipédiából





Version française


Deutsche Version

Han-shan, Cold Mountain Poems
Translated by Gary Snyder

27 Poems by Han-shan
Translated by Arthur Waley

Words from Cold Mountain
Translated by A. S. Kline

Three Short Poems by Han-shan
Translated by Peter Hobson

Selected Han-Shan Poems for Hippie Reading
by the Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen

Han Shan
Translated by D. T. Suzuki

Han Shan
Translated by R. H. Blyth

Encounters with Cold Mountain
Translated by Peter Stambler

Songs of Cold Mountain
Translated by Red Pine

The Poetry of Han-Shan
Translated by Robert G. Hendricks

PART 1 Poems No. 1— No. 100
Poems No. 101— No. 200
Poems No. 201— No. 311

PDF: Script and Word in Medieval Vernacular Sinitic
The Poetry of Han-shan: A Complete, Annotated Translation of Cold Mountain by Robert G.
Henricks; Han-shan
Review by: Victor H. Mair

Han-shan and Shih-tê
Chapter XIV/26. In: The Golden Age of Zen
by John C. H. Wu

Cold Mountain Transcendental Poetry
by the T'ang Zen Poet Han-shan

100 poems translated by “Wandering Poet, M.A.”

PDF: Han-shan Reader

PDF: Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by Han-shan
Translated by Burton Watson

PDF: Cold Mountain Poems
Translated by J.P. Seaton

The View from Cold Mountain: Poems of Han-Shan
Translated by Arthur Tobias

PDF: Moon is Not the Moon:
Non-Transcendence in the Poetry of Han-shan & Ryokan

by Christopher Ryan Byme
McGill University, 2005

Little is known of Han Shan, not even his given name. While his poetry is well known and widely available, his life is shrouded in mystery. The poet was a Zen Buddhist recluse who lived in the Tientai (T'ien-t'ai) Mountains of Danxing (Tang-hsing), China, during the Tang dynasty (618–907); his name 寒山子 Hanshanzi [Kanzan shi] means, literally, "The Master of Cold Mountain." Han Shan lived on Cold Mountain with his friend, Shi De (Shih-te). Known for their lighthearted manner, the two men were immortalized in later pictures showing them laughing heartily.

Han Shan's poetry was introduced to China by a Tang government official, Lu Jiuyin (Lu Chiu-Yin), who met the poet while visiting the local Buddhist temple. Han Shan wrote more than 300 poems, which he inscribed onto trees, rocks, and walls. Lu Jiuyin took it upon himself to copy these poems, along with a few poems by Shi De, and collect them in a single volume, collectively known as Hanshan poetry.

Han Shan's poetry is deeply religious. He wrote mainly on Buddhist and Taoist themes, specifically enlightenment, in simple, colloquial language, using conventional Chinese rhyming schemes within the five-character, eight-line verse form. Although his poetry was not groundbreaking, the imagery and spirit of his poems in creating what scholar Burton Watson has called "a landscape of the mind" and his ability to express Buddhist ideals have given Han Shan a place among the finest of Chinese poets.

From: Encyclopedia of World Writers: Beginnings through the 13th Century

寒山拾得 Hanshan & Shide stonerubbing

The Story of Han-shan and Shih-te: The first and by far the most famous Ch'an (Zen) eccentrics are Han-shan ("Cold Mountain"; Japanese: Kanzan) and Shih-te ("Foundling"; Japanese: Jittoku). The origins of the legends of Han-shan and his inseparable companion Shih-te can be traced to a collection of about three hundred T'ang poems, known as the Collected Poems of Han-shan. According to the preface, Han-shan was a recluse and poet who lived on Mount T'ien-t'ai (Chekiang, a place renowned for its hermits, both Taoist and Buddhist). He was a friend of the monks Feng-kan and Shih-te of the Kuo-ch'ing-ssu, a monastery near his hermitage. Shih-te, who had been found as a child by Feng-kan (Japanese: Bukan), and who had been brought up in the monastery, worked in the dining hall and kitchen. He supplied his hermit friends with leftovers. Sometimes, the legend says, Han-shan would stroll for hours in the corridors of the monastery, occasionally letting out a cheerful cry, or laughing or talking to himself. When taken to task or driven away by the monks, he would stand still afterwards, laugh, clap his hands, and then disappear. Judging from his poems, which abound with references to the Tao-te-ching and Chuang-tzu, the Taoist classics, Han-shan was actually more of a Taoist recluse than a Ch'an monk.

From: Zen Painting and Calligraphy by J. Fontein and M.L. Hickman

PDF: Wandering Saints : Chan eccentrics in the Art and Culture of Song and Yuan China by Paramita Paul
Thesis/dissertation, Proefschrift Universiteit Leiden. 2009, 310 p.

PDF: A Study on Imitating Activities of Hanshan Poems by Chan Buddhist Monks in Song Dynasty by HUANG Jing-Jia
Journal of Literature and Art Studies, April 2013, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 204-212.

Cold Mountain (Documentary)
Director: Mike Hazard & Deb Wallwork | Producer: Mike Hazard | Produced in: 2009 | 28:15

Synopsis: "Cold Mountain" is a film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan, a.k.a. Cold Mountain. Recorded on location in China, America and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine and the legendary Gary Snyder describe the poet's life and tell poems. A trickster, Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even certain he ever lived, but the poems do.


The Complete Poems

项楚 Xiang Chu. 寒山诗注 (附拾得诗注) Cold Mountain Poems and Notes, 中华书局出版 Zhonghua Book Company, Beijing, 1997, 2000, 2010. [313 Cold Mountain Poems, 57 Pick-up Poems, 6 Big-stick Poems]

Chinese text of Hanshan's poems with English vocabulary
https://ctext.org/wiki.pl?if=gb&chapter=626573&remap=gb Simplified

https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/%E8%AF%97%E4%B8%89%E7%99%BE%E4%B8%89%E9%A6%96 Traditional / Simplified / Pinyin

Hanshan, The collected songs of Cold Mountain, Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter). Introduction by John Blofeld. Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon Press, 1983; Revised and expanded edition, 2000. Text in Chinese and English, 272 p.

Hanshan, The poetry of Han-shan, A Complete, Annotated Translation of Cold Mountain. Translation and commentary by Robert B. Henricks. Suny Series in Buddhist Studies. New York, State University of New York, 1990. 486 p.

PART 1 Poems No. 1— No. 100
Poems No. 101— No. 200
Poems No. 201— No. 311

PDF: The poetry of Hanshan (Cold Mountain), Shide, and Fenggan; edited by Christopher Nugent; translated by Paul Rouzer. Parallel text in Chinese and English.
Boston; Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2017, 403 p.
Open access (OA):

PDF: The Cold Mountain Master Poetry Collection: Introduction
Preface to the Poetry Collection of the Cold Mountain Master (Hanshanzi), pp. 1-11.
PDF: Hanshan's Poems, pp. 12-335.

PDF: On Cold Mountain: A Buddhist Reading of the Hanshan Poems by Paul Rouzer. University of Washington Press, 2016, 266 p.

The Complete Cold Mountain: Poems of the Legendary Hermit Hanshan, Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt. Text in Chinese and English. Shambala, 2018, 280 p.

Extracts in DOC

Hanshan, Le mangeur de brumes, traduction, introduction et notes de Patrick Carré, Paris, éditions Phébus, 1985, 425 p.

Comparative List of Hanshan's Poems


PDF: Cold mountain: 100 poems by the Tang poet Han-shan. Translated by Burton Watson. Grove Press, 1962, 118 p.

PDF: Han-shan Reader

PDF: Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih, Tr. J.P. Seaton, Shambhala, 2009, 136 p.

Cold Mountain Poems: 25 Poems by Han-shan, interpreted by James Kirkup; calligraphy by Matsumoto Hiroyuki. Kyoto Editions, 1980, 25, 25 p. [Opposite pages numbered in duplicate. Limited edition: 300 copies printed.]

Guffawing in the wilderness: 13 poems by Han Shan; rendered by George Ellison. La Crosse, Wisc. : Juniper Press, 1977. xiii p. [250 copies handset & printed.]

Cold Mountain Transcendental Poetry by the T'ang Zen Poet Han-shan: 100 poems translated by Wanderling Poet, M. A. (Kindle Edition)
[The source for this English translation is 项楚 Xiang Chu. 寒山诗注 (附拾得诗注)
Cold Mountain Poems and Notes]

The View from Cold Mountain: Poems of Han-Shan and Shih-Te, Tr. by Arthur Tobias, James Sanford and J.P. Seaton; edited by Dennis Maloney, Buffalo, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 1982, [38] p.

WU Chi-yu 吳其昱 (1915-2011): “A Study of Han-shan”, T'oung pao, Vol. 45 (1957), pp. 392-450.

Of course there are some people who are careful of money,
But not I among them.
Because I dance too much, my garment of thin cloth is worn.
My bottle is empty, for I spurt out the wine when we sing.
Eat a full meal.
Don't tire your feet.
The day when weeds are sprouting through your skull,
You will regret what you have been. (p. 432.)

The China Which is Here: Translating Classical Chinese Poetry: A thesis by Lawrence Kwan-chee Yung
at the University of Warwick, May, 1998
Chapter 8. Gary Snyder: The Mountain and the Mind, pp. 209-241.

A Study on Imitating Activities of Hanshan Poems by Chan Buddhist Monks in SONG Dynasty

Schafer, Edward H. and Eoyang, Eugene, trans. "[Han Shan] Four Untitled Poems" IN Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Indiana University Press, 1990, p. 91.pp. 90-91.

Kahn, Paul. "Han Shan in English." Renditions, No. 25, Spring, 1986, pp. 140-175. [Contains complete English bibliography.]

PDF: Stahlberg, Roberta Helmer. The poems of the Han-shan collection, unpublished Ph.D.dissertation. Ohio State University, 1977. 192 p.

Roberta Helmer (1950-2018)

Han Shan: Poems from the Cold Mountain
translated from Stephan Schuhmacher's German version with added notes by Georg Mertens
1998 (revised 2002)

PDF: Anu Niemi, The making of Zen personage: Hanshan and how it is read. Studia Orientalia 95. Finnish Oriental Society, Vammala 2003, pp. 373-384.

PDF: Talking about food does not appease hunger: Phrases on hunger in Chan (Zen) Buddhist texts
Academic dissertation by Anu Niemi, University of Helsinki, Department of World Cultures, Itä Aasian tutkimus, Helsinki, 2014



Han-shan, Cold Mountain Poems
Translated by Gary Snyder

EVERGREEN REVIEW, vol. 2, no. 6 (Autumn 1958). pp. 69-80.
COLD MOUNTAIN POEMS: Twenty-Four Poems by Han-Shan. First Edition. Portland, Oregon: Press-22, 1970, [30] p.
RIPRAP & COLD MOUNTAIN POEMS, San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969. pp. 31-61.

In 1953, Gary Snyder returned to the Bay Area and, at age 23, enrolled in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, to study Asian languages and culture. He intensified his study of Chinese and Japanese, and taking up the challenge of one of his professors, Chen Shih-hsiang, he began to work on translating a largely unknown poet by the name of Han Shan, a writer with whom the professor thought Snyder might feel a special affinity. The results were magical. As Patrick Murphy noted, "These poems are something more than translations precisely because Snyder renders them as a melding of Han Shan's Chinese Ch'an Buddhist mountain spirit trickster mentality and Snyder's own mountain wilderness meditation and labor activities." The suite of 24 poems was published in the 1958 issue of The Evergreen Review, and the career of one of America's greatest poets was launched.

In 1972, Press-22 issued a beautiful edition of these poems written out by hand in italic by Michael McPherson. We are doing a new augments edition based on the old, with a new design, a preface by Lu Ch'iu-yin, and an afterword by Mr. Snyder where he discusses how he came to this work and what it meant to his development as a writer and Buddhist.

On May 11, 2012, for the Stronach Memorial Lecture at The University of California, more than fifty years after his days there as a student, Snyder offered a public lecture reflecting on Chinese poetry, Han Shan, and his continuing work as a poet and translator. This remarkable occasion was recorded and we are including a CD of it in our edition, making this the most definitive edition of Cold Mountain Poems ever published.

Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder, Kindle Edition, Counterpoint; Har/Com edition (June 11 2013)


作者: 閭邱允






Preface to the Poems of Han-shan

by Lu Ch'iu-yin, Governor of T'ai Prefecture
tr. Gary Snyder

No one knows what sort of man Han-shan was. There are old people who knew him: they say he was a poor man, a crazy character. He lived alone seventy Li (23 miles) west of the T'ang-hsing district of T'ien-t'ai at a place called Cold Mountain. He often went down to the Kuo-ch'ing Temple. At the temple lived Shih'te, who ran the dining hall. He sometimes saved leftovers for Han-shan, hiding them in a bamboo tube. Han-shan would come and carry it away; walking the long veranda, calling and shouting happily, talking and laughing to himself. Once the monks followed him, caught him, and made fun of him. He stopped, clapped his hands, and laughed greatly—Ha Ha!—for a spell, then left.

