Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo

July 14, 2003


Biographies      Links      Bibliography      Quotes      Poems











Han Shan

He lived in China sometime between 630 and 830 CE. Since many writers refer
to Han Shan as a late 8th Century poet, I will assume he flourished from around 
750 to 800 CE.  Han Shan is one of those Taoist-Chan Sages who are reported 
to have enjoyed very long lives due in part to their sheer luck, all that fresh 
air, gruel, pure water, long daily walks, rugged individualism, and all those 
secret Taoist herbs and unusual exercises.  .    

Han Shan was a hermit and poet of the T'ang Dynasty (618 - 906).
Red Pine tells us that political intrigue may have led the handicapped 
young scholar-bureaucrat to flee the aftermath of the An Lu-shan Rebellion
in 760 and retreat to the cold mountains of far eastern China - for his

Han Shan was considered, when an older man, to be an eccentric Taoist, 
saint, mountain ascetic mystic, and wise fool.  He liked to play 
pranks, tease, goof off, joke, and get friends laughing.  

Most of Han Shan's poems were written when he lived in the rugged 
southern and far eastern mountains of China in what is currently 
(Fukien) Province.  He lived alone in caves and primitive 
shelters in the rugged mountains in an area referred to as the 
Heavenly Terrace (T'ien T'ai) Mountains.  Han Shan's cave-hut was a 
long one day's hike from the Kuo-ch'ing monastery in the T'ien 
T'ai Mountains.  

The name Han Shan means: Cold Cliff, Cold Mountain, or Cold Peak.   
Han Shan is known in Japan as "Kanzan."

One of Han Shan's friends was Shih-te (Japanese "Jittoku", English "Pick Up").
He was an orphan raised at the Kuo-ch'ing monastery and a helper in the kitchen.  

Little is known about all of Han Shan's life, and he is somewhat of a legendary character.  
The best two articles I have read about Han Shan's life are by Red Pine and John
Blofield, and these are found in: The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, pp. 1-33.


Portraits:  Han Shan and Shih-te: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, SixSeven
, Nine, Ten.

"Han Shan and Shih-te are two inseparable characters in the history of Zen Buddhism, forming one of the most favourite 
subjects of Sumiye painting by Zen artists.  Han Shan was a poet-recluse of the T'ang dynasty.  His features looked worn 
out, and his body was covered in clothes all in tatters.  He wore a head gear made of birch-bark and his feet carried a pair 
of sabots too large for them.  He frequently visited the Kuo-ch'ing monastery at T'ien-tai, where he was fed with whatever 
remnants there were from the monk's table.  He would walk quietly up and down through the corridors, occasionally talking
aloud to himself or to the air.  When he was driven out, he would clap his hands and laughing loudly would leave the
-   D. T. Suzuki,  Essays in Zen Buddhism, Third Series, 1953, p. 160   
    See also comments by Lu-ch'iu Yin when introducing the Cold Mountain Poems.


"Chinese scholar and Cold Mountain translator Red Pine estimates Cold Mountain lived from 730-850 during the Tang Dynasty. 
He was born into some level of privilege and may have been a gentleman farmer and some sort of minor official in the grand 
bureaucracy of imperial China. At some point he was married. Eventually he became disaffected with society and left the world 
at 30 to make his home in the T’ien-T’ai Mountains at a place called Cold Cliff. He may or may not have become a monk. His 
physical appearance in drawings make him look like a template for the Zen lunatic or hobo-saint: wild hair, birch bark hat, 
patched robe, big wooden clogs, gnarled staff and an unconventional manner interpreted by others as craziness. He had 
two companions; Big Stick (Feng-Kan) and Pick-Up (Shih-Teh)."
-   Han Shan




Han Shan and Shih-te






Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing  (1546 - 1623)

He was a Buddhist monk, abbot, scholar, teacher, and poet.  
He was a Buddhist leader in the Ming Dynasty
He is sometimes referred to as "Silly Mountain."

Name variants:  Han-Shan Te'-Ch'ing, Shrama-na Han-Shan De-Ching, 
Sramana Te Ch'ing, Hanshan Deqing, Han shan Te-ching.

He traveled between many Buddhist temples.  He lived for awhile at Kuang Shan Mountain 
temples.  For many years, he experienced profound mystical awareness and altered states
of being while living in a primitive cabin on Five Peaks Mountain. Although regarded as
much more well behaved, scholarly and serious than Han Shan 750, Han Shan Te'Ch'ing 
was a also a vagabond and hermit for many years.  

