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 Templeand 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
~ 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).