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 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. On that long veranda calling and singing, in his words of reply Ha Ha!—the three worlds revolve. Sometimes at the villages and farms he laughed and sang with cowherds. Sometimes intractable, sometimes agreeable, his nature was happy of itself. But how could a person without wisdom recognize him?

I once received a position as a petty official at Tan-ch'iu. The day I was to depart, I had a bad headache. I called a doctor, but he couldn't cure me and it turned worse. Then I met a Buddhist Master named Feng-kan, who said he came from the Kuo-ch'ing Temple of T'ien-t'ai especially to visit me. I asked him to rescue me from my illness. He smiled and said, "The four realms are within the body; sickness comes from illusion. If you want to do away with it, you need pure water." Someone brought water to the Master, who spat it on me. In a moment the disease was rooted out. He then said, "There are miasmas in T'ai prefecture, when you get there take care of yourself." I asked him, "Are there any wise men in your area I could look on as Master?" He replied, "When you see him you don't recognize him, when you recognize him you don't see him. If you want to see him, you can't rely on appearances. Then you can see him. Han-shan is a Manjusri (one who has attained enlightenment and, in a future incarnation, will become Buddha) hiding at Kuo-sh'ing. Shih-te is a Samantabbhadra (Bodhisattva of love). They look like poor fellows and act like madmen. Sometimes they go and sometimes they come. They work in the kitchen of the Kuo-ch'ing dining hall, tending the fire." When he was done talking he left.

I proceeded on my journey to my job at T'ai-chou, not forgetting this affair. I arrived three days later, immediately went to a temple, and questioned an old monk. It seemed the Master had been truthful, so I gave orders to see if T'ang-hsing really contained a Han-shan and Shih-te. The District Magistrate reported to me: "In this district, seventy li west, is a mountain. People used to see a poor man heading from the cliffs to stay awhile at Kuo-ch'ing. At the temple dining hall is a similar man named Shih-te." I made a bow, and went to Kuo-ch'ing. I asked some people around the temple, "There used to be a Master named Feng-kan here, Where is his place? And where can Han-shan and Shih-te be seen?" A monk named T'ao-ch'iao spoke up: "Feng-kan the Master lived in back of the library. Nowadays nobody lives there; a tiger often comes and roars. Han-shan and Shih-te are in the kitchen." The monk led me to Feng-kan's yard. Then he opened the gate: all we saw was tiger tracks. I asked the monks Tao-ch'iao and Pao-te, "When Feng-kan was here, what was his job?" The monks said, :He pounded and hulled rice. At night he sang songs to amuse himself." Then we went to the kitchen, before the stoves. Two men were facing the fire, laughing loudly. I made a bow. The two shouted Ho! at me. They struck their hands together—Ha Ha!—great laughter. They shouted. Then they said, "Feng-kan—loose-tounged, loose-tounged. You don't recognize Amitabha, (the Bodhisattva of mercy) why be courteous to us?" The monks gathered round, surprise going through them. ""Why has a big official bowed to a pair of clowns?" The two men grabbed hands and ran out of the temple. I cried, "Catch them"—but they quickly ran away. Han-shan returned to Cold Mountain. I asked the monks, "Would those two men be willing to settle down at this temple?" I ordered them to find a house, and to ask Han-shan and Shih-te to return and live at the temple.

I returned to my district and had two sets of clean clothes made, got some incense and such, and sent it to the temple—but the two men didn't return. So I had it carried up to Cold Mountain. The packer saw Han-shan, who called in a loud voice, "Thief! Thief!" and retreated into a mountain cave. He shouted, "I tell you man, strive hard"—entered the cave and was gone. The cave closed of itself and they weren't able to follow. Shih-te's tracks disappeared completely..

I ordered Tao-ch'iao and the other monks to find out how they had lived, to hunt up the poems written on bamboo, wood, stones, and cliffs—and also to collect those written on the walls of people's houses. There were more than three hundred. On the wall of the Earth-shrine Shih-te had written some gatha (Buddhist verse or song). It was all brought together and made into a book.

I hold to the principle of the Buddha-mind. It is fortunate to meet with men of Tao, so I have made this eulogy.



可笑寒山道, 而無車馬蹤。 聯谿難記曲, 疊嶂不知重。 泣露千般草, 吟風一樣松。 此時迷徑處, 形問影何從。

The path to Han-shan's place is laughable,
A path, but no sign of cart or horse.
Converging gorges—hard to trace their twists
Jumbled cliffs—unbelievably rugged.
A thousand grasses bend with dew,
A hill of pines hums in the wind.
And now I've lost the shortcut home,
Body asking shadow, how do you keep up?

重巖我卜居, 鳥道絕人迹。 庭際何所有, 白雲抱幽石。 住茲凡幾年, 屢見春冬易。 寄語鐘鼎家, 虛名定無益。

In a tangle of cliffs, I chose a place—
Bird paths, but no trails for me.
What's beyond the yard?
White clouds clinging to vague rocks.
Now I've lived here—how many years—
Again and again, spring and winter pass.
Go tell families with silverware and cars
"What's the use of all that noise and money?"

山中何太冷, 自古非今年。 沓嶂恆凝雪, 幽林每吐煙。 草生芒種後, 葉落立秋前。 此有沈迷客, 窺窺不見天。

In the mountains it's cold.
Always been cold, not just this year.
Jagged scarps forever snowed in
Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.
Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,
Leaves begin to fall in early August.
And here I am, high on mountains,
Peering and peering, but I can't even see the sky.

驅馬度荒城, 荒城動客情。 高低舊雉堞, 大小古墳塋。 自振孤蓬影, 長凝拱木聲。 所嗟皆俗骨, 仙史更無名。

I spur my horse through the wrecked town,
The wrecked town sinks my spirit.
High, low, old parapet walls
Big, small, the aging tombs.
I waggle my shadow, all alone;
Not even the crack of a shrinking coffin is heard.
I pity all those ordinary bones,
In the books of the Immortals they are nameless.

欲得安身處, 寒山可長保。 微風吹幽松, 近聽聲逾好。 下有斑白人, 喃喃讀黃老。 十年歸不得, 忘却來時道。

I wanted a good place to settle:
Cold Mountain would be safe.
Light wind in a hidden pine—
Listen close—the sound gets better.
Under it a gray haired man
Mumbles along reading Huang and Lao.
For ten years I havn't gone back home
I've even forgotten the way by which I came.

人問寒山道, 寒山路不通。 夏天冰未釋, 日出霧朦朧。 似我何由屆, 與君心不同。 君心若似我, 還得到其中。

Men ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.
In summer, ice doesn't melt
The rising sun blurs in swirling fog.
How did I make it?
My heart's not the same as yours.
If your heart was like mine
You'd get it and be right here.

粵自居寒山, 曾經幾萬載。 任運遯林泉, 棲遲觀自在。 寒巖人不到, 白雲常靉靆。 細草作臥褥, 青天為被蓋。 快活枕石頭, 天地任變改。

I settled at Cold Mountain long ago,
Already it seems like years and years.
Freely drifting, I prowl the woods and streams
And linger watching things themselves.
Men don't get this far into the mountains,
White clouds gather and billow.
Thin grass does for a mattress,
The blue sky makes a good quilt.
Happy with a stone under head
Let heaven and earth go about their changes.

登陟寒山道, 寒山路不窮。 谿長石磊磊, 澗闊草濛濛。 苔滑非關雨, 松鳴不假風。 誰能超世累, 共坐白雲中。

Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the word's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?

杳杳寒山道 , 落落冷澗濱。 啾啾常有鳥, 寂寂更無人。 磧磧風吹面, 紛紛雪積身。 朝朝不見日, 歲歲不知春。

Rough and dark—the Cold Mountain trail,
Sharp cobbles—the icy creek bank.
Yammering, chirping—always birds
Bleak, alone, not even a lone hiker.
Whip, whip—the wind slaps my face
Whirled and tumbled—snow piles on my back.
Morning after morning I don't see the sun
Year after year, not a sign of spring.

一向寒山坐, 淹留三十年。 昨來訪親友, 太半入黃泉。 漸減如殘燭, 長流似逝川。 今朝對孤影, 不覺淚雙懸。

I have lived at Cold Mountain
These thirty long years.
Yesterday I called on friends and family:
More than half had gone to the Yellow Springs.
Slowly consumed, like fire down a candle;
Forever flowing, like a passing river.
Now, morning, I face my lone shadow:
Suddenly my eyes are bleared with tears.

碧澗泉水清, 寒山月華白。 默知神自明, 觀空境逾寂。

Spring water in the green creek is clear
Moonlight on Cold Mountain is white
Silent knowledge—the spirit is enlightened of itself
Contemplate the void: this world exceeds stillness.

出生三十年 , 當遊千萬里。 行江青草合, 入塞紅塵起。 鍊藥空求仙, 讀書兼詠史。 今日歸寒山, 枕流兼洗耳。

In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn't make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I'm back at Cold Mountain:
I'll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.

鳥語情不堪, 其時臥草庵。 櫻桃紅爍爍, 楊柳正毿毿。 旭日銜青嶂, 晴雲洗淥潭。 誰知出塵俗, 馭上寒山南。

I can't stand these bird songs
Now I'll go rest in my straw shack.
The cherry flowers are scarlet
The willow shoots up feathery.
Morning sun drives over blue peaks
Bright clouds wash green ponds.
Who knows that I'm out of the dusty world
Climbing the southern slope of Cold Mountain?

寒山多幽奇, 登者皆恆懾。 月照水澄澄, 風吹草獵獵。 凋梅雪作花, 杌木雲充葉。 觸雨轉鮮靈, 非晴不可涉。

Cold Mountain has many hidden wonders,
People who climb here are always getting scared.
When the moon shines, water sparkles clear
When the wind blows, grass swishes and rattles.
On the bare plum, flowers of snow
On the dead stump, leaves of mist.
At the touch of rain it all turns fresh and live
At the wrong season you can't ford the creeks.

寒山有躶蟲, 身白而頭黑。 手把兩卷書, 一道將一德。 住不安釜竈, 行不齎衣祴。 常持智慧劍, 擬破煩惱賊。

There's a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack's got no pots or oven,
He goes for a long walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down sensless craving.

寒山有一宅, 宅中無闌隔。 六門左右通, 堂中見天碧。 房房虛索索, 東壁打西壁。 其中一物無, 免被人來惜。
寒到燒輭火, 飢來煑菜喫。 不學田舍翁, 廣置牛莊宅。 盡作地獄業, 一入何曾極。 好好善思量, 思量知軌則。

Cold Mountain is a house
Without beams or walls.
The six doors left and right are open
The hall is blue sky.
The rooms all vacant and vague
The east wall beats on the west wall
At the center nothing.

Borrowers don't bother me
In the cold I build a little fire
When I'm hungry I boil up some greens.
I've got no use for the kulak
With his big barn and pasture — 
He just sets up a prison for himself.
Once in he can't get out.
Think it over — 
You know it might happen to you.

一自遯寒山, 養命餐山果。 平生何所憂, 此世隨緣過。 日月如逝川, 光陰石中火。 任你天地移, 我暢巖中坐。

If I hide out at Cold Mountain
Living off mountain plants and berries—
All my lifetime, why worry?
One follows his karma through.
Days and months slip by like water,
Time is like sparks knocked off flint.
Go ahead and let the world change—
I'm happy to sit among these cliffs.

多少天台人, 不識寒山子。 莫知真意度, 喚作閑言語。

Most T'ien-t'ai men
Don't know Han-shan
Don't know his real thought
And call it silly talk.

一住寒山萬事休, 更無雜念挂心頭。 閑書石壁題詩句, 任運還同不繫舟。

Once at Cold Mountain, troubles cease—
No more tangled, hung up mind.
I idly scribble poems on the rock cliff,
Taking whatever comes, like a drifting boat.

客難寒山子, 君詩無道理。 吾觀乎古人, 貧賤不為恥。 應之笑此言, 談何疏闊矣。 願君似今日, 錢是急事爾。

Some critic tried to put me down—
"Your poems lack the Basic Truth of Tao."
And I recall the old timers
Who were poor and didn't care.
I have to laugh at him,
He misses the point entirely,
Men like that
Ought to stick to making money.

久住寒山凡幾秋, 獨吟歌曲絕無憂。 飢餐一粒伽陀藥, 心地調和倚石頭。

I've lived at Cold Mountain—how many autumns.
Alone, I hum a song—utterly without regret.
Hungry, I eat one grain of Immortal medicine
Mind solid and sharp; leaning on a stone.

寒山頂上月輪孤, 照見晴空一物無。 可貴天然無價寶, 埋在五陰溺身軀。

On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
Lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
Honor this priceless natural treasure
Concealed in five shadows, sunk deep in the flesh.

