Feb 03 2017

Wu Men Hui-k’ai – Moon and clouds are the same

Published by at 9:22 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


/ Image 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.


Recommended Books: Wu Men Hui-k’ai

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Gateless Gate: The Wu-men Kuan The Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan The World: A Gateway: Commentaries on the Mumonkan


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

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