Saturday, October 25, 2014

You're Alone

                Photo credits: Dvids

               The verses above seem to be pregnant with a beautiful double meaning. It may be impossible to figure out what Han San really said in the original Chinese. However, this translation done by J.P.Seaton in his book Cold Mountain Poems give the reader much to think and, mainly, to feel.
               What does the “within” refer to in this case? Is the verse saying that everything within Earth is alone? Or is the verse saying one is alone and have all within oneself? Since it is written in poetic language, plus, being a pre-zen Buddhist poem, I would not be surprised if the verse had both meanings at the same time.
               We are all alone. Nobody can live other’s journey. However, we are all together in journeying individually. At the same time, all the individual journeys compose the only one journey that exists, the journey of the whole Universe. And, as parts of the Universe, each one of us, all beings, is the entire Universe.            

               By the way he is the full translation:

Green water in the stream in the pass,
white water rising the clear-welling spring…
Han Shan’s moon’s a flower, white as well…
So the darkest secret, the spirit by itself illumines
gaze into the emptiness, to the ends of Earth…
You’re alone, with all within…
(Poem XXXIII, pg. 49)