Han Shan and Shi De are two inseparable characters in the history of Chan Buddhism, forming one of the most favourite subjects of Oriental fine arts: Shi De is often pictured with a broom, and Han Shan with a scroll to represent two of many paths to Enlightenment honest labour and scriptural studies. Their poems became famous Chan quotations to be a compulsory reading for Chan practitioners.
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Tian-tai Mountains are famous for their well-known reputation as a residence of saints and immortals. From ancient times adepts engaged in Chinese Buddhism and Daoism all longed for coming to Tian-tai. Richly endowed by nature, the mountain beauty spots produced unique harmonious culture, the striking prototypes of which were vagabond-poets Han Shan (Japanese "Kanzan") and Shi De (Jittoku). Once expelled from Guo-qing monastery Shi De was given a home at Mount Hanshan where Han Shan, his intimate friend and sworn elder brother, had resided for a half of century. Musing on Han Shan's poems one day, while lounging in the hot sun and sitting on a huge stone in front of the thatched hut, Shi De rolled off the top into the grass called by the master "Three Paths"; he then hauled himself back onto the boulder and began writing poems in Han Shan's voice with a bold and shameless humour worthy of his inspirer, deducing a formula that "Man’s life is nothing but drifting in the world." This is finely distilled the Daoist thinking of this transitory life; Dao embodies a belief that all our accomplishments, all our strivings and things we hold dear are simply nothing if we don't cultivate our minds. To follow the way of Dao is to calmly, even joyfully, let life have its way with us.
All buddhas left behind a vast store of sutras;
Still, it is hard for men to exercise the teachings.
It is not because some men are wise but others stupid
Everyone has an idea in mind how to build up one is life.
By establishing a trade, as big as a lofty mountain,
How can this help to drive away the inner fears and cares?
Once you decide to consider it over diligently,
Day and night you should think of your duplicity.
In the old forest there are the other freshest cuts;
The source of the Shan River still feeds people.
Tianlao Gorge is shut off by the mountain range,
Which links together with the inferior seashore.
The bay is deep and bends between the islands;
The vast expanse of water joins mist and clouds.
I ask a roaming monk who rests beneath a pine:
The wheel of the sun, from whence does it rise?
Alas! I have met with all sorts of people in this world
And all of them love to overeat themselves with meat.
Their cups and bowls get never dry;
For long they can talk in an inconsequent way.
Just last night they were going to announce a fast day,
But this morning six kinds of animals are butchered.
It's because of their karmas that pull them along, like oxen;
Still, it has nothing to do with myriad passions they desire.
On one occasion some of them go up to Heaven,
But on a hundred ones they go down straight to Hell.
Yama, King of Hell, with unexhausted chasing after men,
Makes the entire clans burst into the eternal groans.
Flames are getting out of the stoves;
Caldrons are ready for boiled tortures.
However, when the bathing is over, the sinners,
As before, refuse to change from their clothes.