He helped restore various temples, including the Cao Ji Temple of the Sixth Patriarch of Zen.  
He helped public officials deal with problems, and was involved in a few political intrigues
involving fundraising and land ownership of Temples.   

He was known for combining Zen meditation with devotion to Amitabha Buddha, and for 
his thoughts on the Shurangama Sutra.

He wrote an autobiography.  

Portraits:   One, Two, Three, Four



Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, c 1600



"In 1573, I went to Wu Tai Shan. I bought a copy of The Life Story of Qing Liang and visited the 
places mentioned in the text. I found Han Shan (Silly) Mountain so serene and strangely beautiful 
that I decided to appropriate its name for myself. The mountain inspired me to compose the 
following poem:







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Links and Bibliography



[To distinguish between the two persons, I will refer to Han Shan or Han Shan, 750; and to Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600.]


The Autobiography of Ch'an Master Han Shan (1546-1623).  Translated by Lu K'uan Yu 
(Charles Luk).  Found in "Practical Buddhism" (London: Rider, 1971).

The Autobiography and Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing
     Translated by Upasaka 
Richard Cheung and paraphrased by Rev. Ming Zhen Shakya.   150K+   Word Version

Autobiography of Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing   100K+   

The Bells of Cold Mountain Temple.   30K

A Buddhist Leader in Ming China: The Life and Thought of Han-Shan Te'-Ch'ing.
1600.  By Sung-Peng, Hsu.  Pennsylvania State University Press, 1979.  221 pages.
ISBN:  0271005424.   

Chinese Zen Poems:  What Hold Has This Mountain.  Compiled and translated by
Larry Smith and Hui Huang.  Bottom Dog Press, 2000.  112 pages.  ISBN: 0933087497

The Clouds Should Know Me by Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China.
Translated and Edited by Red Pine.  Co-edited by Mike O'Connor.  Introduction
by Andrew Schelling.  Wisdom Publications, 1998.  208 pages.  ISBN: 0861711432.  
Stonehouse Review     Excerpt  

Cold Mountain Buddhas.  By Michael P. Garofalo.  82K+  Links, bibliography, selected
poems, portraits, and biographical information about Han Shan and Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing.  

Cold Mountain: One Hundred Poems.  Translated by Burton Watson.   Columbia University 
Press, 1970.  118 pages.  ISBN:  0231034504.   Review 

Cold Mountain: 101 Chinese Poems.  Translated by Burton Watson.  Shambhala Press, Second
Revised edition, 1992.  141 pages.  ISBN:  0877736685.   

Cold Mountain Poems.   By Richard Delacour.  

Cold Mountain Poems.   24 Poems.  

Cold Mountain - Selected Poems.   17 poems, 9K.     

Cold Mountain Songs for Mezzo Soprano and Piano
    By Robert Morris.  10K   

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain.  Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Introduction by
John Blofeld.  Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon Press, 1983; Revised and 
expanded edition, 2000.  272 pages.  ISBN:  1556591403.  Review   Review2  An essential
text for Han Shan enthusiasts.  

Crazy Wisdom.   Nes Scoop Wisker.  Ten Speed Press, Reprint edition, 1999.  
240 pages.  ISBN: 1580080405.  

Crazy Wisdom.  By Chogyam Trungpa.  Edited by Sherab Chodzin.  Shambhala Publications,
1991.   216 pages.   ISBN:  1570626057.

Crazy Wisdom and Tibetan Teaching Tales Told by Lamas.  By Lama Surya Das.  77K.

Crossing The Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese.  Translated and 
introduced by Sam Hamill.  Preface by W. S. Merwin.  Rochester, New York, BOA Editions, 
2000. 280 pages.  ISBN: 1880238977.  

A Direct Explanation of Prajnaparamita Sutra.  By Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing.  Translated by 
Dharmitra.  42K.  

Empty Cloud Story    6K

Encounters with Cold Mountain - Poems by Han Shan: Modern Versions.   Translated by
Peter Stambler.   Beijing, Panda Books, Chinese Literature Press, 1996.  
ISBN: 750710317X   Review   

Essays in Zen Buddhism, Third Series.   D. T. Suzuki.  York Beach, ME, Samuel Weiser, 
1971, 1953.  Index, 396 pages.  ISBN: 0877280762.  

Essential Crazy Wisdom.   Nes Scoop Wisker.  Ten Speed Press, Reprint edition, 2001.  
243 pages.  ISBN: 1580083463.

Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners.   Han Shan, 1600.   
Translation by Guo-gu Shi    38K

Han Shan    2K

Han Shan and Shide (ISBN: 492462280X).  The Tochigi Prefectural Museum
[in Japan] published a catalogue of their exhibit of Hanshan and Shide paintings
snd scrolls, a total of 84, with the titles and provences in English and reproductions 
of each work.  There are some Chinese works but most are Japanese. 

Han-Shan and Shih-Te, The Mad Monks

Han-Shan and Shr-De (Bodhisattvas)

Han Shan (Cold Mountain) Poems

Han Shan:  El Sabio de la Montaña Fria     17K

Han Shan in English.  Paul Kahn.  White Pine Press, 1989.  ISBN:  0934834911.  
"Han Shan in English." Renditions, No. 25, Spring, 1986, pp. 140-175.  Includes
a complete English bibliography.

Han Shan of the Ming Dynasty   (1600)  6K

Han Shan on Dhyana   (1600)    21K

Han Shan Poems    4K

Han Shan: Poet and Buddhist Monk

Han Shan Poetry  (English and Chinese calligraphy.)    5 Poems   15K




Han Shan, c 750
Painting by Yen Hui, 1280-1368, China
See: D. T. Suzuki, Zen in Japanese Culture, 1955. 



Han Shan Te-ching: A Buddhist Interpretation of Taoism.  By Sung-peng Hsu.   
"Journal of Chinese Philosophy": 2 (1975), pp. 417 - 427.  

Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing Temple at Suzhou 

Han Shan Temple   

Han Shan: Un Chemin Parfois Merveilleux   6K     

House with No Walls.  Comments on Gary Snyder and Han Shan.  12K

Instructions in the Critical Essentials of Cultivating Dhyana Meditation     Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing.   21K 

Literary Kicks:  Han Shan  12K

Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen.  By Eric Paul Shaffer speaking with the
voice of Shih-Te.  Leaping Dog Press, 2001.  ISBN: 158775004X

Master Han-Shan Te'-Ch'ing's Marvelous Elixir   Comments on the Diamond Sutra.   10K

Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing     40K    78 maxims.

Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing     50k.  78 maxims.      

Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse.  By David Budbill. Copper Canyon
Press, 1999.   134 pages.  ISBN:  1556591330.  An American in Vermont, a hermit on
East Judevine Mountain, speaks in a voice reminiscent of Han Shan.     

Mountain Living.  Han Shan Te'-ch'ing.  3 poems, 3K.   

Notes on Chinese Poetry   G. Doty.   17K.  

Now and Zen.  by Guanzhi Xing.  

A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry.  Mountain Living.  Han Shan Te'-ch'ing.  Translated 
by J. P. Seaton.  20 poems.  5K.  

Opinions of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing     120K   Short essays on Buddhist subjects.  

Poems of Han Shan.  Translated by Peter Hobson.  Altamira Press, 2002,
ISBN: 075910414X.

Poetry of Han Shan

The Poetry of Han-Shan: A Complete, Annotated Translation of Cold Mountain.  Translation
and commentary by Robert B. Henricks.  Suny Series in Buddhist Studies.  New York,
State University of New York, 1990.  486 pages.  ISBN:  0887069789.   

Poetry of Solitude:  Chinese Hermits

Poetry of Shih-Te.  James M. Hargett.  

Preface to the Poems of Han Shan.  By Lu Ch'iu-yin, Governor of T'ai Prefecture.  13K

"He looked like a tramp. His body and face were old and beat. Yet in every word he breathed was a meaning in line with the subtle principles 
of things, if only you thought of it deeply. Everything he said had a feeling of Tao in it, profound and arcane secrets. His hat was made of 
birch bark, his clothes were ragged and worn out, and his shoes were wood. Thus men who have made it hide their tracks: unifying categories 
and interpenetrating things. On that long veranda calling and singing, in his words of reply Ha Ha Ha! - the three worlds revolve. Sometimes at the 
villages and farms he laughed and sang with cowherds. Sometimes intractable, sometimes agreeable, his nature was happy of itself. But how 
could a person without wisdom recognize him?"  - Lu Ch'iu-yin

Pure Land of the Patriarchs from "Dream Roamings."   Han Shan Te'-ch'ing.   120K+

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.   Poems and translation by Gary Snyder.
North Point Press, Reissue edition, 1990.   67 pages.  ISBN: 0865474567  

Rock and Bark Poetry ("Shih shu", Chinese)   

Sacred Mountains of China   22K   

Seeing the World Without Language   18K

Selections from Encounters with Cold Mountain   Poems by Han Shan.  Translated 
by Peter Stambler.  16K  28 Poems.  

