Thursday 6 February 2014

My dear friend Han-Shan,

My dear friend Han-Shan,
or in English "cold mountain," lived during the Tang Dynasty. He lived around 720 to 830AD or so.
He lived a simple life,
in the mountains,
by a stream, eating wild fruits and vegetables.
Every now and again he would go to a local temple to make fun of the monks and write his poetry on the walls.
Some thirty years after his death his poetry was collected from various places and written down.
His poetry was found on walls in temples, houses, toilets, rocks, trees, in fact all manner of places where one could write.
We are blessed now to have many poems from this great man and even a film about his life.
As I am about to leave for my personal retreat into the hills, I share my favorite poem of

"Cold cliffs,
more beautiful the deeper you enter--
Yet no one travels this road.
White clouds idle about tall crags;
On the green peak a single monkey wails.
What other companions do I need?
I grow old doing as I please.
Though face and form alter with years,
I hold fast to the pearl of the mind."

When I am sitting in the forest, alone with my thoughts, I will remember that my mind is a pearl.
My breath, the string that ties the pearls together.
This body is the clasp that makes sure the string of pearls stays firm and even.
The earth, trees, shrubs and stream enable this body to function.
Ah, happiness you are the feeling of contentment, the joy I am sure Han-Shan felt when he sat,
as I do on this very same spot.

Thank you to the universe for providing such enlightenment.

Sent from my iPhone and
With love