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INHERENTLY HUMAN

by Changsha Jingcen (Years unknown, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: John Balcom

Those who study the Way do not recognize the truth;

Like those of old, they only recognize the spirit.

Infinite kalpas ago it was the origin of birth and death;

Ignorant people are called inherently human.


── from Jingde Chuandeng Lu (Records of the Transmission of the Lamp)

SCENT OF THE PLUM BLOSSOMS

by Elder Fu (Years unknown, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Reminiscing those unenlightened years,

Every sound of the horn a cry of sadness;

Now on the pillows leisurely dreams are no more,

Plum blossoms, large or small, are equally as fragrant.


── from Za Du Hai (Mixing with the Poisonous Ocean)

TRANSIENT LIFE IS BUT A DREAM

by Niaoke Daolin (741 - 824, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: You Zai

No traces upon coming, no traces upon going,

Both coming and going are of the same;

What is the need to inquire further of this transient life?

After all, this transient life is but just a dream.


── from Fozu Gangmu (Outline of the Buddhas and Patriarchs)

WHEN WILL YOU ACHIEVE THE WAY?

by Guling Shenzan (Years unknown, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: William Chong

Unwilling to leave through the gate of emptiness,

Too stupid to leave even through the window.

For a thousand years, studying these ancient pages,

When will you achieve the Way?


── from Lengyanjing Zongtong (Mastering the School Tenets of the Shurangama Sutra)

BLUE LOTUS BLOSSOMS IN FIRE

by Tong'an Changcha (Years unknown, Song Dynasty)
English translation: William Chong

Coming into the world covered with fur and sporting horns,

The blue lotus blossoms in the fire.

It is the sprinkling of dew in the sea of afflictions;

It is the thunder cloud that breaks the mountain of ignorance.


── from Jingde Chuandeng Lu (Records of the Transmission of the Lamp)

WORDS, A TOOL FOR MURDER
by Tianru Weize (1280 - 1350, Yuan Dynasty)
English translation: Christine Gabrieles

As appealing as words sound on paper,

Interpretation and change in tone varies from one to another.

People love listening to words,

Yet words has always been the best tool of murder.


── from Shizilin Tianru Heshang Yulu (Quotations from Monk Tianru of Shizilin)