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Enlightenment Poems


Author:  Niu Tou (594 - 657)

In  "Song of Mind," Niu Tou explains that our mind is originally pure, but if one thought enters, the purity vanishes.  He puts great importance on a method of practice which is to watch our thoughts arising and disappearing.  His method emphasizes using wakefulness and stillness together.  We should not attach to either of them.  In the beginning, we still must rely on our sense organs to observe the world, but we.......


Author:  Hung Chih (1091 - 1157)

The "Silent Illumination" is one of the major methods of Chan which have survived to the present day. Hung Chih's style of practice was most influenced by his teacher Ku-Mu (or dry wood).  When his teacher sat, his stillness made his body resemble a block of dry wood.  Hung Chih, calling his method "Silent Illumniation," desc...



 Author:  Tung Shan (807 - 869)

 In the "Song of The Precious Mirror," the word "precious" can be interpreted as eternal, unchanging and limitless.  The  characteristic of the mirror is its brightness.  It can shine inwardly to enlighten you to your own nature, or it can shine outwardly to enable you to help others.  The central image of this poem is an infant who is born complete with all five sense organs.  This signifies that an unenlightened person is originally gifted wit.......


Author: Master Fu (497 - 569) Master Fu, a lay practitioner also known as Fu Yu, who lived during the (Chinese) Liang Dynasty. He started out as a fisherman, but later met an Indian monk and was moved to give up fishing and took up farming. His enlightenment occurred while he was farming. "The Mind King" describes the mind after enlightenment. It is not the rational mind of analysis or judgement; rather, this mind is the basis of all the Buddhas. Although sentient being



Author: Han Shan  (1546-1623)

Han Shan, or the "Old Man from the Cold Mountain," was a great Chanpractitioner, scholar and writer who lived at the close of  the (Chinese) MingDynasty.  He was enlightened many times.  Han Shan wishes to let go of everything, to hold onto

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