Aug 02 2019

Hsu Yun – Searching for the Dharma

Published by at 8:18 am under Poetry

Searching for the Dharma
by Hsu Yun

You’ve traveled up ten thousand steps in search of the Dharma.
So many long days in the archives, copying, copying.
The gravity of the Tang and the profundity of the Sung
make heavy baggage.
Here! I’ve picked you a bunch of wildflowers.
Their meaning is the same
but they’re much easier to carry.

/ Image by Riki-Tiki-Myu /

Something I wrote a few years back, in the springtime…

Walking yesterday, the trees are shyly showing their green buds, returning color to the world. I turned a corner and was bathed in the honey scent of new plum blossoms. These are the true books of the Dharma.

The great masters don’t wear an academic scowl; a silly grin sits easy on their faces. Must be from so much study on such a Spring day…

Recommended Books: Hsu Yun

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry A Pictoral Biography of the Venerable Master Hsu Yun Empty Cloud: The Autobiography of Chinese Zen Master, Hsu Yun

Hsu Yun, Hsu Yun poetry, Buddhist poetry Hsu Yun

China (1839 – 1959) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

The Venerable Master Hsu Yun was born in 1839 or 1840 in the Guanzhou region of China.

When he was 13, he declared that he wanted to join a Buddhist monastery, but his father refused to allow it. He eventually went against his father’s wishes and became an ordained monk at age 20, in 1859.

He had a naturally ascetic temperament and often refused even the minimal food of a monk. He later went on a three year solitary retreat into the forest where he sustained himself primarily on wild greens and pure stream water.

Hsu Yun traveled quite a bit in his life, teaching in many parts of China and Southeast Asia. He is credited by many with revitalizing Buddhist practice throughout much of the region, which was showing signs of degeneration and decline in the period leading up to and following the communist revolution.

Although he attained immense respect, Hsu Yun remained supremely humble and simple in his lifestyle. He chose to live the final years of his long life quietly in his monastery’s cow shed.

More poetry by Hsu Yun

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Hsu Yun – Searching for the Dharma”

  1. Annaon 03 Aug 2019 at 9:40 am

    Hi Ivan

    With a silly grin on my face,
    just came in the “Tea House”
    to say simply ‘Hi’ and to thanks
    for the beautiful bunch of

    Rest easy in the warm of
    a sunny summer weekend…


  2. Elaon 04 Aug 2019 at 12:33 pm

    everything that we see with the eyes,
    how beautiful it may be, is perishable,
    only God remains ever the most awesome and
    Godly knowledge is the simplest and the sweetest,
    it’s only remembering God as God really is,
    while staying in the soul consciousness.

  3. Olga T.on 05 Aug 2019 at 3:24 am

    Beware the grin not preceded by a scowl.

  4. Bob C. (Corbin)on 07 Aug 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Yes! Keep it simple.

    Spirituality, I have heard, is not a difficult process for simple people.
    It is a simple process for difficult people.
    Why must I be so difficult?
    Would you believe I started to study up on the Song and Tang dynasties to try to figure out the poem!

  5. Ivan M. Grangeron 08 Aug 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve been contemplating that statement — Spirituality is a difficult process for simple people and a simple process for difficult people. I feel like I keep turning it over in my head. From some perspectives, I really like it, and from others, I find myself confused by it. Does that make me a simple person or a difficult one?

    And what a deep dive to begin to explore the Song and Tang dynasties. Poetry, philosophy, history… I hope you find some rich material that draws your attention.

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