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RECORDED SAYINGS OF MASTER ZIBO

by Zibo Zhenke (1543 - 1603, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: John Balcom

There is water in the cauldron,
But without fire it cannot be heated.
There are seeds in the ground,
But without spring they won’t sprout.
There is foolishness in the mind,
But it cannot be destroyed without study.


AN ODE TO EARLY NEWS AND ENTERING EXILE

English translation: You Zai and Zhi Yue

Generals of a hundred battles, unwilling to surrender,
In the vast emptiness, they are severed from the battlefield.

Summer thunderstorms strike the ground,
awaking all and destroying dreams,
Grasp not at the fragrance of the plum blossoms.


THE FIREWOOD OF LITERATURE (EXCERPT)

English translation: Miao Guang

If the firewood of literature are too few,
the sparks of contemplation cannot ignite.

If the sparks of contemplation are too few,
the firewood of body and mind cannot ignite.

Once firewood burns and turns to ashes,
ashes disperse, as does the body and mind.

The lucid light of truth,
its brightness differs not as inner or outer light;
Passing from the self to others,
a single lamp spreads into a hundred thousand lights.

For a hundred thousand years, it is passed,
illuminating eternally like daylight.

A whole world forever without night,
such are the merits of literature as firewood.

Thus there are the wise,
who obtain literature as if attaining the mind.

Outside the mind, no dharmas exist,
literature is the light of the mind.

As light illuminates the faculty of sight,
no forms will ever cling to the eye.

── from Zibo Zunzhe Quanji (Complete Works by Master Zibo)