The Poetry of Zen

December 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

I stand here and watch the people of this world:
all against one and one against all,
angry, arguing, plotting and scheming.
Then one day, suddenly, they die.
And each gets one plot of ground:
four feet wide, six feet long.
If you can scheme your way out of that plot,
I’ll set the stone that immortalizes your name.

—Han Shan, 8th century, translated by J.P. Seaton

From The Poetry of Zen
Translated and edited by Sam Hamill and J.P Seaton
Shambhala, 2007.


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