我家本住在寒山, 石巖棲息離煩緣。 泯時萬象無痕跡, 舒處周流遍大千。 光影騰輝照心地, 無有一法當現前。 方知摩尼一顆珠, 解用無方處處圓。

My home was at Cold Mountain from the start,
Rambling among the hills, far from trouble.

Gone, and a million things leave no trace
Loosed, and it flows through galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind—
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me:
Now I know the pearl of the Buddha nature
Know its use: a boundless perfect sphere.

時人見寒山, 各謂是風顛。 貌不起人目, 身唯布裘纏。 我語他不會, 他語我不言。 為報往來者,可來向寒山。

When men see Han-shan
They all say he's crazy
And not much to look at—
Dressed in rags and hides.
They don't get what I say
And I don't talk their language.
All I can say to those I meet:
"Try and make it to Cold Mountain."


Cold Mountain Poems and Persons   


I made my way back to UC Berkeley driving an elderly Packard I had borrowed from  my father – after working all summer on trails in the High Sierra – in September of  1955. Some of the labor on trails from that time is reflected in my first book of  poems, Riprap. What happened next was a life-turning moment – my professor Dr.  CHEN Shih-hsiang asked me what I wanted to focus on for his Chinese Poetics  seminar. I said, “Maybe a Buddhist poet.” He said, “I have somebody just right for  you: the name is Han-shan, ‘Cold Mountain’ – take it out from the East Asian Library.” It was a book in the traditional-style sewn binding, the complete poems.   

For the whole fall – only two other graduate students in the whole class, one of  whom was Asian – we all worked at reading, translating, and interpreting our chosen texts. We would discuss our work in the room, and Chen very helpfully steered  me and critiqued what I was doing with the material. At the end of the academic  semester I had gone through 24 poems and had also looked up the 27 translations  by Arthur Waley that had been published in Encounter magazine a few years earlier.  I had no idea of publishing my own work back then.   

 I showed my set of tentative translations to Alan Watts, who was a founder and  teacher at the Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco and whom I had gotten  to know – more on the basis of my calligraphy (in a letter I wrote to him) than my  interest in Zen. (I had studied with the master calligrapher Lloyd Reynolds and several of his key art students while at Reed, and had learned to appreciate and clumsily write Chancery Cursive.)   

Watts invited me to come to a class at the Academy one evening and read my  translations to his students. It got an extremely nice response from everybody including Alan. Only a few months later the critic and editor Donald Allen (who  moved in the same circles) asked me about publishing them in an upcoming issue  of Evergreen Review magazine. They were published in the autumn of 1958.   

I moved to Japan in May 1956. From the beginning I took further lessons in modern Japanese language and began formal Rinzai Zen study. Ruth Fuller Sasaki, a  Zen priest at Daitoku-ji, read my translations in manuscript and thought they were  passable; Dr. IRIYA Yoshitaka of Kyoto University (who was the chair of the Rinzai-roku or Linji-lu translation group at the research center run by Mrs. Sasaki) also  read and liked them. Dr. Iriya published a volume of Han-shan – Kanzan in Japanese – into both literary and colloquial language: number 5 in the Chugokushijin  Zenshu series (Iwanami Shoten) in 1958. Burton Watson, also a member of the  translation group (and working on his dissertation for Columbia), was acquainted  with the Arthur Waley translations. He’d read mine in manuscript and said they were acceptable. He suggested several small but potent revisions.   

In my Berkeley innocence I had thought nobody read this obscure text, but it  turned out that Japanese literati and Buddhist scholars knew the work well. Dr.  Watson drew on Dr. Iriya’s volume for his fine English language translations of a  hundred poems published by Grove Press in 1962.   

Many other Han-shan translations appeared in subsequent years including two different books of the complete corpus (311 poems) – one by Red Pine (Bill Porter),  and the other a pedestrian but useful annotated text by Dr. Robert Henricks.   

In 1964 I was back on the West Coast for a year and was employed by the English  department at UC Berkeley as a replacement instructor for Thom Gunn, who was  on sabbatical. Dr. Cyril Birch was teaching in the East Asian Languages Department  at that time. He asked me if he could include my translations of the Han-shan  poems in an anthology he was editing – a new gathering of literary Chinese poetry in English translation – and I said yes. When I asked him why (seeing as how there  were a number of other choices by this time), he answered that he liked their natural and colloquial tone.   

That anthology, according to Dr. CHUNG Ling, is the one that made Han-shan’s  work famous, first nationwide and then, because the anthology got to Europe,  worldwide.   

Dr. Chung’s conclusion was that the surprising international fame of Han-shan  (surprising to the Chinese literary critics and historians who never included Han-shan in the official canon) was due to the inclusion of the poems in the Birch anthology. It came out in 1965.   

My literary notoriety in China, which is surprising, is to a certain extent built upon a  fascination with this Han-shan story. Also I am identified by many with the Beat  Generation, a phenomenon that is still revered in much of the non-English-speaking world.   

Though I was friends with some of the leading American literary actors of that time  I never thought of my own writings as being in their camp. “Vernacular” as the language of poetry, open to all – and any intrusions of archaic or foreign or technical  language you may need, as well – has been accepted as part of valid poetic strategy  for decades. I had been a mountaineer and forestry laborer as well as a bookish  scholar for several years already, and simply could draw on a wide experience of  events and words and observations in finding ways to represent the Han-shan imagery. I also regularly made a practice of internalizing and visualizing the taste of  the whole scene – cold, wet, rocky, lonely, or whatever was called for – to the point  that I could write it out with some sense of presence. This doesn’t always work by any means, but it is exciting when it does. It reaches across time and space.   


In Standard Chinese “Cold Mountain” is pronounced “Han-shan.” In Japanese, or  more properly in “Sino-Japanese” (because there are thousands of words in that  language that were never borrowed from Chinese writings), it is pronounced “Kanzan.” The Zen Buddhists of China and Japan really took to this semi-mythical personage and soon enough, there were lively portraits of him and his friends.   

 In later centuries much of Chinese Buddhism developed into something like a single sect, each large temple complex offering the choice of halls dedicated to devotional practices, textual scholarship, or organized meditation practices. The same  was true in Korea.   

In Japan, where devotional Buddhism and wisdom-oriented Buddhism stayed on  separate tracks, the Zen tradition managed with considerable skill to walk a path  that was ragged and carefree but simultaneously meticulous and high-status. The  Zen paintings mostly reflected the skill and freedom; the elaborate ceremonies and  elegant manners demonstrated the attention to forms. At the heart of it all was the  Zen training hall where the young monks lived in both summer heat and winter  cold, a bit hungry and short on sleep, for several years. They were continually being thrown into untenable situations one after another (called “koans”). It was and still  is the perfect balance of freedom and necessity. Kanzan is a kind of human icon of  this life; the myth-figure who represents it is Fudo Myo-O, the funny, fierce, almost  demonic character who lurks off to the side in many temples, surrounded by rocks  and flames.   

The Japanese Zen world made good use of the Han-shan text – it must have gotten  there early – and there is a history of formal Zen lectures being given by Zen teachers over the centuries on the poems. It would be a mistake to assume there was no  interest in the Zen aspects of Han-shan in China, too – though the putative author’s reputation and place in China was that of a sort of eccentric, and not much  as a formal poet.   

I noted earlier that my small selection of poems was picked up worldwide because  of the Birch anthology. But that’s only part of the story. Like the Beat Generation  (and perhaps for similar reasons), European, South African, South American, and  some North American readers responded enthusiastically to those poems – men  and women alike, all walks of life – because of what comes down to the deep and  genuine Daoist-Buddhist message they carry.   

At least for non–East Asians, they touch us not because of the invocation of a hermetic ideal or solitary asceticism, but because of the almost joyful rejection of  materialism and the absolute pleasure in being in the great world “with a sky for a  blanket,” aware of living a life apart from the value-assumptions of mainstream  people. I have heard from readers all over the world who said how mysteriously  that spoke to them even as they were following their own path in life (everybody  had a job of some sort, too). There is a deep strain of non-ideological dubiousness  about the large materialistic goals that are the official “dream” of developed-world  people and certain others worldwide.   

Plus, the invocation of the natural world is truly moving. Grasses, flowers, running  water in the streams, stream beds, pines in the wind, rising clouds, rain and dew –  all these phenomena that are not in fact just of the “mountain” are beautifully  evoked. “I’ll sleep by the creek and wash my ears” – something we can relate to instantly upon hearing. So, many of the Han-shan poems are not narrowly prescribed  images of locale, but can help us be at home on the whole planet, in any landscape.   

My long-time friend Chung Ling, a scholar, translator, teacher, and writer, has been  studying the Han-shan phenomenon for years. In one article she took me to task  for making the Han-shan landscape feel like the chilly, high, rocky ranges of the  Sierra Nevada. Her criticism sent me to researching vegetation and climate maps,  and I noted that truly much of southeast China is almost subtropical. But some of  the key poems mention the rocky, chllly, difficult landscape and speak of late  spring snow and early winters. The Tien Tai mountains rise to almost 4,000 feet.  Surely “Cold Mountain” did not just make that cold mountain up.   

The Dharma name my teacher 小田雪窓 Oda Sessō (1901-1966) Rōshi eventually gave me, in Sino-Japanese 聽風 Chōfū, which would be read in Chinese as “Ting Feng” – “Listen to the  wind” – is from two lines of a Han-shan poem that were among those I translated [see poem no 5].  Since the Roshi did not speak or read English, and I doubt he even knew I had  done any work on the mysterious old poet, I have no idea how it was he picked out  such a name (other than that Dharma-names often come from old Chinese  poems). A sign I guess of some territory where our minds met. Minds meet in the  mountains.   

– Gary Snyder 



27 Poems by Han-shan
Translated by Arthur Waley

In Encounter, September 1954, pp. 3-8

The Chinese poet Han-shan lived in the 8th and 9th centuries. He and his brothers worked a farm that they had inherited; but he fell out with them, parted from his wife and family, and wandered from place to place, reading many books and looking in vain for a patron. He finally settled as a recluse on the Cold Mountain (Han-shan) and is always known as "Han-shan." This retreat was about twenty-five miles from T'ien-t'ai, famous for its many monasteries, both Buddhist and Taoist, which Han-shan visited from time to time. In one poem he speaks of himself as being over a hundred. This may be an exaggeration ; but it is certain that he lived to a great age.

In his poems the Cold Mountain is often the name of a state of mind rather than of a locality. It is on this conception, as well as on that of the "hidden treasure," the Buddha who is to be sought not somewhere outside us, but "at home" in the heart, that the mysticism of the poems is based.

The poems, of which just over three hundred survive, have no titles.

From my father and mother I inherited land enough--
And need not envy others' orchards and fields.
Creak, creak goes the sound of my wife's loom;
Back and forth my children prattle at their play.
They clap their hands to make the flowers dance ;
Then chin on palm listen to the birds' song.
Does anyone ever come to pay his respects?
Yes, there is a woodcutter who often comes this way.

I have thatched my rafters and made a peasant hut;
Horse and carriage seldom come to my gate--
Deep in the woods, where birds love to forgather,
By a broad stream, the home of many fish.
The mountain fruits child in hand I pluck;
My paddy fidd along with my wife I hoe.
And what have I got inside my house?
Nothing at all but one stand of books.

When I was young I weeded book in hand,
Sharing at first a home with my elder brothers.
Something happened, and they put the blame on me;
Even my own wife turned against me.
So I left the red dust of the world and wandered
Hither and thither, reading book after book
And looking for some one who would spare a drop of water
To keep alive the gudgeon in the carriage rut.

Wretched indeed is the scholar without money;
Who else knows such hunger and cold?
Having nothing to do he takes to writing poems,
He grinds them out till his thoughts refuse to work.
For a starveling's words no one has any use;
Accept the fact and cease your doleful sighs.
Even if you wrote your verses on a macaroon
And gave them to the dog, the dog would refuse to eat.

Wise men, you have forsaken me;
Foolish men, I haw.' forsaken you.
Being not foolish and also not wise
Henceforward I shall hear from you no more.
When night falls I sing to the bright moon,
At break of dawn I dance among the white clouds.
Would you have me with closed lips and folded hands
Sit up straight, xvaifing for my hair to go grey?

I am sometimes asked the way to the Cold Mountain;
There is no path that goes all the way.
Even in summer the ice never melts;
Far into the morning the mists gather thick.
How, you may ask, did I manage to get here?
My heart is not like your heart.
If only your heart were like mine
You too would be living where I live now.

Long, long the way to the Cold Mountain;
Stony, stony the banks of the chill stream.
Twitter, twitter--always there are birds;
Lorn and lone--no human but oneself.
Slip, slap the wind blows in one's face;
Flake by flake the snow piles on one's clothes.
Day after day one never sees the sun;
Year after year knows no spring.