Selected Han Shan Poems for Hippie Reading.   Translations and commentary by 
Yogi C. M. Chen.   75 Poems.    30K.    

Selected Poems by Han-Shan (Silly Mountain)    

Shaving the Inside of Your Skull: Crazy Wisdom for Discovering Who You Really Are.
A User's Guide to Psyche, Self and Transformation.  By Mel Ash.  J. P. Tarcher, 1997.
219 pages.  ISBN:  0874778417.

Surangama Sutra.  Translation and comments by Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing and Charles Luk.

SheDe (Shih Te) Buddhist Monk and Poet of Han Shan Temple, Suzhou, China

The Story of Han-Shan and Shi-Te

The 300 Missing Poems of Han Shan   By Mazie O'Hearn and Robert O'Hearn.   1,962 KB.

Three Hundred Tang Poems   Translated by Witter Bynner.  203KB.  

Three Verses by Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing   Translated by Red Pine.  8K.



Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600




The Transmission of Buddhism in the Poetry of Han Shan.  By Stephen Hal Ruppenthal.  
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1974.   

27 Poems by Han Shan.  By Arthur Waley.  Encounter, XII (September, 1954).

View from Cold Mountain: Poems of Han-Shan and Shih-Te.  Translated by Jerome Sanford and
Jerome Seaton.  White Pine Press, 1983.  ISBN: 0934834261.  

Wade-Giles and Pinyin Comparison Charts

Where the World Does Not Follow: Buddhist China in Picture and Poem.  Translated by 
Mike O'Connor.  Photography by Steven R. Johnson.  Wisdom, 2002.  128 pages.
ISBN:  0861713095.  Poetry and pictures about the Buddhist/Taoist mountain hermit-sages 
of the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618-906).   Reviews

Whose Mountain is This? Gary Snyder's Translation of Han Shan.  By Ling Chung. Renditions
No. 7, Spring, 1977, pp. 93-102.

Zen and Zen Classics, Volume 2, History of Zen.   R. H. Blyth.  

Zen and Zen Classics.  Selection from R. H. Blyth.  Compiled and with drawings by Frederick
Franck.  New York, Vintage Classics, 1978.  ISBN: 0394724895.  290 pages. 
Han Shan, pp. 130-137.  

Zen Poems.  Selected and edited by Peter Harris.  New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.  
Everyman's Library - Pocket Poets.  256 pages.  ISBN: 0375405526.

Zen Poetry.   Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo.   Guides, studies, links, selected quotes.  300K+


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You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Peter Stambler






Look upon the body as unreal,
an image in a mirror,
the reflection of the moon in water.
Contemplate the mind as formless,
yet bright and pure.

Not a single thought arising,
empty, yet perceptive;
still, yet illuminating;
complete like the great emptiness,
containing all that is wonderful.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600






Beams with a thatch over them, - a wild man's dwelling!
Before my gate pass horses and carts seldom enough;
The lonely woods gather birds;
The broad valley stream harbours fish;
With my children I pluck the wild fruits of the trees;
My wife and I hoe the rice field;
What is there in my house?
A single case of books.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by R. H. Blyth
    Zen and Zen Classics, p 132






If you can smash through a single thought, 
Then all deluded thinking will suddenly be stripped off. 
You will feel 
Like a flower in the sky that casts no shadows, 
Like a bright sun emitting boundless light, 
Like a limpid pond, transparent and clear. 
After experiencing this, 
There will be immeasurable feelings of light and ease, 
And a sense of liberation. 
There is nothing marvelous or extraordinary about it. 
Do not rejoice and wallow in this ravishing experience. 
If you do, then the Mara of Joy will possess you.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners
    Translated by Guo-gu Shi 






Once, my back wedded to the solid cliff,
I sat silently, bathed in the full moon's light.

I counted there ten thousand shapes,
None with substance save the moon's own glow.

The pristine mind is empty as the moon,
I thought, and like the moon, freely shines.

By what I knew of moon I knew the mind,
Each mirror to each, profound as stone.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Peter Stambler






Heavenly Terrace (T'ien T'ai) Mountains, China






Bone-chilling snow on a thousand peaks
wild raging wind from ten thousand hollows
when I first awake deep beneath my blanket
I forget my body is in a silent void.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Translated by Red Pine






People ask the way to Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain? There is no road that goes through.
Even in summer the ice doesn't melt;
Though the sun comes out, the fog is blinding.
How can you hope to get there by aping me?
Your heart and mine are not alike.
If your heart were the same as mine,
Then you could journey to the very center!

