Sep 10 2012

Wu Men – Moon and clouds are the same

Published by at 8:11 am under Poetry

Moon and clouds are the same
by Wu Men (Hui-k’ai)

English version by Stephen Mitchell

Moon and clouds are the same;
mountain and valley are different.
All are blessed; all are blessed.
Is this one? Is this two?

— from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell

/ Photo by mikelehen /

The world, all of life, is like one of those games of visual perspective. Do we see mountains and a valley, or do we see mountains-and-valley? It is all one continuity, but with our mind we separate them into distinct objects of perception. Where is the point of separation? We become so convinced by our own mental concepts of distinction that we hardly ever think to search for the borderline that separates things. Put on your hiking boots and go find the exact point at which mountain becomes valley, always asking yourself, “Is this one? Is this two?”

It is both one and two. In two there is identity and capacity, but in one there is unity and rest.

All are blessed; all are blessed.

Wu Men (Hui-k’ai)

China (1183 – 1260) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

There are two primary collections of koans in Zen/Chan Buddhism: The Blue Cliff Records and The Gateless Gate (Wu Men Kuan or the Mumonkan). The Gateless Gate was first published in 1228 and consists of 48 koans compiled by Wu Men Hui-k’ai with his commentary and poetic verse.

Wu Men (also called Mumon) was head monk of the Lung-hsiang monastery in China.

More poetry by Wu Men (Hui-k’ai)

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Wu Men – Moon and clouds are the same”

  1. Carolon 10 Sep 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Yes, its in the river seeing the eye, and valley touching mountain that mind floats in clouds of understanding ………
    ……… words disappear
    ……………and the fragrance is one


  2. Prabhjot Kauron 10 Sep 2012 at 2:19 pm

    So Beautifully put Carol and love the way Ivan how you’re synthesising the enigma of duality of non-duality and may be the hike is to anchor oneself in with who is seeing and understanding and feeling the fragrance…..hope my words are not invasive….the mind is just doing what it does…

  3. Mandakini Mathuron 10 Sep 2012 at 9:51 pm

    your commentary Ivan makes the distant sky of the poem fall on the ground like rain…and then begins a certain germination of seeds from deep within. Can’t thank you enough for poetry chaikhana!

  4. Chaityon 10 Sep 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Ivan,

    How illusory is the apparent difference which is essentially One. The Mind perceives what it wants to believe. The same mind is trained to see One continuum…

    Essentially One…seen as separate …

    Love your interpretations Ivan


  5. zubairiaon 17 Sep 2012 at 6:41 am

    very deep thoughts for nature. i love the way of your expression.

  6. Sunyataon 07 Oct 2012 at 5:58 am


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