cold mountain (25)

alive a body with limits
dead a ghost with no name

~Han Shan

Maya gave birth to Gautama
for the sake of us all.
She has driven back the pain
of the sick and the dying.

~Songs of the Elder Nuns (Therigatha), Pajapati’s song.
Translated by Susan Murcott.


Listen to the wind on the ridge. How she sings of a hollow body, possessing force but not substance. Aren’t we all the same? I am an emptied-out case; I have left my feet at the bottom of the hill and carried my shoes up instead. My limits are the wind through the branches, its rushing against rock, its roughing of the river.


Chinese original and English translation pp. 52-53 here.


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