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Burton Watson
    Cold Mountain: One Hundred Poems






Limpid ocean, clear sky,
and moon-reflecting snow;
this is the realm
without a trace of
the holy and sentient.
At the opening 
of the diamond eye
flowers of vanity fall.
The whole universe
vanishes into the realm
of extinction.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Nonduality Salon Highlights






Cold Mountain is a house
Without beams or walls.
The six doors left and right are open
The hall is blue sky.
The rooms all vacant and vague
The east wall beats on the west wall
At the center nothing.

-  Han Shan, 750
   Translated by Gary Snyder

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems
   House With No Walls






Birth and Death. Day and Night.
Running water, stagnant pool.
Bud and fading flower.
Can I find the point at which they change
From one into the other?
Can my nostrils turn upwards?

When the mind keeps tumbling
How can vision be anything but blurred?
Stop the mind even for a moment
And all becomes transparently clear!
The moving mind is polishing mud bricks.
In stillness find the mirror!

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Selected Poems by Han-Shan (Silly Mountain)






I laugh at my failing strength in old age,
Yet still dote on pines and crags, to wander there in solitude.
How I regret that in all these past years until today,
I've let things run their course like an unanchored boat.

-   Shih-te, 750
    Translated by James Hargett






after late spring rain the falling petals swirl
weightlessly celestial scent covers my patched robe
a simple vacant mind has no place to go
resting on the peak I watch the clouds return

-  Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
   Translated by Red Pine
   Echoes of Eternity






Thirty years ago I was born into the world.
A thousand, ten thousand miles I've roamed,
By rivers where the green grass lies thick,
Beyond the border where the red sands fly.
I brewed potions in a vain search for life everlasting,
I read books, I sang songs of history,
And today I've come home to Cold Mountain
To pillow my head on the stream and wash my ears.  

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Burton Watson
    Cold Mountain: One Hundred Poems






Mountains in China






I think of the past twenty years,
When I used to walk home quietly from the Kuo-ch'ing;
All the people in the Kuo-ch'ing monastery-
They say, "Han-shan is an idiot."
"Am I really an idiot:" I reflect.
But my reflections fail to solve the question:
for I myself do not know who the self is,
And how can others know who I am?

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by D. T. Suzuki
    Essays in Zen Buddhism, Third Series, 1953






Great accomplishments are composed of minute details. 
Those who succeed in attaining the Whole 
     have attended carefully to each tiny part. 
Those who fail have ignored or taken too lightly
     what they deemed to be insignificant. 
The enlightened person overlooks nothing.

-   Han Shan Te'-ch'ing, 1600
    The Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing
    Translated by Grandmaster Jy Din Shakya






Ha ha ha.
If I show joy and ease my troubled mind,
Worldly troubles into joy transform.
Worry for others--it does no good in the end.
The great Dao, all amid joy, is reborn.
In a joyous state, ruler and subject accord,
In a joyous home, father and son get along.
If brothers increase their joy, the world will flourish.
If husband and wife have joy, it's worthy of song.
What guest and host can bear a lack of joy?
Both high and low, in joy, lose their woe before long.
Ha ha ha.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Mary Jacob






outside my door
blue mountains bouquet
before the window
yellow leaves rustle
I sit in meditation
without the least word
and look back to see
my illusions completely gone

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Translated by J. P. Seaton
    Mountain Living






Hanshan came specially to see me,
Shihte too, a rare visitor.
We spoke unaffectedly and with without reserve 
      of the Mind,
How vast and free the Great Emptinesss,
How boundless the universe,
Each thing containing within itself all things.

-   Feng Kan (Big Stick), 750
    Translated by R. H. Blyth
    Zen and Zen Classics, p 131








This is my resting place;
Now that I know the best retreat.
The breeze blows through the pines,
Sounding better the nearer it is.
Under a tree I'm reading
Lao-tzu, quietly perusing.
Ten years not returning,
I forgot the way I had come.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by Katsuki Sekida


Kyozan asked a monk,
"Where are you from?"
"Cold Mountain," answered the monk.
"Have you reached the Five Peaks of Cold Mountain?"
"No, not yet," said the monk.
Kyozan said, "You are not from Cold Mountain."

Later, Ummon said, "This talk of Kyozan was 
falling into the weeds,
all out of kindness."

Setcho's Verse: 

Falling or not falling, who can tell?
White clouds piling up,
Bright sun shining down,
Faultless the left, mature the right.
Don't you know Han Shan?
He went very fast;
Ten years not returning,
He forgot the way he had come.

