Context: Today I sat before the cliff Until the mist and rainbows disappeared I followed the emerald stream Explored a thousand tiers of green cliffs In the morning my spirit rests among white clouds At night a bright moon floats in the sky I am free of the busy world There is not a doubt in my heart or a worry to disturb my mind
Frases de Hanshan
Hanshan is a legendary figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was, when he lived and died, or whether he actually existed. In the Chinese Buddhist tradition, Hanshan and his sidekick Shide are honored as emanations of the bodhisattvas Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra, respectively. In Japanese and Chinese paintings, Hanshan is often depicted together with Shide or with Fenggan, another monk with legendary attributes.
Little is known of his work, since he was a recluse living in a remote region and his poems were written on rocks in the mountains he called home. Of the 600 poems he is thought to have written at some point before his death, 313 were collected and have survived. Among the 57 poems attributed to Hanshan's friend, Shide, seven appear to be authored by Hanshan, for a total of 320.
„If you want a peaceful place to dwell
Cold Mountain is guaranteed forever
A light wind blows softly in the pines
The sound is good when you are close
One old man sits beneath the trees
Reading Lao Tzu and Huang Ti, mumbling
I could not find the world if I searched ten years
I've forgotten the road by which I came“
Variant, lines 5–8: 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
„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.“
Encounters With Cold Mountain, tr. Peter Stambler (Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1996)
„When you live on Cold Mountain long enough the autumns pass quickly
When you live alone you have no worries
When you leave the doors open no one bothers you
The bubbling stream runs forever
In the cave a clay pot boils over a fire on the ground
A wandering breeze stirs the fragrant pines
When hungry I eat one simple meal
And lean against the rock in complete harmony“
„Among a thousand clouds and ten thousand streams
Here lives an idle man
In the daytime wandering over green mountains
At night coming home to sleep by the cliff
Swiftly springs and autumns pass
But my mind is at peace, clear and free
By now I need nothing to lean on
To be still as the waters of the autumn river“
„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 Note: It is unlikely that this poem, translated by Mary Jacob, is authored by Han-shan. In comparing it with every poem in the corpus it will be found that there is not a close match. Moreover, neither the language nor the content of this poem is that of Han-shan. Most importantly, this poem does not have the appropriate number of lines for a Han-shan poem. Jacob's poem has 9 lines; there is not a single example of a 9 line poem in all of Han-shan's poetry. All of Han-shan's poems are 4, 8, 10 or 14 lines, with a few that have more than 14. Further, Jacob's poem has an odd number of lines; there is not a single example of a poem with an odd number of lines in all of Han-shan's poetry. Finally, the 9th and final line in Jacob's poem has the words “ha ha ha.” Not a single Han-shan poem has those words as a final line. Perhaps someone is having a joke?
„As for me, I delight in the every day Way
Among mist-wrapped vines and rocky caves
Here in the wilderness I am completely free
With my friends, the white clouds, idling forever
There are roads, but they do not reach the world
Since I am mindless, who can rouse my thoughts
On a bed of stone I sit, alone in the night
While a round moon climbs up Cold Mountain“
„I divined and chose a distant place to dwell
T'ien T'ai: what more is there to say?
Monkeys cry where valley mists are cold
My grass gate blends with the color of the crags
I pick leaves to thatch a hut among the pines
Scoop out a pond and lead a runnel from the spring
By now I am used to doing without the world
Picking ferns I pass the years that are left“
„I'm happy in the every day Way
Among the mist and vines and caves
The wilderness is boundless
My companions are lazy white clouds
There are roads but they do not reach the world
My mind has come to rest and nothing can stir my thought
On a bed of rock I sit alone in the night
While a round moon climbs up Cold Mountain“
„Climb the steep Cold Mountain way
Roads to Cold Mountain are many and never ending
The valleys are long and deep, the peaks piled high
The streams are wide, the grass is thick
The moss is slippery though there is no rain
The pines sigh though there is no wind
Who can escape the snares of the world
And come to sit with me among the white clouds?“
„Story on Story of wonderful hills and streams
Their blue-green haze locked in clouds!
Mists brush my thin cap with moisture
Dew wets my coat of plaited straw
On my feet I wear pilgrim's sandals
My hand holds a stick of old rattan
Though I look down again on the dusty world
What is that land of dreams to me?“
„People ask the way to Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain? There is no road that goes through.
Even in summer the ice doesn't melt;
Though the sun comes out, the fog is blinding.
How can you hope to get there by aping me?
Your heart and mine are not alike.
If your heart were the same as mine,
Then you could journey to the very center!“
„Cold Mountain is hidden in white clouds
It's peaceful to be cut off from the busy world
I use dry grass for cushions in my mountain home
My only light is the round moon
My bed is the rock beside the green pool
Tigers and deer are my companions
I delight in this happy peaceful life
Forever beyond the world of men“