Thursday, September 8, 2011

Zen & Tao Poetic 5 - Profound poem

This is the famous "profound poem" (大言詩) written by Tan Qiao 譚峭, a Taoist of Tang Dynasty, author of the important (but relatively short) Taoist text "Tan's book-of-change" 譚峭化書。


My translation:

Yangtze my thread, Sky my fan
Threw my slippers to the far sea it went
Hardly any path leading to the Tao of Enlightenment
Only one at Tan holding a cane (pronounce as: can)

Paul's comment: a cane has the same symbolic meaning as Zen masters enlightening their students by hitting their (bald) heads with a stick. Tan got no material possession (he wears not even one single thread!) but the ability to enlighten a student of Tao.


  1. This poem is indeed succinct and profound...a soul's essence in eternity. Thanks!


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