Doesn't anyone see

by Shih-te (Pickup)

English version by Red Pine (Bill Porter)
Original Language Chinese

Doesn't anyone see
the turmoil in the Three Worlds
is due to endless delusion
once thoughts stop the mind becomes clear
nothing comes or goes neither birth nor death

-- from The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, Translated by Red Pine

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Contrary to the fundamental, though unspoken assumption of Western rationalism, it is not through increased thought or even increasingly refined thought that one perceives more clearly.

All thought, no matter how erudite, elegant, or elevated, is ultimately a projection upon reality, preventing us from perceiving things as they are. Thoughts become barriers with varying degrees of opacity, allowing us to see reality only through their filters.

In this simple poem, Shih-te points out that it is only through mental silence that one can transcend delusion and see clearly.

When this is done, when the agitations of the mind stop, there is no more coming and going. Life and death, beginnings and endings have no pull; there is only the full, radiant Present.



Recommended Books: Shih-te (Pickup)

The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain





Doesn't anyone see