寒山拾得

(pinyin: Hanshan [&] Shide | pron: [han shan] & [sh' t'] | ; jpn: Kanzan [&] Jittoku)

This story tells about a wise man who lived during Tang times. An educated man of a good family who refused to accept a job at the imperial court. A truthful man who couldn’t stand peoples' lies and pretenses which made him finally leave the “world of glory" and all his possessions behind and go to live to the mountains in solitude. Although no one knows his name, he called himself “Han shan” [Cold mountain], which is the name of the place where he found his refuge. All he wanted was to sincerely live in peace and harmony with Nature, what he had found rather impossible to do, while living among people of political power.

He rejected the world of money and glory and embraced the world of Nature instead. Living for decades on the Cold mountain in solitude, he was never alone. His company were trees, birds and other animals around him, all full of life, which he would never harm. He didn’t live completely separated from people either. His friend was an old monk called Shide [Foundling], a cook in a small nearby monastery, where Hanshan used to come once in a while to get some extra food and to talk. One day they left together and no one has ever seen them since. The only thing they left us are poems written on rocks, cave walls, cliffs, bamboos, etc. In the most of the worlds eyes, they were fools, wearing torn-apart garments, not caring what others thought about them. Their poems were later collected by Lu Jiuyin, a governor of Tai prefecture who claimed had met them in person once, just before Hanshan and Shide both left for good.

The legend of Hashan and Shide lives on even in these crazy modern times. On paintings, they are usually displayed as two funny long haired laughing caricatures. Yet their poems contain wisdom that could give a lesson to most of us even today. Perhaps a lesson about the importance of nature, peaceful life and truthfulness they cherished so much. They are an undying part of our history the same way they are an undying part of Cold mountain. Even today, if u go there, you might, from far away, hear some of their grin.

    Hanshan

多少天台人
不識寒山子
莫知真意度
喚作閒言語

How many people of T’ian t’ai
do not know master Hanshan
not knowing the true meaning [of all things]
[they] make [only] idle speech

閒遊華頂上
天朗月光輝
四顧晴空裏
白雲同鶴飛

[I] roam idly at the flowery peak
[from] heavens shines bright moonlight
[I] look around, in the clear sky
with white clouds fly cranes

吾心似秋月
碧潭清皎潔
無物堪比倫
教我如何說

My heart is similar to autumn Moon,
a jade[-colored] pool [in a] clear bright [moon]light.
No thing can [ever] compare [or] match [that],
[so] tell me how to explain [such a phenomena].

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

It has been thirty years since [my] birth,
[and I’ve] already roamed ten million miles.
Went [where] the river and green grass meet,
entered the border [where] red dust lifts.
Burned medicines [in the] vain search for immortality,
read scriptures and sung history [annals].
Today [I] returned to Cold mountain,
a stream [is my] pillow, washing [away the world’s dust off my] ears.

昨夜夢還鄉
見婦機中織
駐梭若有思
擎梭似無力
呼之回面視
況復不相識
應是別多年
鬢毛非舊色

Last night I had a dream of returning home,
saw [my] wife in the middle of weaving.
[She] stopped shuttling, as if [got lost in] thoughts,
to lift [her hand] back and forth, [she] seemed to lack strength.
[When I] called, she observed my face,
like we didn’t know each other.
No wonder, [after so] many years have passed,
[my] hair on the temples do not [have their] former color.

一向寒山坐
淹留三十年
昨來訪親友
太半入黃泉
漸滅如殘燭
長流似逝川
今朝對孤影
不學淚雙懸

Once [I came to] Cold mountain to sit [and meditate],
and stayed for thirty years.
Yesterday I payed a visit to family and friends,
Most [of them] have already entered the Yellow springs.
Gradually diminishing like the rest of a candle,
far [away they] flow, similar to a passing river.
This morning I saw my true poor reflection,
[before I] realized, tears were pouring.

一爲書劔客
三遇聖明君
東守文不賞
西征武不勲
學文兼學武
學武兼學文
今日既老矣
餘生不足云

[I] used to frequent both writing and sword,
experienced the rule of three enlightened sages.
[Served] protecting the east, [yet got] no reward,
marched to the west with the army, [yet] no merit [came].
[Used to] study arts, [used to] study fight,
used to] study fight, [used to] study arts [again].
Today [when I am] already too old,
the remainng part [of my] life isn’t worth a word.

人生一百年
佛説十二部
慈悲如野鹿
瞋怒似家狗
家狗趕不去
野鹿常好走
欲服獮猴心
須聽獅子吼

Human life [lasts] a hundred years,
Buddha’s words [have] twelve parts.
Compassion is like a wild deer,
angriness resembles a house dog.
House dogs [if] expelled don’t go [away],
[however] wild deers always run [away] well.
[Who] wants to hunt down [their] monkey mind,
must hear lion’s roar.

