Monday, November 23, 2009

On Hsieh Ling-Yun, Li, and Shang

~Li~ the system of principles according to which the ten thousand things burgeon forth spontaneously from the generative void (D. Hinton)

~Shang~ an aesthetic experience of the wild mountain realm as a single overwhelming whole (D. Hinton)

For Hsieh [Ling-yun], one comes to a deep understanding of ~li~ [inner pattern] through adoration (~shang~) (D. Hinton)

After 46 sections detailing wilderness in poem called 'Dwelling in the Mountains,' Hsieh Ling-Yun writes following 'closer'

In these remote and secluded depths of quiet mystery,
silence boundless, distances empty,

you see endeavor denies our nature
and appearance the inner pattern.

When eyes and ears can tell us nothing of such things,
how could anyone follow the path with mere footsteps?

I’ve distilled all antiquity in the steady cycle of seasons,
trusting to the enlightened insight of five-fold vision,

and now, abiding by this wisdom, I let my brush rest,
let shallow thoughts settle away and these words end.

Much of David Hinton's translation of Hsieh Ling-yun's poem 'Dwelling in the Mountains' can be read here:

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