Nearing Hao-pa

by Yuan Mei

English version by J. P. Seaton
Original Language Chinese

(I saw in the mist a little village of a few tiled roofs and joyfully admired it.)

There's a stream, and there's bamboo,
there's mulberry and hemp.
Mist-hid, clouded hamlet,
a mild, tranquil place.
Just a few tilled acres.
Just a few tiled roofs.
How many lives would I
have to live, to get
that simple.

-- from A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry, Edited by J. P. Seaton / Edited by Dennis Maloney

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Should I say anything about this poem? A quiet village, hidden in the mountains among the mists. A few huts and tilled fields. Not much happening. Time itself pads quietly through this place.

A place nearly beneath notice. Or perhaps it is Nirvana itself.

How many lives would I
have to live, to get
that simple.

Recommended Books: Yuan Mei

The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry I Don't Bow to Buddhas: Selected Poems of Yuan Mei Yuan Mei: Eighteenth Century Chinese Poet Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories of Yuan Mei

Nearing Hao-pa