Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here, where nothing is worth anything

Here, where nothing is worth anything,
I've set up a grass-thatched hut.
After eating,
I just stretch out for a nap.
As soon as it was built,
weeds were already growing back.
Now I've been here awhile
its covered in vines.
So the one in this hut just lives on,
not inside, out, in between.
The places where usual folk live,
I don't.
What they want,
I don't.
This tiny hut holds the total world,
an old man and
the radiance of forms and their nature,
all in ten feet square.
Bodhisattvas of the Vast Path
know about this but
the mediocre and marginal wonder,
"Isn't such a place too fragile to live in?"
Fragile or not,
the true master dwells here
where there is no
south or north, east or west.
Just sitting here,
it can't be surpassed:
below the green pines
a lit window.
Palaces and towers
of jade and vermilion
can't compare.
Just sitting,
my head covered,
all things rest.
So this mountain monk
has no understanding at all,
just lives on
without struggling to get loose.
Not going to
set out seats
and wait for guests.
Turning the light
to shine within,
turn it around again.
you can't face it
or turn away from it.
The root of it.
Meet the Awakened Ancestors,
become intimate with the teachings,
lash grass into thatch for a hut
and don't tire so easily.
Let it go,
and your life of a hundred years
Open your hands.
Walk around.
The swarm of words,
and little stories
are just to loosen you
from where you are stuck.
If you want to know
the one in the hermitage
who never dies,
you can't avoid this skin-bag
right here.
~  Shitou Xiqian