Home | 365 Days for Travelers
by Hanshan (Years unknown, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Not even a hundred years old yet,
one already bears a thousand-year load of worries;
Having just recovered one’s own health,
worries over his children and grandchildren nevertheless ensue.

Looking downwards, stalks take root in the soils,
Looking upwards, mulberry treetops shift in colors;
As the steelyard tilts towards the Eastern Sea,
one finally sees that’s where the weighing stops.

Sighing upon this delusory life,
when will its long days finally end?
Morning after morning of leisureless times,
year after year’s unawareness of old age.

Always pursuing food and clothing,
causing nothing but worries to the mind;
Hundreds and years of turmoil,
one travels between the three evil realms*.

The Yellow River that I see,
when has the water ever been clear?
The torrents are rapid as flying arrows,
while life is as duckweeds.

Ignorance is the fundamental karma,
while clinging the pit of afflictions;
How many kalpas of rebirth have passed,
just to create what is lost and blind.

── from Hanshanzi Shiji (Collected Poems of Hanshanzi)
* The three realms refer to that of animals, hell, and hungry ghosts.