While Still Young

The spring not yet old, with gentle wind and dainty willows

On the Sublime Pavilion I gaze afar, beyond a moat half brimmed is a town in full bloom

Misty rain drapes over the hues, where every light dims

After the Cold Food Fest in early April, I wake up feeling drunk

No sense indulging in nostalgia for old dreams

Let me ignite a new fire for fresh tea

You must try some new brew, while still young

~ Translated from Su Shi’s “Gazing South – On the Sublime Pavilion,” written in the Song dynasty


~ 蘇軾 (宋代) <<望江南 超然台作>>

Up and About at Night

One night in autumn, right when I was about to go to bed, the moonlight sneaked into the room with an invite, which I accepted with delight.

To share the fun, I went to Cheng Tian Temple and knocked on my friend Zhang Huaimin’s door. He’s not yet asleep either, so we took a walk in the courtyard. The ground was a pool of moonbeams, crisscrossed with the shadows of bamboos and cypresses, swaying like freshwater algae.

Which night doesn’t come with a moon? What place doesn’t have bamboos? Only that nobody else is as leisurely as us.

~ Translated from Su Shi’s “A Nightout at Cheng Tian Temple,” written in the Song dynasty


~ 蘇軾 (宋代) <<記承天寺夜遊>>

No Mind

Letting go of greed, anger, and ignorance

is identical with following a healthy diet;

while purifying the mind, body, and speech

is to be released from all worldly bias.

My pure nature is naturally in harmony

with your selfless state;

all things are of single essence

in the no-mind realm.

~ Translated from Shi De’s original verses written in the Tang dynasty


~ 拾得 (唐代)

Shi De, aka Shih-Te or Pickup, was a monk on Mount Tiantai in the Tang dynasty. Allegedly, as a little boy he was abandoned by his parents and adopted by Feng Gan – a legendary Buddhist poet at the Guoqing Temple on Mt. Tiantai, and ever since he spent most of his life working and practicing at the temple, forming the famous “Tiantai Trio” (天台三聖) with Feng Gan and their mutual friend – Han Shan (Cold Mountain).