I make my way up the Cold Mountain path;
The way up seems never to end.
The valley so long and the ground so stony;
The stream so broad and the brush so tangled and thick.
The moss is slipperT, rain or no rain;
The pine-trees sing even when no wind blows.
Who can bring himself to transcend the bonds of the world
And sit with me among the white clouds?

Pile on pile, the glories of hill and stream;
Sunset mists enclose flanks of blue.
Brushed by the storm my gauze cap is wet;
The dew damps my straw-plaited coat.
My feet shod with stout pilgrim-shoes,
My hand grasping my old holly staff
Looking again beyond the dusty world
What use have 1 for a land of empty dreams?

I went off quiedy to visit a wise monk,
Where misty mountains rose in myriad piles.
The Master himself showed me my way back,
Pointing to where the moon, that round lamp, hung.

In old days, when I was very poor,
Night by night I counted another's treasures.
There came a time when I thought things over
And decided to set up in business on my own.
So I dug at home and came upon a buried treasure;
A ball of saphire--that and nothing less!
There came a crowd of blue-eyed traders from the West
Who had planned together to bid for it and take it away.
But I straightway answered those merchants, saying
"This is a jewel that no price could buy."

Leisurely I wandered to the top of the Flowery Peak;
The day was calm and the morning sun flashed.
I looked into the dear sky on every side.
A white cloud was winging its crane's flight.

I have for dwelling the shelter of a green cliff;
For garden, a thicket that knife has never trimmed.
Over it the flesh creepers hang their coils;
Ancient rocks stand straight and tall.
The mountain fruits I leave for the monkeys to pick;
The fish of the pool vanish into the heron's beak.
Taoist writings, one volume or two,
Under the trees I read--nam, nam.

The season's change has ended a dismal year;
Spring has come and the colours of things are flesh.
Mountain flowers laugh into the green pools,
The trees on the rock dance in the blue mist.
Bees and butterflies pursue their own pleasure;
Birds and fishes are there for my delight.
Thrilled with feelings of endless comradeship
From dusk to dawn I could not dose my eyes.

A place to prize is this Cold Mountain,
Whose white clouds for ever idle on their own,
Where the cry of monkeys spreads among the paths,
Where the tiger's roar transcends the world of men.
Walking alone I step from stone to stone,
Singing to myself I clutch at the creepers for support.
The wind in the pine-trees makes its shrill note;
The chatter of the birds mingles its harmony.

The people of the world when they see Han-shan
All regard him as not in his right mind.
His appearance, they say, is far from being attractive,
Tied up as he is in bits of tattered cloth.
"What we say, he cannot understand;
What he says, we do not say."
You who spend all your time in coming and going,
Why not try for once coming to the Han-shan?

Ever since the time when I hid in the Cold Mountain
I have kept alive by eating the mountain fruits.
From day to day what is there to trouble me?
This my life follows a destined course.
The days and months flow ceaseless as a stream;
Our time is brief as the flash struck on a stone.
If Heaven and Earth shift, then let them shift;
I shall still be sitting happy among the rocks.

When the men of the world look for this path arnid the clouds
It vanishes, with not a trace where it lay.
The high peaks have many precipices;
On the widest gulleys hardly a gleam falls.
Green walls close behind and before;
White clouds gather east and west.
Do you want to know where the cloud-path lies?
The cloud-path leads from sky to sky.

Since first I meant to explore the eastern cliff
And have not done so, countless years have passed.
Yesterday I pulled myself up by the creepers,
But half way, was baffled by storm and fog.
The cleft so narrow that my clothing got caught fast;
The moss so sticky that I could not free my shoes.
So I stopped here under this red cinnamon,
To sleep for a while on a pillow of white clouds.

Sitting alone I am sometimes overcome
By vague feelings of sadness and unrest.
Round the waist of the hill the clouds stretch and stretch;
At the mouth of the valley the winds sough and sigh.
A monkey comes; the trees bend and sway;
A bird goes into the wood with a shrill cry.
Time hastens the grey that wilts on my brow;
The year is over, and age is comfortless.

Last year when the spring birds were singing
At this time I thought about my brothers.
This year when chrysanthemums are fading
At this time the same thought comes back.
Green waters sob in a thousand streams,
Dark clouds lie flat on every side.
Till life ends, though I live a hundred years,
It will rend my heart to think of Ch'ang-an.

In the third month when the silkworms were still small
The girls had time to go and gather flowers,
Along the wall they played with the butterflies,
Down by the water they pelted the old frog.
Into gauze sleeves they poured the ripe plums;
With their gold hairpins they dug up bamboo-sprouts.
With all that glitter of outward loveliness
How can the Cold Mountain hope to compete?

Last night I dreamt that I was back in my home
And saw my wife weaving at her loom.
She stayed her shutde as though thinking of something;
When she lifted it again it was as though she had no strength.
I called to her and she turned her head and looked;
She stared blankly, she did not know who I was.
Small wonder, for we parted years ago
When the hair on my temples was still its old colour.

I have sat here facing the Cold Mountain
Without budging for twenty-nine years.
Yesterday I went to visit friends and relations;
A good half had gone to the Springs of Death.
Life like a guttering candle wears away--
A stream whose waters forever flow and flow.
Today, with only my shadow for company,
Astonished I fred two tear-drops hang.

In old days (how long ago it was!)
I remember a house that was lovelier than all the rest.
Peach and plum lined the little paths;
Orchid and iris grew by the stream below.
There walked beside it girls in satins and silks;
Within there glinted a robe of kingfisher-green.
That was how we met; I tried to call her to me,
But my tongue stuck and the words would not come.

I sit and gaze on tiffs highest peak of all;
Wherever I look there is distance without end.
I am all alone and no one knows I am here,
A lonely moon is mirrored in the cold pool.
Down in the pool there is not really a moon;
The only moon is in the sky above.
I sing to you this one piece of song;
But in the song there is not any Zen.

Should you look for a parable of life and death
Ice and water are the true comparisons.
Water binds and turns into ice;
Ice melts and again becomes water.
Whatever has died will certainly be born,
Whatever has come to life must needs die.
Ice and water do each other no harm;
Life and death too are both good.



“Han-shan - Words from Cold Mountain”
Translated by A. S. Kline (2006)


Han-shan, the Master of Cold Mountain, and
his friend Shi-te, lived in the late-eighth to
early-ninth century AD, in the sacred T’ien-t’ai
Mountains of Chekiang Province, south of the
bay of Hangchow. The two laughing friends,
holding hands, come and go, but mostly go,
dashing into the wild, careless of others’ reality,
secure in their own. As Han-shan himself says,
his Zen is not in the poems. Zen is in the mind.


Don’t you know the poems of Han-shan?
They’re better for you than scripture-reading.
Cut them out and paste them on a screen,
Then you can gaze at them from time to time.


Where’s the trail to Cold Mountain?
Cold Mountain? There’s no clear way.
Ice, in summer, is still frozen.
Bright sun shines through thick fog.
You won’t get there following me.
Your heart and mine are not the same.
If your heart was like mine,
You’d have made it, and be there!


Cold Mountain’s full of strange sights.
Men who go there end by being scared.
Water glints and gleams in the moon,
Grasses sigh and sing in the wind.
The bare plum blooms again with snow,
Naked branches have clouds for leaves.
When it rains, the mountain shines –
In bad weather you’ll not make this climb.


A thousand clouds, ten thousand streams,
Here I live, an idle man,
Roaming green peaks by day,
Back to sleep by cliffs at night.
One by one, springs and autumns go,
Free of heat and dust, my mind.
Sweet to know there’s nothing I need,
Silent as the autumn river’s flood.


High, high, the summit peak,
Boundless the world to sight!
No one knows I am here,
Lone moon in the freezing stream.
In the stream, where’s the moon?
The moon’s always in the sky.
I write this poem: and yet,
In this poem there is no Zen.


Thirty years in this world
I wandered ten thousand miles,
By rivers, buried deep in grass,
In borderlands, where red dust flies.
Tasted drugs, still not Immortal,
Read books, wrote histories.
Now I’m back at Cold Mountain,
Head in the stream, cleanse my ears.


Bird-song drowns me in feeling.
Back to my shack of straw to sleep.
Cherry-branches burn with crimson flower,
Willow-boughs delicately trail.
Morning sun flares between blue peaks,
Bright clouds soak in green ponds.
Who guessed I’d leave that dusty world,
Climbing the south slope of Cold Mountain?


I travelled to Cold Mountain:
Stayed here for thirty years.
Yesterday looked for family and friends.
More than half had gone to Yellow Springs.
Slow-burning, life dies like a flame,
Never resting, passes like a river.
Today I face my lone shadow.
Suddenly, the tears flow down.


Alive in the mountains, not at rest,
My mind cries for passing years.
Gathering herbs to find long life,
Still I’ve not achieved Immortal.
My field’s deep, and veiled in cloud,
But the wood’s bright, the moon’s full.
Why am I here? Can’t I go?
Heart still tied to enchanted pines!


If there’s something good, delight!
Seize the moment while it flies!
Though life can last a hundred years,
Who’s seen their thirty thousand days?
Just an instant then you’re gone.
Why sit whining over things?
When you’ve read the Classics through,
You’ll know quite enough of death.


The peach petals would like to stay,
But moon and wind blow them on.
You won’t find those ancient men,
Those dynasties are dead and gone.
Day by day the blossoms fall,
Year by year the people go.
Where the dust blows through these heights,
There once shone a silent sea.


Men who see the Master
Of Cold Mountain, say he’s mad.
A nothing face,
Body clothed in rags.
Who dare say what he says?
When he speaks we can’t understand.
Just one word to you who pass –
Take the trail to Cold Mountain!


Han-shan has his critics too:
‘Your poems, there’s nothing in them!’
I think of men of ancient times,
Poor, humble, but not ashamed.
Let him laugh at me and say:
‘It’s all foolishness, your work!’
Let him go on as he is,
All his life lost making money.


Cold Mountain holds a naked bug,
Its body’s white, its head is black.
In its hands a pair of scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
It needs no pots or stove.
Without clothes it wanders on,
But it carries Wisdom’s blade,
To cut down mindless craving.


I’m on the trail to Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain trail never ends.
Long clefts thick with rock and stones,
Wide streams buried in dense grass.
Slippery moss, but there’s been no rain,
Pine trees sigh, but there’s no wind.
Who can leap the world’s net,
Sit here in the white clouds with me?


Men ask the way through the clouds,
The cloud way’s dark, without a sign.
High summits are of naked rock.
In deep valleys sun never shines.
Behind you green peaks, and in front,
To east the white clouds, and to west –
Want to know where the cloud way lies?
It’s there, in the centre of the Void!


Sitting alone by folded rocks,
Mist swirling even at noon,
Here, inside my room, it’s dark.
Mind is bright, clear of sound.
Through the shining gate in dream.
Back by the stone bridge, mind returns.
Where now the things that troubled me?
Wind-blown gourd rattling in the tree.


Far-off is the place I chose to live.
High hills make for silent tongues.
Gibbons screech in valley cold
My gate of grass blends with the cliff.
A roof of thatch among the pines,
I dig a pool, feed it from the stream.
No time now to think about the world,
The years go by, shredding ferns.


Level after level, falls and hills,
Blue-green mist clasped by clouds.
Fog wets my flimsy cap,
Dew soaks my coat of straw.
A pilgrim’s sandals on my feet,
An old stick grasped in my hand.
Gazing down towards the land of dust,
What is that world of dreams to me?


What a road the Cold Mountain road!
Not a sign of horse or cart.
Winding gorges, tricky to trace.
Massive cliffs, who knows how high?
Where the thousand grasses drip with dew,
Where the pine trees hum in the wind.
Now the path’s lost, now it’s time
For body to ask shadow: ‘Which way home?’


Always it’s cold on this mountain!
Every year, and not just this.
Dense peaks, thick with snow.
Black pine-trees breathing mist.
It’s summer before the grass grows,
Not yet autumn when the leaves fall.
Full of illusions, I roam here,
Gaze and gaze, but can’t see the sky.


No knowing how far it is,
This place where I spend my days.
Tangled vines move without a breeze,
Bamboo in the light shows dark.
Streams down-valley sob for whom?
Mists cling together, who knows why?
Sitting in my hut at noon,
Suddenly, I see the sun has risen.


The everyday mind: that is the way.
Buried in vines and rock-bound caves,
Here it’s wild, here I am free,
Idling with the white clouds, my friends.
Tracks here never reach the world;
No-mind, so what can shift my thought?
I sit the night through on a bed of stone,
While the moon climbs Cold Mountain.


I was off to the Eastern Cliff.
Planned that trip for how long?
Dragged myself up by hanging vines,
Stopped halfway, by wind and fog.
Thorn snatched my arm on narrow tracks,
Moss so deep it drowned my feet,
So I stopped, under this red pine.
Head among the clouds, I’ll sleep.


Bright water shimmers like crystal,
Translucent to the furthest depth.
Mind is free of every thought
Unmoved by the myriad things.
Since it can never be stirred
It will always stay like this.
Knowing, this way, you can see,
There is no within, no without.