-   The Blue Cliff Records, Case 34
    Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku (1977)
    Translated by Katsuki Sekida

Han Shan and Shih-te "were a shabby, dirty pair, half madmen, half hermits, talking and laughing
loudly and reciting poems.  One day they disappeared before the eyes of the monks and were 
never seen again.  People searched for them and came upon a cave where Han Shan had lived.
Poems were written all over the walls of the cave.  According to legend, the poems were copied
down, and we have today a collection called the Cold Mountain Poems, which contains about three
hundred masterpieces."  Hekiganroku: Blue Cliff Records, Case 34.  Translated by Katsuki Sekida, 
pp. 237-240.  Based on Katsuki Sekida's Notes for Case 34:  Kanzan is Han Shan, Jittoku is Shih-te, 
Mount Rosan is Cold Mountain, and Goroho Peak is known as the Five Peaks.  Kyozan lived 
from 814 - 890.    



Shih-te and Han Shan
Painting by Kaihoku Yusho

Shih-te is often pictured with a broom, and
Han Shan with a scroll.  These represent two
of many paths to enlightenment - honest labor 
and scriptural studies.


Han Shan and Shih-te
Painting by Tensho Shubun
Japan, 1460





I glean what the harvesters have overlooked or rejected.
So why are their baskets empty
     while mine is bursting with good food?
They just don't recognize their Buddha Nature
     when they see it.
Everything in life depends on the choices we make.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    The Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing
    Translated by Grandmaster Jy Din Shakya






I enjoy my great Buddhist way,
On plants and stones it is to lay,
My mind's nature is free and vast,
White clouds are with me, day by day!
My path is not open to the world.
My heart is void; unable to say!
On the stone bed I sit alone,
The white moon rises up round and gay!
My mind is like the white moon,
Clean and clear as the mirror,
Nothing can compare with it,
How could I make a metaphor?

-    Han Shan, 750
     Translated by Yogi C. M. Chen  






Even if one crosses over to extinction 
Such an incalculable, innumerable, and boundless number of beings as this:
In reality there is not even one single being who succeeds in being crossed over to extinction. 
How is this so? 
This is because there is fundamentally no self at all. 
It is on account of the existence of a self that there is the existence of persons. 
If persons exist, then there also exist beings and those who possess a life span. 
It is merely through perceiving the existence of these four marks 
That one would then become unfit to be called a bodhisattva. 
So what talk can there even be of "crossing over beings?"  

-   Master Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing's Marvelous Elixir, 1600
    Translated by Bhikshu Dharmamitra 






Gone, and a million things leave no trace
Loosed, and it flows through the galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind--
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me:
Now I know the pearl of the Buddha-nature
Know its use: a boundless perfect sphere.

-    Han-Shan, 750
     The Enlightened Heart
     Translated by Stephen Mitchell






I sit and gaze on this highest peak of all;
Wherever I look there is distance without end.
I am all alone and no one knows I am here,
A lonely moon is mirrored in the cold pool.
Down in the pool there is not really a moon;
The only moon is in the sky above.
I sing to you this one piece of song;
But in the song there is not any Zen.

-    Han-Shan, 750
     Translated by Arthur Waley
     Zen Poems     





The Buddha Mind contains the universe. 
In this universe there is only one pure substance, 
One absolute and indivisible Truth. 
The notion of duality does not exist.
The small mind contains only illusions of separateness, of division. 
It imagines myriad objects and defines truth in terms of relative opposites. 
Big is defined by small, good by evil, pure by defiled, hidden by revealed, full by empty. 
What is opposition? 
It is the arena of hostility, of conflict and turmoil. 
Where duality is transcended peace reigns. 
This is the Dharma’s ultimate truth.  

-   Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'Ch'ing, # 76, 1600
    Journey to Dreamland
     Translated by Grandmaster Jy Din Shakya






The mountain is like powder,
The Sumeru, a mustard,
The great ocean like one drop,
All induced in mind standard.
From which grows the Bodhi-seed.
Leaves cover many a god.
You who love the Dharma,
Tangle not things easy or hard!

Ancient traces are still on stone,
Highest peak is an empty point.
Moon is always bright and clean
There is no east or west to count.

I look at the clean stream,
And sit on the great stone,
Mind depends on nothing;
All worldly tasks have gone!