父母續經多
田園不羡他
婦搖機軋軋
兒弄口㗻㗻
拍手催花舞
搘頥聽鳥歌
誰當來歎賀
椎客屢經過

My parents left me a lot,
I wasn’t jealous of other’s fields and orchards.
Click, click, my wife’s loom [was squeaking],
my little son played in the alley.
Clapping my hands, I rushed flowers to dance,
Propped up my chin, as I heard birds singing.
Who would come to greet me [then]?
[only] chestnut gatherers always passing by.

昔時可可貧
今日最貧凍
作事不諧和
觸途成倥偬
行泥屢脚屈
坐社頻腹痛
失却斑猫兒
老鼠圍飯罋

In old times, I’ve been poor a lot,
Today I am the poorest and freezing.
[What] I do doesn’t go well,
[Where] I touch the road, it becomes desolate.
From walking in mud, my feet are frequently bent,
When I sit with others, my stomach often hurts.
However [since] I lost my striped cat,
rats are surrounding my food jar.

智者君拋我
愚者我拋君
非愚亦非智
從此斷相聞
入夜歌明月
侵晨舞白雲
焉能拱口手
端坐鬢紛紛

Intelligent men, you reject me,
Stupid men, you I reject.
[I am] neither stupid nor intelligent,
henceforth I won’t exchange words [with you].
By nightfall, I sing [for] the bright moon,
With coming dawn I dance [for] white clouds.
How could I [just] watch with hands folded and mouth still,
I sit upright and my hair on the temples is disorderly.

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
屢見春鼕易
寄語鐘鼎家
虛名定無益

I chose to live in heavy mountains [where],
the road [only] birds [can manage] has no human tracks.
A garden is my only possession,
White clouds embrace quiet rocks.
I live here already about a number of years,
Again and again, I see the boom of coming spring.
My home brings talks of chimes and a metal pot,
[and absolutely] no use for empty reputation.

一人好頭腹
六藝盡皆通
南見驅歸北
西逢趁向東
長飄如泛萍
不息似飛蓬
問是何等色
姓貧名曰窮

A person with a healthy [both] head and belly,
all the six arts managed to master.
Glances to the south, yet to the north is forced to return.
To the west [then] turns, yet to the east must go.
Always being carried away, like a floating duckweed [leaf],
breathless and similiar to a flying [piece of] wormwood.
Do you ask what other characteristics [do they have]?
By surname Wretch and name Poor is [s/he] called.

粤自居寒山
曾經幾萬載
任運遯林泉
棲遅觀自在
巖中人不到
白雲常靉靆
細草作臥褥
青天爲被蓋
快活枕石頭
天地任変改

Here lives Han Shan by himself,
Already for almost ten thousand years.
leaving things to fate, hides at a forest spring,
In silence sees [the true nature of all things]*.
People don't come [here] among mountain rocks,
[yet] white clouds are always passing by.
Bends down short grass to make a bed,
Blue sky covers him as a blanket.
Lighthearted, makes a stone his pillow,
Entrusting himself to the principles of Heaven and Earth.

* 觀自在 means "to clearly see [in] freedom" and also refers to the wisdom aspect of bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara(觀音菩薩) and the Heart sutra (般若心經) of Dependent origination.

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
忘卻來時道

If you want to reach a peaceful place,
Cold mountain can offer it for long time.
soft breeze blows into dark pines,
From close by you can feel its sweet touch.
Bellow [the pines] there is a white haired man,
mumbling over HuangPo and LaoZi's text.
For ten years he couldn't find courage to return,
Forgotten the way he had come, he already has.

寒山子
長如是
獨自居
不生死

Master Hanshan,
indeed very old.
Lives here all alone,
isn't born, doesn't die.

明月照
白雲籠
獨自坐
一老翁

Bright Moon shines,
covered in white clouds.
alone by himself sits,
one old man.

我居山
勿人識
白雲中
常寂寂

I live in the mountains,
not [engaging in] people's affairs.
Among white clouds,
always in peace.

寒山深
稱我心
純白石
勿黃金

Deep is Cold mountain,
suits my heart.
Pure white stones,
no gold.

家有寒山詩
勝汝看經卷
書放屏風上
時時看一遍

If you have poems of Hanshan at home,
you are lucky to see such a classical work.
Display them on the wall,
and read them every now and then.

    Shide

從來是拾得
不是偶然稱
別無親眷屬
寒山是我兄
兩人心相似
誰能徇俗情
若問年多少
黃河幾度清

I have always been Shide,
My name is no accident.
I have neither family nor relatives,
but Hanshan is my older brother.
Our hearts are both alike,
who could give in to worldy affairs...
Do you ask how long is it going to last?
Until the Yellow river turns blue.

To be continued...

HanShan, Shide, commentary and translation by 慧淨̄



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