Are you looking for a place to rest?
Cold Mountain’s good for many a day.
Wind sings here in the black pines,
Closer you are, the better it sounds.
There’s an old man sitting by a tree,
Muttering about the things of Tao.
Ten years now, it’s been so long
This one’s forgotten his way home.


Cold rock, no one takes this road.
The deeper you go, the finer it is.
White clouds hang on high crags.
On Green Peak a lone gibbon’s cry.
What friends do I need?
I do what pleases me, and grow old.
Let face and body alter with the years,
I’ll hold to the bright path of mind.



Three Short Poems by Han-shan
Translated by Peter Hobson

Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 11, No. 2. (Spring, 1977)
Cf. Poems of Han Shan. Translated by Peter Hobson. Sacred Literature Series, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002, 160 p.

How pleasant is Kazan's path
with no track of horse or carriage,
over linked valleys
with unremembered passes and
peak upon peak
of unknowable heights,
where the dew
weeps on a thousand grasses
and the wind
moans to a single pine;
now, at the point where
I falter in the way,
my form asks my shadow
“whence came we?”

Men ask about Kanzan's path
though Kanzan says
his road is inaccessible,
where the ice has not melted,
and sunshine
where the mist hangs thick;
“how will you draw close
to one like me when
your heart is not as my heart?
If only your heart
were as my heart, then
you would reach the centre.

The people of our times
are trying to track down
the path of clouds, but
the cloud-path is trackless,
high mountains
with many an abyss and
broad valleys
with little enough light,
blue peaks
with neither near nor far,
white clouds
with neither East nor West;
“You wish to know
where the cloud-path lies?
It lies in utter emptiness.”



Selected Han-Shan Poems for Hippie Reading
by the Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen


Han-Shan was the incarnation of the Mahabodhisattva Manjusri. His poems, of course, do not belong to the School of Poetic Laws but to that of Naturalism and Spiritualism. He himself also confessed that he neglected those Poetic Laws, as is said in his poem:

Someone laughs at my poems,
Yet they are fine and fun!
Need no commentary,
Nor any signatory.
Not sad for no one knows,
Hardly anyone follows.
The poetic law I neglect,
Many mistakes can detect,
Yet when they meet wise men.
Inspire the whole world they can.

Hence, those who want to learn the methods of poetic rules, laws, rhymes, tones and antithesis, do not pay deep appreciation to Han-Shan's poems. Because there were many well known poets in the same generation of the Tung Dynasty when Han-Shan lived, the young poets neglected Han-Shan and followed others. However, the Buddhists of China, both scholars and practitioners, do like his poems very much. When I was young I could repeat many of his poems.

Nowadays his poems are respected by Hippies in the West and many new translations have been recently published. Burton Watson has translated 100 of Han-Shan's poems, Bill Wyatts about 80, Arthur Waley 27, and Gary Snyder 24, as far as I have learned. There might be some more translations in English, French and German which I have not yet seen. Our Saint Han-Shan foretold that his poems will inspire the whole world and this seems to become true.

Hippies call him The Ancient Chinese Hippie. The problem is whether or not an Ancient Hippie is the same as a modern one. I therefore made a comparative study and from the content and purport of Han-Shan's poems, I give some advice to the modern Hippie with a hope that every modern Hippie can possess the same merits and characteristics as Han-Shan. That is why this booklet has the title it does.

The total number of Han-Shan's poems was 600 as his poem states:

Quintets are five hundred,
Septets seventy-nine,
Triplets are twenty-one
Six hundred all of mine.
They are written in caves,
They are all that I have,
One realizes altogether
Might be the Buddha's mother!

But nowadays we can find only about 300 of his poems because they were written on cave walls, trees, bamboo and walls, some of which had already vanished in his lifetime.

Here I have translated about eighty poems. They are selected from the Chinese edition as a witness to my advice and hope that every Hippie will treat them as the teaching of Han-Shan himself and that some advantages of spiritual life may be found therein.

I. Drop Out

A. Han-Shan the Mahabodhisattva dropped out completely and never dropped into any community. He had two very affectionate friends. One was Feng Kan, an incarnation of the Buddha Amitabha; the other was Shih-Teh, an incarnation of Samantabhadra. Both were working in the Kuo-Ching monastery. Feng Kan was a rice-pounder and Shih-Teh was an errand-boy in the kitchen who collected the surplus food and kept it in a bamboo for Han-Shan. But they never united together as a community. Han-Shan did not even like the monastery and lived alone on a mountain.

I live in a corner out of the way
And I visit the Holy monks on highway
I often discuss the Tao with Feng Kan
(Tao means path not Taoism)
And talk with Shih-Teh, and a little while stay.
I go back and climb the cliff alone!
Not one talks with me on the path so long.
The Tao is like a stream without source,
Yet the water is in every mouth!

Our modern Hippie, after dropping out of the plastic society, drops into a modern plastic society in which there are no laws, rules, leaders, but only over-freedom which creates many dangerous situations such as suicide, homicide, venereal disease, craziness, and so on, even more so than in the plastic society.

B. Han-Shan dropped out like a deer who has been wounded by a hunter and flees away, never touching any man again. Modern Hippies drop out like fish when bait is swallowed. They are easily lured by some party That is why some Chinese Hippies in California work for the Communist Party, being lured by $20 per day! Try reading this poem of Han-Shan and take the example of the deer:

In remote forest lives the deer,
Drinks water and eats grass with cheer!
Stretches out its legs when it lies down,
How blissful is this creature dear !
If it's caged in a splendid hall,
Where food is quite rich but with fear,
It will always refuse to taste,
In its pure mind it could not bear!

C. Han-Shan's dropping out resulted in his poverty, but the modern Hippies still take the good food of the plastic society and use the modern things of the plastic society. Are not habits like movies and singing inherited from the plastic society? Han-Shan begged--is there any modern Hippie who is really like a beggar? Actually most Hippies are from the middle class; they have money to spend in the same manner as other members of the plastic society.

My dear Hippies, try reading the following poems. Would not tears drop from your sympathetic eyes!

New corn is not yet out,
Old corn is all at nought!
I beg from those rich men and wait,
Standing lonely outside their gate.
Husband says ask wife,
Wife says ask my husband.
Both are very stingy,
The more rich, the more bound!

If you ask of its colour,
It's neither red nor yellow.
In summer it's my shirt,
In winter it's my mat.
It can be used as both.
All year long, it is thus!
Dropped out to be real hermit,
Sleep only on the summit.
Green lichen climb everywhere,
Blue creeks sound like songs here and there,
I feel happy and gay,
I remain in a quiet way!
No defilement from the world,
A pure white lotus I hold!

Han Shan has a house:
No walls, no mouse!
Six doors are open,
Roof is the heaven!
Rooms have nothing at all,
East wall beats the west wall.
No family, who follows?
No furniture, who borrows?
A little fire to rid my cold,
When I'm hungry herbs are boiled.
Not like those rich farmers
Occupy many farms.
They will all go to hell soon.
Once they fall never come on!
Please think it o'er and o'er,
You will find out what's your wrong!

Alas! ill and poor man!
No friend, no kinsman!
No rice in the jar, Dust is in the pan.
My hut leaks, My bed breaks,
Yet I'm not sad,
For sad makes bad!

Some persons did advise me,
To accept a kind of fee!
To build good farm with walls!
Alas! I could not agree!

When I live in village,
Men treat me as a sage!
When I go to city,
Men seem to have pity!
Some say my robe is short,
Others say my shirt is dirty.
With eagle's eyes look at me,
They dance! As sparrow and bee!

D. Han Shan had passed through the hearing and thinking knowledges of Buddhism and was hastened by the Truth of Impermanence to drop out for the purpose of having more time to practice Buddhism diligently. But in Hippiedom, other than those few who have already become Buddhists, most Hippies never see any kind of truth in religion and are driven by the industrial tension of their nation, difficult examinations of college and the heavy responsibility of family to drop-out. They want only rest, relaxation and laziness, and they have not meditated on the idea of impermanence. When they were rebelling, they hoisted flags on which was written, "There is no cure for birth or death, but enjoy the interval." Their definition of birth and death are the actual dates of one's birth and death and the whole lifetime between those dates is the interval. But Buddhists say our life is only based upon inhalation and exhalation, when one is stopped, life is finished. One realizes that one dies every second, there is no certain or confirmed interval, so one has to utilize even a microsecond to practice the Dharma and one should not do any other worldly tasks. That is why one must drop out completely. So many hungup people scarcely drop out despite my tearful advice. If you have already dropped out, it is very rare and you must meditate on the truth of Impermanence and practice the Dharma diligently. One should not be lazy. Please read the following poems of Han-Shan carefully:

Since I came to the region of Tien-Tai,
How many winters and springs come and go.
Landscape does not change, men become old,
And so many youths died I often saw.

I dwell in the mountain with crags,
Far from humans there are just birds.
What is left in the old court yard?
A stone and some white clouds to gird.
I have lived there for many years,
I saw winter and spring as a cord.
Who could describe the ruling palace?
Its vanity who will regard?

Even those ancient sages
Could reach the non-death stage.
Rebirth becomes again death,
The only dust he has.

Bones gather as mountain,
Tears as stream it maintains,
They left only empty names,
Transmigration is certain.

See the flower under leaves.
How long can it nicely live.
Today it fears to be picked,
And tomorrow it takes leave.

It is just like the Beauty,
When she is old, she seems dirty.
Compare her with the flower
Nice looking can not deceive!

Riding my horse by a ruined town,
Sad for its long vanished past!
High and low walls are with grief!
Large and small are the old graves.
Drifting shadows are from silent bush,
Long moan from the graveyard ends a hush.
It's a pity too mundane is our flesh.
It should be immortal through gnostic wash!

On bay horses with coral whip in hands,
Young folk galloped along Lo-young Land!
They are proud of their youth and strong health!
Which leads them to forget that age will end!
Even though white hair will grow on old men,
Rosy cheeks can by no means be defended.
Take one look at the graves of Pewmong,
Is it like the Peng-Lai, a fairy land?

II. Turn On

A. Han-Shan never turned on to drugs as can be seen in his poem:

Some men do fear to be old,
But worldly things do hold.
They seek drugs for long life,
Dig up herbs either hot or cold
Many years get no effect.
Himself is the one to scold.
A hunter wearing the robe,
How Sand could be the gold!

I am a monk without formal discipline.
Even for longevity drugs I'm not taking
There is not any sage still remains--
Their graves are at the foot of mountains.

One of his poems may be misunderstood to mean that he had taken drugs. But in my translation below, the sentences are very clear:

I lived Cold Mountain many an Autumn,
Without sorrow, alone I sing my song.
The silent door need not shut,
Sweet spring goes itself so long.
Nectar boils in the cauldron,
Pine leaves and tea taste are strong.
Gatha Pill stops my hunger.
Mind is quiet, Bone is like stone!

The Chinese transliteration of what I translate as Gatha Pill is "Chia T'o". It is from hybrid Sanskrit and can have two meanings, either translated from Gatha which means stanza, or from Agoda which means a kind of medicine. The former meaning can take the latter as its metaphor as the Agoda can cure the poison, so the stanza of Dharma (Gatha) can cure the mental poison. It was not a pill for longevity or for searching for God. In a translation of this poem by a Westerner this was mistaken as a drug, but I translate it as Gatha which means stanza, and it may be proved by the Buddha's saying in the Avatamsaka Sutra:

I am just like the Agoda, Which cures the poison!

B. Han-Shan never turned on to free love. From the following poems we know what his idea concerning women was:

The kids in the city
All well dressed in beauty
Play with birds and flowers,
And sing songs under moonlight.
Their long poems seems for good,
Their charm-dance looks are right.
Could they do this forever?
Roses will be buried in dirt!
A young girl when married to an old man,
Will not bear white hair of her husband.
Youth married old woman, in that case,
Not be pleased by her yellow face.
But how is the old man with old wife?
They have no love for each other in life,
A young man and a young girl in one door,
Behave lovingly to each other but no more!

The girdle ornaments of the girl in town,
Give forth their tinkling and beautiful sound.
The parrot voice is heard in the flowers.
The fine guitar is strummed under the moon.
A lengthy song takes three months to recite.
A short dance attracts men of great amount.
Alas! It's not continuously like this,
The Lotus can not endure the monsoon.

Small birds sing on the branch of rose,
Their sound is surely sweet and smooth.
The nice girl with a pearl-like face,
Looks at it and sings some sweet prose.
Plays so long still not satisfied,
She enjoys her own golden youth.
When rose falls and birds fly away,
She weeps as Autumn winds arose.

Han-Shan viewed those girls as all other things as impermanent. He did not live even with his own wife. His poem quoted below can prove this:

I have dreamt that I returned home.
Saw my wife weaving at her loom.
She stopped the shuttle, seemed something desired.
She lifted it again and looked so tired.
I cried out to her,she looked at me.
No longer could she know whom I might be.
Because since our parting years went past,
My hair on my temple (body) has turned to frost.