-    Han Shan, 750
     Translated by Yogi C. M. Chen  






Put aside your body, mind, and world and simply bring forth this single thought 
Like a sword piercing through the sky. 
Whether a Buddha or Mara appears, 
Cut them off like a snarl of entangled silk thread. 
Use all your effort and strength to push your mind to the very end. 
"A mind that maintains the correct thought of true suchness," 
Understands that correct thought is no-thought. 
If you are able to contemplate no-thought, 
you’re already steering toward the wisdom of the Buddhas.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners
    Translated by Guo-gu Shi 






People ask about Cold Mountain Way;
There's no Cold Mountain Road that goes straight through:
By summer, lingering cold is not dispersed,
By fog, the risen sun is screened from view;
So how did one like me get onto it?
In our hearts, I'm not the same as you --
If in your heart you should become like me,
Then you can reach the center of it too.

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by E. Bruce Brooks,
    People Ask About Cold Mountain Way












Mountains in China





It only took a single flake
To freeze my mind in the snowy night,
A few clangs to smash my dreams
Among the frosted bells.
The stove's night fire fragrance
Has melted away,
Yet at my window the moon
Climbs a solitary peak.

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Translated by James M. Crier
    Mountain Living






Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?

-  Han Shan, 750
   Translated by Gary Snyder

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems






The fundamental teaching of Buddhism is nothing but 
The Doctrine of One Mind. 
This Mind is originally perfect and vastly illuminating. 
It is clear and pure, containing nothing, not even a fine dust.
There is neither delusion nor enlightenment, 
Neither birth nor death, 
Neither saints nor sinners. 
Sentient beings and Buddhas are of the same fundamental nature.
There are no two natures to distinguish them. 
This is why Bodhidharma came from the west to teach 
"Direct Pointing" to the original true Mind.   

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600






A thousand clouds among a myriad streams
And in their midst a person at his ease.
By day he wanders through the dark green hills,
At night goes home to sleep beneath the cliffs.
Swiftly the changing seasons pass him by, 
Tranquil, undefiled, no earthly ties.
Such pleasures! - and on what do they rely?
On a quiet calm, like autumn river water.

-    Han-Shan, 750
     Translated by Peter Harris
     Zen Poems     






The Way to Hanshan is a queer one;
No ruts or hoof prints are seen.
Valley winds into valley,
Peak rises above peak;
Grasses are bright with dew,
And pine trees sough in the breeze.
Even now you do not know?
The reality is asking the shadow the way.   

-   Han Shan, 750
    Translated by R. H. Blyth
    Zen and Zen Classics, p 134.





Be steadfast and endure.
Alertness brings awareness and awareness is a light that in a
Searing flash obliterates all traces of the ghost.
Let your True Nature shine forth in perfect clarity.
Rest easy in the pure, serene stillness of the One.
Alone, you are a sovereign.
Yourself, a precious kingdom.
Reign with peace and harmony!
What external force can possibly invade?

Life and death, day and night;
Water flows and flowers fall.
Only today, I know that
My nose points downward!   

-   Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
    Poems by Silly Mountain  
    Purify Your Mind, Translated by Upasaka Richard Cheung






As for me, I delight in the everyday Way,
Among mist-wrapped vines and rocky caves.
Here in the wilderness I am completely free,
With my friends, the white clouds, idling forever.
There are roads, but they do not reach the world;
Since I am mindless, who can rouse my thoughts?
On a bed of stone I sit, alone in the night,
While the round moon climbs up Cold Mountain.

-    Han-Shan, 750
     The Enlightened Heart
     Translated by Stephen Mitchell






From a clear sky the bright moon shimmers
On the stilled sea and snow draped shore.
In that holy night,
I could not find the water's edge.
Then I watched smoke spiral into the Void of Space.
In that bright mirror, I saw myriad things.
A Dragon gulped the shining moon last night,
And in the blackness I saw what I had missed. 

-    Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
     The Autobiography of Master Han Shan
     One Bright True Mind
     Translated by Upasaka Richard Cheung






The moon's low, a crow caws,
The landscape's laced with frost.
Under the riverside maples,
Lit by fishing lamps,
My sadness keeps me from sleep.
Beyond old Suzhou town,
Down to the traveler's boats,
Han Shan's Temple bell
Rings clear -
Right at midnight.

-   Zhang Ji, 780
    Night Mooring at Maple Bridge
    Rephrased by Michael P. Garofalo
    Translated by Francis Chin
    Sleepless in Suzhou by Richard Lim  
    Zuzhou: City of Gardens   
    Night Mooring at Maple Bridge - Links
    Suzhou Gardens 












Han Shan, 750
My Dwelling at Tian
Calligraphy by Huang Tienjian






Time is one wing of a gnat.
Space is the other.
The Universe is the hair of a horse.

Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, c 1600  






In the third month when the silkworms were still small
The girls had time to go and gather flowers,
Along the wall they played with butterflies,
Down by the water they pelted the old frog.
Into gauze sleeves they poured the ripe plums;
With their gold hairpins the dug up bamboo sprouts.
With all that glitter of outward loveliness
How can Cold Mountain hope to compete?

-    Han-Shan, 750
     Translated by Arthur Waley








Crazy Wisdom

"The European court jester of the Middle Ages saw through pretence and hypocrisy, and enjoyed 
poetic license in unhesitatingly telling things as they are. The `holy fools' ("Fools for Christ's Sake") 
such as St. Symeon of Eemesa of the Eastern Church; Sufis including the legendary Mulla 
Nasruddin; historical Zen iconoclasts such as the Chinese vagabond-poets Han Shan and Shih-te, 
and other Zen masters; these are the spiritual kin of the Indian and Tibetan siddhas. Intoxicated by 
crazy wisdom, the bawdy, spontaneous behavior of these unorthodox spiritual masters rarely 
conformed to the rigid strictures, materialistic values and arid proprieties of respectable society.

Irreverently flaunting their uncompromising freedom by subverting all forms of social convention 
and superficial value systems, these enlightened lunatics had a genius for shaking up the religious 
establishment and keeping alive the inner meaning of spiritual truth during the time of Indian 
Buddhism's external decline-- continuing to motivate and challenge those members of society open 
to such inspired spiritual influence while appearing mad from the banal, ordinary point of view. 
Presumably, this is why St. Francis of Assisi once appeared stark naked in church, and also 
referred to himself and his disciples as "the Lord's jesters" -- parodying the apparent absurdity 
of existence."

-  Lama Surya Das, Crazy Wisdom and Tibetan Teaching Tales Told by Lamas




Dorje Drolo


Dorje Drolo

"The Manifestation of Crazy Wisdom.  Conceived as an ecstatic manifestation of Padmasambhava, 
the deity Dorje Drolo embodies the forces of insight and compassion beyond logic and convention. 
Invoking in the practitioner the fearlessness and spontaneity of the awakened state, Dorje Drolo 
transforms hesitancy and clinging into enlightened activity. He rides a pregnant tigress, which 
signifies the latent power of our intrinsic Buddha Nature.    [A Tibetan Thangka painting.]"

From: Crazy Wisdom.  By Chogyam Trungpa. 1991   

Dorje Drolo Links

Essential Crazy Wisdom.   Nes Scoop Wisker.  2001


"Big Stick (Feng Kan) was something of a renegade monk at Kuoching Temple, which Cold Mountain 
(Han Shan, 750) would often visit near his home at Cold Cliff. According to legend, Big Stick showed 
up one day at the temple gate on the back of a tiger, took up residence in the temple library, refused to 
shave his head, and came and went as he liked. Whenever he was asked about Buddhism, he would 
answer “Whatever.”
Han Shan by Samantha



[The Tai Chi Chuan martial-arts and chi-kung forms have deep Taoist roots.  I play-dance-practice 
the Tai Chi Chuan forms, and the Yang style form includes a movement called: Retreat and Ride the Tiger. 
Tai Chi Chuan players seem a bit crazy to onlookers.  Whatever - they just keep a soft smile and 
ride the tiger anyway.]




Geography: Maps of China

Currently, one of the many tourist attractions in the city of Suzhou, China, is the Han Shan Temple 
"Suzhou is an ancient city south of the Changjiang (Yangzi River) in Jiangsu (Kiangsu) Province. It 
has an ancient history of 2,500 years. The city proper and its outskirts are criss-crossed by numerous 
rivers spanned by many arch bridges. The City of Suzhou (Old spelling of Soochow) has been called 
the "Venice of the East."  The city features many classic gardens and is the home of the 
Han Shan Temple
.  (I have been fortunate to visit a fine example of a Chinese style Suzhou garden 
in the downtown area of the City of Portland.  Suzhou and Portland are Sister Cities.)

Suzhou appears to be nearly 700 km north of Fujiian Province where many Buddhists and Taoists lived
in the T'ien T'ai Mountains.  The reports and legends about sages and poets living in the wilderness
are popular with city folks yearning for a temporary release from the social pressures of city life.     



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Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo


Poetry Notebook III of Michael P. Garofalo
Zen Poetry: Han Shan
84K, 14 July 2003, Version 1.1


E-mail Mike Garofalo



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