What Dharmas was Han-Shan turning on to? The poems mentioned below have been classified. My good Hippies may take them as good examples and practice the same as did Han-Shan himself or his incarnations.

C. Han-Shan turned on to the Vinayas or commandments.

It was twenty years ago I called at Kuo Ching Temple.
And all the monks laughed at me.
They said I was a foolish man.
Ah, was I really a fool?
But not a style of their sample.
I do not know my real self,
How could they know my example.
I bowed my head but did not ask,
Even ask what was their principle.
Whenever some man blamed me,
I knew that it was so simple.
Though I didn't give tooth for tooth,
Yet I enjoyed my mind ample.

The speech that I had, Seemed to be so mad.
Face to face I say, So hate me they may.
Straight mind causes straight talk,
There is nothing dark.
When pass the death-creek,
I may be a little quick.
You fall into Hell.
Your Karma will tell!

My eastern neighbour is an old woman,
She became so rich a few years before,
Three years back she was more poor,
Now she laughs at me as no money more.
She laughs at me as I did before,
I laugh at her, were unable to score.
If we laugh at each other without cease
We might be left in a game without peace.
Anxiety is not easy to drive away.
Somebody said this is not really the way.

It was driven away yesterday,
But it's coming again on this day.
Anxiety has lingered on since last month
Will be renewed in the future and stay.
All men know that under their hats
There is no less sad than he's got.

I advise all you youngsters
Quickly leave the fire quarter.
Three carriages have been prepared,
Carry you from the shelter.
Pure land is everywhere.
Once for all, all things alter!
In the space no up nor down,
To and fro there is no matter.
If you realize such a truth,
There is nowhere you can't enter!

D. Han-Shan turned on to the great compassion. Although he dropped out he never hated the Hung-ups as deeply as modern Hippies do. My good Hippies, try to practice the Bodhicitta and great compassion, and do not join any rebelling movement if you desire real fellowship with Han-Shan.

When all men meet Han-Shan,
They call him mad person.
They do not too much look at me,
Face and dress are not much to see,
They can't get my view, I say,
I can't get the stress they lay.
To them, all that I can speak:
Try to climb up to the peak.

From the above poem we know he was so kind that he hoped to save others by living and practicing on the peak together.

I saw the foolish cheater,
As a basket of water,
Though he quickly fetched it back,
The basket held no matter.

I saw the cheated man
like the leek on plain.
Though daily it's cut,
Yet it grows again!

I see those worldly men,
Worry, Worry, again.
On the day when they die
Only their graves remain.
Four feet wide,
Twelve feet long.
Could they worry once more,
I would tablet a stone!

Many live in Tien-Tai-Chih,
Who do not know Han-Shan-Tze
Nor understand what he says,
But simply call it nonsense.

Why so often to be grieved,
like mushrooms, men can't live long!
Within only some ten years,
Kinsmen have taken leave.
Try to think over yourself
All sorrows, it's the chief,
Ah, need not say more again,
Just practice hard in the cliff.

Alas, those Hungups,
Wandering no end!
Daily become old,
Not any rest to spend.
Only for some food,
Sorrows extend!
Through a lot of time,
To hell himself he sends!

Tell you the Buddhist Scholars,
Don't always think with reason.
Realize the nature of Truth,
You will know Buddha very soon.
The natural truth is right here,
Without looking any further on.
Don't leave the root and take the branch,
To hold which you are going wrong!

E. Han-Shan turned on to meditation throughout his whole lifetime. Modern Hippies like meditation. But they do not like to make preparation for it. They do not like to follow the many steps to reach it. Such an important practice cannot only be found in poems. Please read my book Buddhist Meditation: Systematic and Practical. All the preparation, steps, and methods, of Samatha and Samadhi are included within it.

Since I have escaped to Cold Mountain,
Eat the wild fruits I obtain.
In my life to worry nothing,
Passing on with whatever condition,
Days and months slip by as water,
Time is like stone-sparks, no matter!
Let the world itself change and change,
I sit in cave, nothing alter!

I enjoy my great Buddhist way,
On plants and stones it is to lay,
My minds nature is free and vast,
White clouds are with me, day by day!
My path is not open to the world.
My heart is void unable to say!
On the stone bed I sit alone,
The white moon rises up round and gay!
My mind is like the white moon,
Clean and clear as the mirror,
Nothing can compare with it,
How could I make metaphor?

Advise you of the plastic society,
Don't only talk without any good conduct,
If you have no reason you will be blamed,
If you have reason, you will still reach defeat,

In the defiled world there are evil men,
Just like plasters covering much deceit.
See him the man who has no worldly task,
He is liberated without any conceit.
Let three evil realms be their own nature.
He returns to natural reality!
Pure and holy he lives in the Dharma,
Never drinks the Avidya water of dirt!

I see those wise men,
Who know their own minds!
Without any knowledge,
The plain truth they find!
Love not the matter,
Leave passions behind!
When mind becomes void,
Suchness is in hand!

I meditate in the cave.
The bright moon shines in the sky.
All phenomenon are shadows,
And the moon, grasping not, yet shines.
Vast and pure is my spirit,
So wondrous yet empty!
From the finger is seen the moon,
From the moon the truth comes so soon!

I sit in front of the cliff,
So long all the clouds take leave.
The clean stream becomes cold,
The green cave is high enough,
Tree's shadow becomes so stiff,
Moonlight seems bring the night up,
As my body touches no dirt!
So my mind has no grief!

The deeper the better is the cave!
No body walks on this narrow wave.
White clouds rest on the highest hill,
Green cliff hides the monkeys who trill,

No relative other than these,
I do like live here at my will!
Let my face and seasons change,
My mind-pearl is always so still!
Talk about food can't feed!
Talk about clothes can't warm!
You must eat the rice,
Wear clothes in good form,
If you don't think of,
Practice seems to harm,
If you turn in your mind,
Buddha is at home!
I could not change my rule,
I'm not straw mat to roll,
Wander in the forest,
Sit on the stone I cull!

If you do want a good place to live on,
The ice mountain is ideal one, I have found.
Breezes murmur gently between calm pine trees.
It's elating to hear and one is free,
Under these trees there is a grey haired man,
Reading his Sutra as much as he can,
For ten years he did not return,
He forgot the roads by which he came!

I stay in such obedience!
No body is my audience!
Sitting among the brilliant clouds,
I am always in silence!

III. Tune In

A. Han-Shan tuned in to nature which has nothing to do with primitive life, long hair and long beards, but the nature of landscapes and his own body and mind. He harmonized himself and identified himself with nature. There is no differentiation between subject and object. Read the following poems:

Laughable is the path to Han-Shan,
Carriage and horses there is no sign,

Uncountable are the curves of the streams,
And the grades of the hills over toppings.
Though different grasses are to dew bend,
Yet, all pines sing the same song in the wind.
When the way seems to be lost,
Shadow helps body to mend!

The spring in green creek is clear,
Moonlight on cold hill is white,
Silence makes the spirit cheer,
When mind is void, matter is alright!

When many birds start to call,
I still sleep against the wall.
Peach blossoms beautiful
Willow leaves dance very cheerful
Bright sun seems to swallow the peak
White clouds wash in the creek.
Who knows this way without world dust
Able to call on Han-Shan and trust!

I stand on the peak,
Sun shines its bright light,
Look around the clear sky,
Crane and clouds friendly fly!

Call me to pick the flowers,
In the so lovely river!
We play till the evening,
We see the wind rising,
Waves circle the mandarin,
Water birds move their wings.
I stay in the boat wide,
My mind expands no hide!

Old year is gone,
The spring has come.
Flowers smile at the creek,
Cliffs dance in clouds and fog!
Butterflies seem so glad;
Fish and birds are as if mad!
No end has our friendship.
So cheer I lose my sleep!

How noble is the nature!
The one without creature!
You find it but not see
Goes through without structure!
Catch it and it seems my mind,
Expand it where all may reach!
If you do not believe it,
You meet it but no fixture!

B. Han-Shan tuned in to his meditation.

All things have settled since I lived on Cold Mountain!
No task could trouble me in my mind again.
I write all my poems on the wall of the cave.
And rest like a boat without anchor to attain

See the bright moon
Shines on each town,
Round in the sky,
Pure for so long!
Men differ one another,
I see no right or wrong!
To me it is like a gem,
At night it is like the sun!

The mountain is like powder,
The Sumeru, a mustard,
The great ocean like one drop,
All induced in mind standard.
From which grows the Bodhi-seed.
Leaves cover many a god.
You who love the Dharma,
Tangle not things easy or hard!

Ancient traces are still on stone,
Highest peak is an empty point.
Moon is always bright and clean
There is no east or west to count.

I look at the clean stream,
And sit on the great stone,
Mind depends on nothing;
All worldly tasks have gone!

Among many long creeks and high summits
There is a man who is a happy hermit.
In day time he wanders in the mountain,
At night sleeps in any cave, without permit.
Let all the springs and summers pass themselves,
Silent and quiet he has no self to fit.
What a great pleasure of Independence!
Suchness is just like autumn stream to sit.

I have chosen such a solitude so high,
The unspeakable best hermitage in Tien-Tai.
Apes brayed for cool in the fog about the spring,
The peaks green united with my grass opening.
Pick some leaves to cover my house of pine.
To my place draw the stream instead of wine.
I have very willingly dropped out;
Take only herbs and tune my life into nought.

On Tien-Tai Mountain I make my home.
Clouds and vapour make no guest come.
It's in the deep cliff a thousand feet
On a high peak with brooks round and fit.
Trips near by the stream with wooden shoes,
Go round them, only a stick to use.
I feel my whole lifetime is of magic
Full of the bliss is my lonely picnic!

Tzon Tze said, "The good death you are having
Is making the earth and sky your coffin."
I shall rest myself there some days later,
Need no money of paper or pewter!
(It is a Chinese custom that when one dies foil money is offered to the dead person).

To the fly my flesh will be given all !
I will not trouble the crane to condole
Ancients were hungry in Shu-Yong-San,
Both life and death are happy and whole.

Nothing is born before earth,
It has no form, health or disease
It's the master of all things,
Follows no reason to cease.

Climb up to the Cold Mountain
The path to it has no end.
In the long stream there are stones,
On the two shores grass to defend.

C. Han-Shan tuned in to his happiness from his realization of meditation.

Only white clouds are on the hill,
No worldly dirt in Silence.
Straw hut easy to build,
Light borrowed from moon-essence!
Stone bed above the green lake,
Wild deers are good audience!
I enjoy my happiness,
A man beyond existence!

If you want always happiness.
You have to be a hermit.
Nice flowers save in forest,
In four seasons you may meet.
Sit quietly in the deep cave,
The moon shines her light so sweet,
Although I am very delighted
Yet all fools I can't forget.

I like my happiness in the hill,
I'm free from all kinds of dependance!
Take little food to support my body,
Besides meditation no circumstance!

Some times I read sutra and sastra,
Some times climb on peak in far distance,
I used to see village of down side,
And upside the clouds in transference!
The bright moon seems become very fresh,
A lonely crane is my existence!

D. Han-Shan finally tuned in to his great Nirvana which is no-birth and no-death. Read the following poems. They make this booklet an auspicious end of no-end.

Know you not the birth and death,
They are like water and ice.
Water becomes ice and vice versa.
There is nothing otherwise,
Dead man have to be born,
Living men will be gone.
Water never harms ice,
To me both are so nice!

Ever Thus!
Living alone,
No birth no death!!

Without turning on there would be no tuning in: without practice, no perfection. I have given much advice upon the Buddhist course in the booklet entitled "Welcome Hippies Through This Way" (Booklet New No. 48). Please kindly refer to it.


Han Shan
Translated by D. T. Suzuki

Essays in Zen Buddhism, Third Series, 1953, pp. 160-161.

"Han Shan and Shih-te are two inseparable characters in the history of Zen Buddhism, forming one of the most favourite 
subjects of Sumiye painting by Zen artists.  Han Shan was a poet-recluse of the T'ang dynasty.  His features looked worn 
out, and his body was covered in clothes all in tatters.  He wore a head gear made of birch-bark and his feet carried a pair 
of sabots too large for them.  He frequently visited the Kuo-ch'ing monastery at T'ien-tai, where he was fed with whatever 
remnants there were from the monk's table.  He would walk quietly up and down through the corridors, occasionally talking
aloud to himself or to the air.  When he was driven out, he would clap his hands and laughing loudly would leave the

I think of the past twenty years,
When I used to walk home quietly from the Kuo-ch'ing;
All the people in the Kuo-ch'ing monastery--
They say, "Han-shan is an idiot."
"Am I really an idiot:" I reflect.
But my reflections fail to solve the question:
For I myself do not know who the self is,
And how can others know who I am?
I just hang down my head-- no more asking needed;
For of what service can the asking be?
Let them come then and jeer at me all they like,
I know most distinctly what they mean;
But I am not to respond to their sneer,
For that suits my life admirably.



Han Shan
Translated by R. H. Blyth
Zen and Zen Classics , Volume 2: History of Zen. The Hokuseido Press, 1964. pp. 159-171.

My mother and father left me enough to live on,
I have no need to grudge others their lands and fields.
My wife works at the loom; creak! creak! it goes.
My children prattle and play;
Clapping their hands, they dance with the flowers,
Rhey listen to the song of the birds, chin on hand.
Who comes to pay his respects?
A woodcutter, occasionally.

Beams with a thatch over them, - a wild man's dwelling!
Before my gate pass horses and carts seldom enough;
The lonely woods gather birds;
The broad valley stream harbours fish;
With my children I pluck the wild fruits of the trees;
My wife and I hoe the rice field;
What is there in my house?
A single case of books.

I live in a village;
And everybody praises me to the skies,
But yesterday I went to the town.
Even the dog watched me suspiciously;
The people don't like the cut of my coat,
Or my trousers are too long or too short for them.
If an eagle is struck blind,
The sparrows fly openly.

I was pretty poor before,
Today I am wretchedness and misery itself.
Everything is at sixes and sevens.
I meet suffering everywhere I go.
I often slip about on the muddy roads;
I get belly-ache when I sit with my neighbours.
when the tabby cat is lost,
Rats occupy the rice-chest.

Here's a fine chap, strong in mind and body,
He has the Six Accomplishments;
But when he goes South he's driven North,
And when he goes West he's sent away East,
Always floating like duckweed,
Like 'flying grass," never at rest.
You ask, "What kind of man may this be?"
His surname is Poverty; the first name is Extremity.

Last night I dreamed I was back home again,
And was looking at my wife weaving.
She stopped the loom, and seemed deep in thought,
And as though she had not the strenght to begin again.
I called to her and she looked up at me,
But did not recognise me, and stared vacantly.
The years are many since we parted,
And my hair is not the colour it used to be.

In the citadel there is a beautiful lady;
The pearls at her waist tinkle silverly.
Among the flowers she dandles a parrot,
And plays the lute under the moon.
The long tones of her song still linger after three months;
The short dance,-- all come to see.
But this will not continue forever;
The lotus flower cannot bear the frost.

I live in a nice place,
Far from dust and bustle.
By treading the turf, I have three paths;
The clouds I see I make my four walls.
To help Nature express itself there are the voices of birds;
Here there is nobody to ask about Buddhist philosophy.
The Tree of the World is still growing;
My short span of spring,-- how many years will it be?

The Way to Hanshan is a queer one;
No ruts or hoof prints are seen.
Valley winds into valley,
Peak rises above peak;
Grasses are bright with dew,
And pine trees sough in the breeze.
Even now you do not know?
The reality is asking the shadow the way.

Quietly I visited a famous monk;
Mountains rose one atfter another through the mist.
The master pointed out my way back;
The moon, a circle of light, hung in the sky.

I dwell below boulders piled one upon another.
A path fit for birds! It only prevents people form coming.
The garden,-- can you call it a garden?
The white clouds embrace ineffable rocks;
How many times have I seen spring depart, seen winter come again?
But avoid the dinner bell and banquets galore,
Beware of names empty and profitless.

My hut is beneath a green cliff,
The garden a wilderness;
The latest creepers hang down in coils and twinings,
Ancient rocks stand sharp and tall.
Monkeys come and pick the wild fruits;
The white heron swallows the fish of the pools.
Under the trees I read some Taoist books;
My voice intones the words and phrases.

These past twenty years!-- thinking of them,
How I have walked quietly back from Kuoching Temple,
And all the people of the temple
Say of Hanshan, "What a nincompoop he is!"
Why do they call me a fool, I wonder?
But I can't decide the question,
For I myself don't know who 'I" is,
So how can others possibly know?
I hang my head; what's the use of their asking?
What good can thinking about it do?
People come and laugh at me.
I know quite well what they think of me,
But I am not foolish enough to retort to them,
Because they do just what I want them to do.

Chuangtse told us about his funeral,
How Heaven and Earth would be his coffin.
There is a time to die,
And just one hurdle will do.
Dead, I shall be the food of blow-flies;
I won't give white cranes the trouble of mourning for me.
To starve on Mount Shouyang,--
It's a gallant life, a joyful death.

People ask the way to Hanshan,
But there is no way to Hanshan.
The ice does not melt even in summer,
And even if the sun should rice, dense vapours clothe it round.



Encounters with Cold Mountain - Poems by Han Shan
Translated by Peter Stambler

Beijing, Panda Books, Chinese Literature Press, 1996


If you were so dim in a former life,
Today's life won't bring you light.

If you suffer poverty's sting,
Spread balm upon the life that once you led.

If today you fail to find your way,
You bequeath yourself a pathless wood.

Two lives, two shores, a fast, broad stream,
No sturdy boat at hand. Impossible!


Once, my back wedded to the solid cliff,
I sat silently, bathed in the full moon's light.

I counted there ten thousand shapes,
None with substance save the moon's own glow.

The pristine mind is empty as the moon,
I thought, and like the moon, freely shines.

By what I knew of moon I knew the mind,
Each mirror to each, profound as stone.


Why question the fate of the dew?
The morning sun burns dew, and drowns in clouds.

The holy mountain is not a palace
But an inn.
Once you, innkeeper,
Drive out desire, ignorance, hate,
What remains? Enlightenment? Affliction?

Dew is your model: nothing at all.


Up I climbed to a cloudy observatory
Where I met some priests, immortals all.
You can't miss them: star caps and feathered capes,
Much talk of dwwelling by the mountain streams.
"Tell me," I said, "how one becomes immortal."
"The Way, the Way," they murmured together.
"Then, there's the Supreme Elixir,
Yet to be found, the god's nectar.
Till then, striding the Way, we wait for cranes"
(Though one added, "Um ... we depart on fish.")

And so I descended, thinking, "This makes no sense.
If I aim my arrow at heaven,
It falls back to earth just the same.
If they're immortals, what do they do,
Hungry ghosts, haunting their own dead bodies?

"The mind," I said, "is moon-clear, the world
and its thousand shapes but dreams to shine upon.
The Elixir, then, is mixed in the mind."

I left a message at the temple gate:
No Masters here, but idiots and doubt.


A beauty in our city,
Wears pearls loosely pendant at her waist
To wash her
In their tintinnabulation.

In the spring garden she teases
Her parrot; she strums
Her pi-pa, and the moonlight
Scatters through the strings.

All year her song enveloped our ears;
We watched her trim dance
A thousand times.

No one thinks: one cold wind blackens the hibiscus.


From my perch on Cold Mountain I have much
to say.
The world demurs, believing nothing.

For them, the tongue was made for honey,
Not the bitter oak - soul's balm - I peddle.

Drifting downstream delights the simple mind;
I send them up the narrows to the source.

They carve themselves from wood, someone pulls the strings.
And they fall exhausted from their single dance.


Because I had the time, I sought a monk
Though the climb was shrouded in ten thousand mists.

The master kindly showed the way home,
And the moon lit my path.


In their wisdom, the wise spurn me.
In mine, I reject the stupid.

Because I despise both your camps,
Let us agree to avoid one another.

I choose to bray at the cock-eyed moon,
To dance through mountain clouds at sunrise.

Why immure my hands in my sleeves,
Lock up my tongue,
And sit rigid as a chair?
My hair cascades!


No painted beams adorn my house,
Green pines suffice.

All one's life, its thousand efforts,
Evaporate at once. Who looks well beyond,
Builds the raft, directs it smoothly
To the lotus blooms he craves?

Beneath the pines, tend to roots,
Not blossoms.


Between the infinite height of Heaven
And Earth's immeasurable density,

All life struggles for primacy,
Place, a red quelled hunger.

All species connive another's ruin,
Aiming precisely for belly heat.

Name one who considers cause, effect: name
A blind man who grasps the colour of milk.


What a mind he had! Master of footnotes,
Retailer of all details. Sword tip, brush tip,

Tip of the tongue -- all penetrating. Music,
Horsemanship, archery, each one subdued.

When he exhaled, we breathed deeply.

Once he found the meaning not just there,
He fled in all directions, split hairs everywhere.


The heart that moves the traveler
Is the heart wounded by ruins:

The dusty courtyard, the lintel fallen
At the chamber door, a broken grave,

A shadow scurrying beneath the tumbleweed,
Wind brazen in the unpruned trees,

The bones of daily men -- these I mourn --
Unrecorded, unread, unmentioned anywhere.


How just death is. Even as I picture you,
Sturdy, tall, I drop my eyes
To your burial mound.
Fine dust, like any man's.

I think of a world unrelieved by dawn.
I fail -- here, grass sprouts green each spring;
Each heart breaking season arrives anew,
And only the evergreen constantly grieves with me.


Yesterday, climbing to the summit,
I risked the verge, and peered down a thousand feet.

There, clinging to the edge, a single tree
Gave way to wind, splintering.

In the sudden rain, its leaves scattered.
The late sun fell on them, and they turned to dust.

How might I prevent my sorrow
Taking root in this decay?


Sprawled out on a boulder,
I watch the icy stream swirl past --
A small amusement, one of many:

Daring the cliff's edge in settled fog,
Receiving it as a place of rest;
Tracing the shadows of trees inn the last sun;
Looking inward at the earthworks of my mind
As the lotus blooms there in the mind.


Respectfully, I thought to live with my brother:
I wore books in my sleeve, plowing fields.

But my brother berated me;
My wife found him wise.

I have renounced this desert world.
I read what love, roving.

You there! A ladle's water, no more:
Buoy this perch stranded in the carriage track.


The mushroom and the cricket decline within a day.
Why then should I take it so to heart,
Knowing life's brevity, that friends
Endure decades before they perish?

To think of perishing -- to think endurance --
Saddens me, and sadness I cannot bear.

What's left to a man to do?
Slough off this cocoon and fly to the mountains.


Why all this infernal weeping,
I ask? Why these tears, decorous as pearls?

Parting is our nature; once separated,
Only mourning comes again and again.

And poverty, if that's your lot,
Settles on you without explanation.

We meet in the graveyard, all tears.
What follows does not concern me.


If you would read my poems,
Prepare yourself well: be pure of mind.

Open your tight-fisted heart; flatter
None but honesty with your upright word;

From the bag of Self, unpack evil,
Refolding what remains, your Buddha-body.

This is your first assignment. Do it now,
And quickly. I speak an empire's law.


Sir, in my youth the emperor loved books;
I studied arms and served without reward.

In the next regime, I pondered books;
The emperor cultivated military men.

Now, having mastered books and war,
Having served both war and books,

I've grown old. What is left to me?
The emperor loves youth.


Some men love a bulging storehouse
Just as the owl adores her brood.

In time, the owlets eat their mother,
And wealth consumes the man with interest.

Fling coins abroad, sowing blessings;
Plant them at your door and reap disaster.

Having nothing to lose; lose nothing.
An empty pocket swings at ease, like wings.


You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.


I think of my travels, scenes
Men seek to say they've seen them.

Loving mountains, I conquered mountains,
Loving water, I mastered a thousand streams,
For fellowship, saw friends off at Pi Pa Valley,
For sensibility, strummed my lute at Parrot Isle.

How could I have known this broken pine awaited me,
Where, knees hugged to my chest, I sit alone?


However remote in the night's depths,
Stars incline towards each other in constellations.
Amid the shadows of many rocks, I raise but one lamp,

For the moon arches, drawing me out
In radiance, every facet cooly lit.
It is my mind, suspended.


At Cold Mountain, clouds enfold the sharp cliffs.
Below, the river eddies around sharp stones.

From here I hear the ancient fisherman
Sing to his single oar, fashioning his wake.

I do not choose to listen, but the mountain
Pines at my secluded thought, nonetheless.

The sparrow, unperturbed, brings twine
From the old man's net, and busies himself on my wall.



I Sketch a Map in a Cup of Tea

Travelers wonder how to reach Cold Mountain.

No road stretches so far; the streams end far below.
Summer ice darkens the greens.
Sunrise labors to burn off the mist.

How did a gray squat thing like me arrive?
I make my journey sitting still.



And Beyond That, Planets

What is more remote,
Arching above Cold Mountain,
Than an alien moon,
Mirror to its empty sky?

So is it here: my moon mind
Submerged, self-deep, reflecting.



Reading Aloud, I Find, Leavens the Mountainside

A mossy cliff looms above my hut.
Shall I weed the garden? I demure;

From the ageless tone face, new flowering
Vines descend, coiling and pungent;

Monkeys raid the mountain groves for fruit,
And only herons stalk the stream's speckled fish.

I? Pressed to the willow bark, I read
Immortals, scattering scrolls about me, murmuring.



My Shoulder Bruises under My Hoe

I have found out the deadly malady:
All things gorge themselves without satisfaction.

Steamed pork bathed in savory garlic;
Duckling, glazed, dipped in five-spice.

Sliced fish with spring onion, lightly braised;
Skin, rind, pig's ear, sapid snout!

No one tastes the bitterness others chew
When honeysuckle clings to their parted lips.




How transparent the emerald stream,
Transparent the moonlight above Cold Mountain.

In silence one sees through the soul,
Space, and the composed world.



Day Labor

One man steams a pot of sand for rice;
His neighbor, thirsty, sinks a well.
His brother cramps his strength, rubbing bricks
Into—he hopes—perfect mirrors.

The Buddha says we have one nature,
That we are truly so.
Think of that.
Not struggle, but thinking makes it so.



Inwardly, My Soul Thinks of Rejoicing

Say I have lived a thousand times.
To what end comes another end,
Revolving through deaths and lives?

I forget a jewel is sewn
In the hem of my heart's cloak.
And I beg my way forward,
An eyeless mule, hoof on stones!



I Request a Bowl of Wine, and Sullenly One Compiles

I passed a grove on the bank of a stream.
Wagoners had slashed the boughs with long knives;

Frost had blackened the leaves,
And the constant water had wasted the roots.

Thus it must be for live things anywhere.
What would a bitter eyed do, cast
At God, thrust pointedly at Nature?



We Come

Beneath the lotus, the clearest water opened
As we reached out and met our rippling faces.

Such fun, not feeling the falling dusk,
Stretching our wet hands into the wind.

Where the stream flowed, ducks drifted.
In turn, we pulled in our oars,
Lay them between us, resisting nothing
As thought surged over the water.




Peach blossoms yearn for a summer's life,
Shivering before a slight breeze, paling

In each descent of the moon. Of all the ancients,
Not one wakes when a bough stirs.

Leaves of my book curl, and the edges brown
In the fire that livens my mother's ashes.

When I stumble my feet raise dust
Where once the greenest sea rolled.




Pretending to be mute, committing no brush to ink
Will give posterity little to weigh.

Your seclusion, your humble withdrawal to the bog
Will give your wisdom a sodden taste.

No one nods approvingly at your wrinkles
Or thinks you've weathered winters well.

It is the harvest men revere,
Not the clay oxen in a stony field.



A Traveler Brings Messages, Waiting While I Read

From my heights I stare into an opaque sky;
Thick clouds, though white, obscure the lower peaks.

These rumors abound: the carrion crow eats fresh meat;
The phoenix pecks for grubs from village to village;

Horses fast as wind are exiled via pitted roads;
They pass donkeys bearing empty vessels to court.

The dense clouds say, “Do not ask Heaven why.”
Yet we nesting birds are cast into a heaving stream.



I Ask the Singer, Do You Know…

Behind a scrim of pearls in Jade Hall
Shine a lustrous girl.

One glance at her invokes immortals,
So fair the peach sheen of her face.

At the Eastern Palace, spring mists descend;
In the West, autumn winds efface

All surfaces. Just thirty years from now:
Look on her face—gnawn sugar cane.



Obvious Parable

Consider the wild deer, forest born,
Its simple thirst, its taste for green grass,
Its sleep, beneath a leafy tree,
Unperturbed by care or obligation.

Consider then the gilded hall, the deer
In captive, served seasoned delicates.
Why wonder that it will not eat,
That all its beauty consents to fade?



I Do Not Answer Why I Stare Into Puddles

Respectfully, I thought to live with my brother;
I wore books in my sleeve, plowing fields.

But my brother berated me:
My wife found him wise.

I have renounced this desert world.
I read what I love, roving.

You there! A ladle's water, no more:
Buoy this perch stranded in the carriage track.



I Ask the Singer, Do You Know…

Behind a scrim of pearls in Jade Hall
Shines a lustrous girl.

One glance at her invokes immortals,
So fair the peach sheen of her face.

At the Eastern Palace, spring mists descend;
In the West, autumn winds efface

All surfaces. Just thirty years from now:
Look on her face—gnawn sugar cane.



Cold Mountain Transcendental Poetry by the T'ang Zen Poet Han-shan
100 poems translated by “Wandering Poet, M.A.”
a bewhiskered graduate of California State University who is a poet, author, and Buddhist monk and who has also translated other works of poetry

“What is the saddest thing in the world?
Hurry hurry hurry chasing desire
Don't learn from the white cloud mountain man
One layer of shabby clothes is my entire wealth
In autumn I watch the leaves fall
In spring I watch the trees flower
I sleep through heaven and earth with no concerns
With the bright moon and gentle breeze I dwell”

“Face haggard, hair white
I'm happy to still live in the mountains
A cloth covered phantom
Watching the years flow by
Why envy people with clever ways of living?”

“People ask the way to Cold Mountain
Roads do not go through
Summer arrives yet the ice has not melted
Though the sun is out it's foggy and dim
How did I arrive here?
My mind and yours are not the same
When our minds are one
You will be here too.”

“When people look for the road in the clouds
The cloud road disappears
The mountains are tall and steep
The streams are wide and still
Green mountains ahead and behind
White clouds to east and west
If you want to find the cloud road
Seek it within.”



More Translations from the Chinese

Ridiculous Cold Mountain Road

Ridiculous Hanshan road, 
Neither cart horse track!
Torturous trail coiled between valleys,
Stacked peaks impossibly high.
Dew weeps from thick foliage,
Wind drones moans in the  pines.
Baffled I lose my bearings,
Beg my shadow to find me a trail.

Translated by Dongbo 東波


Ha ha ha.
If I show joy and ease my troubled mind,
Worldly troubles into joy transform.
Worry for others--it does no good in the end.
The great Dao, all amid joy, is reborn.
In a joyous state, ruler and subject accord,
In a joyous home, father and son get along.
If brothers increase their joy, the world will flourish.
If husband and wife have joy, it's worthy of song.
What guest and host can bear a lack of joy?
Both high and low, in joy, lose their woe before long.
Ha ha ha.

Translated by Mary Jacob


This is my resting place;
Now that I know the best retreat.
The breeze blows through the pines,
Sounding better the nearer it is.
Under a tree I'm reading
Lao-tzu, quietly perusing.
Ten years not returning,
I forgot the way I had come.

Translated by Katsuki Sekida


People ask about Cold Mountain Way;
There's no Cold Mountain Road that goes straight through:
By summer, lingering cold is not dispersed,
By fog, the risen sun is screened from view;
So how did one like me get onto it?
In our hearts, I'm not the same as you --
If in your heart you should become like me,
Then you can reach the center of it too.

Translated by E. Bruce Brooks


A thousand clouds among a myriad streams
And in their midst a person at his ease.
By day he wanders through the dark green hills,
At night goes home to sleep beneath the cliffs.
Swiftly the changing seasons pass him by, 
Tranquil, undefiled, no earthly ties.
Such pleasures! - and on what do they rely?
On a quiet calm, like autumn river water.

Translated by Peter Harris

Free between smoky vines and rocky cave,
A lifelong self-content is all the Way.
I feel an open joy in wilderness,
Friend to the white clouds through each lazy day.

Paths there will be that don't lead to this world;
Why climb when heart has no debts left to pay?
All night I sit on a stone bed alone;
Up the Cold Mountain the moon makes its way.

Translated by Frederick Turner and Y. D .



The View from Cold Mountain: Poems of Han-Shan
Translated by Arthur Tobias
Edited by Dennis Maloney, Buffalo, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 1982, [38] p.

Divination showed my place among these bunched cliffs
where faint trails cut off the traces of men and women
what's beyond the yard
white clouds embracing hidden rocks
living here still after how many years
over and over I've seen spring and winter change
get the word to families with bells and cauldrons
empty fame has no value

Everyone who reads my poems
must protect the purity of their heart's heart
cut down your craving continue your days modestly
coax the crooked and the bent then you'll be upright
drive out and chase away your evil karma
return home and follow your true nature
on that day you'll get the Buddhabody
as swiftly as Lu-ling runs

Looking for a place to settle out
Cold Mountain will do it
fine wind among thick pines
the closer you listen the better the sound
under them a man his hair turning white
mumbling mumbling Taoist texts
he's been here ten years unable to return
completely forgotten the way by which he came

My heart is like the autumn moon
perfectly bright in the deep green pool
nothing can compare with it
you tell me how it can be explained

Wanting to go to the eastern cliff
setting out now after how many years
yesterday I used the vines to pull myself up
but halfway there wind and mist made the going tough
the narrow path grabbed at my clothes
the moss so slippery I couldn't proceed
so I stopped right here beneath this cinnamon tree
used a cloud as a pillow and went to sleep

Sitting alone in peace before these cliffs
the full moon is heaven's beacon
the ten thousand things are all reflections
the moon originally has no light
wide open the spirit of itself is pure
hold fast to the void realize its subtle mystery
look at the moon like this
this moon that is the heart's pivot

I like my home being well hidden
a dwelling place cut off from the world's noise and dust
trampling the grass has made three paths
looking up at the clouds makes neighbors in the four directions
there are birds to help with the sound of the singing
but there isn't anyone to ask about the words of the Dharma
today among these withered trees
how many years make one spring

People ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain the road doesn't go through
by summer the ice still hasn't melted
sunrise is a blur beyond the fog
imitating me how can you get here
if your heart was like mine
you'd return to the very center

I live beneath a green cliff
the weeds I don't mow flourish in the yard
new vines hang down all twisted together
old rocks rise up straight in precipitous slopes
monkeys pick the mountain fruit
egrets catch the pond fish
with one or two of the immortals' books
beneath the trees I mumble reading aloud

When the year passes it's exchanged for a year of worries
but when spring arrives the colors of things are fresh and new
mountain flowers laugh in green water
cliff trees dance in bluegreen mist
the bees and butterflies express their joy
the birds and fish are even more lovabl e
my desire for a friend to wander with still unsatisfied
I struggled all night but could not sleep

Your essays are pretty good
your body is big and strong
but birth provides you with a limited body
and death makes you a nameless ghost
it's been like this since antiquity
what good will come of your present striving
if you could come here among the white clouds
I'd teach you the purple mushroom song

If you 're always silent and say nothing
what stories will the younger generation have to tell
if you hide yourself away in the thickest woods
how will your wisdom's light shine through
a bag of bones is not a sturdy vessel
the wind and frost do their work soon enough
plow a stone field with a clay ox
and the harvest day will never come

In the green creek spring water is clear
at Cold Mountain the moon's corona is white
silence your understanding and the spirit of itself is enlightened
view all things as the Void and this world is even more still

My resting place is in the deep woods now
but I was born a farmer
growing up simple and honest
speaking plainly without flattery
what nourished me wasn't studying for jade badges of office
but believing that a man of virtue would then get the pearl
how can we be like those floating beauties
wild ducks drifting on the waves as far as the eye can see

Clouds and mountains all tangled together up to the blue sky
a rough road and deep woods without any travellers
far away the lone moon a bright glistening white
nearby a flock of birds sobbing like children
one old man sitting alone perched in these green mountains
a small shack the retired life letting my hair grow white
pleased with the years gone by happy with today
mindless this life is like water flowing east

In my house there is a cave
in the cave there's nothing at all
pure emptiness really wonderful
glorious and splendid bright as the sun
vegetarian fare nourishes this old body
cotton and hides cover this illusory form
let a thousand saints appear before me
I have the Dharmakaya for my very own

Despite the obstacles I pursued the great monk
the misty mountains a million layers high
he pointed to the road back home
one round moon lantern of the sky

Ahead the green creek sparkles as it flows
toward the cliff a huge rock with a good edge for sitting
my heart is like a lone cloud with nothing to depend on
so far away from the world's affairs what need is there to search for anything

When this generation sees Han-shan
they all say I'm a crazy man
unworthy of a second look
this body wrapped only in cotton and hides
they don't understand what I say
I don't speak their kind of jabber
I want to tell all of you passing by
you can come up and face Cold Mountain

Me I'm happy with the everyday way
like the mist and vines in these rockstrewn ravines
this wilderness is so free and vast
my old friends the white clouds drift idly off
there is a road but it doesn't reach the world
mindless who can be disturbed by thoughts
at night I sit alone on a stone bed
while the round moon climbs the face of Cold Mountain

Amidst a thousand clouds and ten thousand streams
there lives one ex-scholar me
by day wandering these green mountains
at night coming home to sleep beneath a cliff
suddenly spring and fall have already passed by
and no dust has piled up to disturb this stillness
such happiness what do I depend on
here it's as tranquil as autumn river water

I see people chanting a sutra
who depend on its words for their ability to speak
their mouths move but their hearts do not
their hearts and mouths oppose each other
yet the heart's true nature is without conflict
so don't get all tangled up in the words
learn to know your own bodily self
don't look for something else to take its place
then you'll become the boss of your mouth
knowing full well there's no inside or out



The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
Translated by Red Pine
has been removed at the request of copyright owner

Extracts in DOC