Saturday, 1 March 2014

[archived]: East Idioms-1 by Changming Yuan ©

East Idioms

Changing Yuan

Table of Contents

1. Ch’i, Or the Original Breath
2. Dao: the Original Source of Species
3. Nuwa’s Dilemma: An Other Mega-Narrative
4. Yin + Yang
5. The Fengshui Rules: Yang vs Yin
6. Three Sun Shootings: An Other Genesis
7. The Unpatented Quadrants
8. Chinese Gentility: Four Floral Haiku
9. Swirling Swastika: a Chan (Zen) Poem
10. Fate Forecast
11. Fengshui Associations of the Five Elements
12. The Ballad in Bagua (Or Eight Trigrams): A Mini Epic*
13. Half of the Triumph: the Eight Trigrams
14. Nine Detours of the Yellow River
15. The Confessions of the Chinese Calendar
16. Zhuangzi Revisited (1): Butterfly Being
17. Zhuangzi Revisited (2): The Mouse, A Mouse
18. The Confucian Knowledge
19. Confucian Nobilities (1): Pine
20. Confucian Nobilities (2): Bamboo
21. Confucian Nobilities (3): Chrysanthemum
22. Name Changing: A Confucian Principle  
23. This Is a Line: A Piety Poem
24. Curse in Verse: An Ischemic Tradition
25. Ancestry Worshipping
26. You Are a Buddha
27. Chan: Self-Meditating
28. Chan: Inner Landscaping
29. Chan: Self-Rebuilding
30. Chan: Self-Renovating 
31. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (1): Mind-Clearing Mudra
32. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (2): Dewdrop Mudra
33. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (3): Flower-Picking Mudra
34. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (4): Infinity Mudra
35. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (5): Sky-Reaching Mudra
36. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (6): Round-Reaching Mudra
37. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (7): Authentic Fire Mudra
38. Therapeutic Chan-Poems (8): A-Mi-Te Mudra
39. Universal Compassion: the Chan Prayer
40. Karma-Converted  
41. Inner Drought
42. East Idioms (1)
43. ast Idioms (continued)
44. East Idioms (cont. 3)
45. East Idioms (4)
46. East Idioms (5)
47. East Idioms (6)
48. East Idioms (7)
49. East Idioms (8)
50. The Clay Tripod
51. Lexical Tourism
52. Mahjong Marching
53. Personal Politics
54. Yellow Comedy
55. Chanson by a Chinaman
56. Another Impasse
57. Sell Liberation of Words Worth
58. The River and the Bridge
59. Well Well, the Well
60. The White Goose
61. The Death of a Chinese Widow
62. Making Tea
63. Sunwashing
64. Reading behind the Words
65. The Knitted Vest
66. Fatherly Fear 
67. Last Meet with My First Love
68. Class 761, Shanghai
69. Dancing with Crane
70. Naming a Nation
71. Worldly Affairs (7): A Chinese Portrait
72. Pidan Or Century Eggs, China
73. The Loss of a Nation’s Identity
74. Fragile, Archaic China
75. Seeing the Dragon: A Parallel Poem
76. Modern Mandarin-Speaker
77. The Girl Who Danced with Democracy*
78. Drawing the Dragon
79. Directory of Directions

Ch’i, Or the Original Breath

neither the hindu prana
nor the Christian holy spirit
i am the authentic source
of light and energy
the force of vital life itself
that you cannot see
touch, taste, hear, or feel
but you can always map
my omnipresence
with the clairvoyant tentacles
of your spirited soul

like air, like water
like air married with water
i am constantly flowing
from yin to yang
or to yin from yang
through and around everything
seeking mixed smoothness
and becoming balanced
although in the depth
of my selfhood
contains an infinitesimal seed
ready to grow
into my own antiself

unworldly, beyond words
i do not even have a shape
but I do have a nickname
as lao zi used to call me
am DAO

Dao: the Original Source of Species

before that big blast
there was neither time
nor space
nor matter
nor laws of physics
nor gods of course

so they say
or believe

but somewhere
out of all that void
Dao grew into one point of being
divided into two
two into four
four into myriads
until it has become
a whole universe
still growing
together with man and god

Nuwa’s Dilemma: An Other Mega-Narrative

Back from her 3 day celestial tour
(each second amounting to a century on earth)
Nuwa was abhorred to find
How the human world she had created was evolving:
While the human kind had grown
Rampantly in numbers
And in numbers only
It kept degrading inside
Into grotesque beasts
Lower than deformed insects

Seeing how well the World of Gods
And the World of Dead were both doing
Nuwa began to feel
Confused, confounded:
Of all her equally whimsical creations
Why the World of Humans alone
Was developing so loathsomely?

From that moment on she has been hesitating:
Should she destroy the entire human world
And recreate the race, or just let them go
Their own way and destroy themselves?

Yin + Yang

the light soaring spirit
…within…the heavy metallic matter
the budding summer dawn
…beyond…the withered wintry dusk
the hot and hard sunbeam
…through…the cool and soft moonlight
the thin snowflakes
…along…the thick ink
the shiny plane
…around…the dark dot
the transparent palace
…from…the muddy field
the chasing eagle
…over…the submersed slab
the boundless southern sky
…above…the fenced northern earth
the dry poetic voice
…at…the wet narrative pitfall
the male
…with…the female
from and towards……the imbalanced balances

The Fengshui Rules: Yang vs Yin

For Yang Residence

Don’t live in a grotesque-looking house
At the bottom of a valley
With all doors in straight lines

Above all, don’t dream in a legless bed
Right under a chandelier
However exquisite

Or you would be haunted by a devil

For Yin Residence

Let your body be buried
On a wooded ridge
Higher than all houses

Let your soul squat
At an evergreen treetop
Watching the rising sun

(Better like my grandma
Too poor to have a coffin)

Then one of your offspring
Will be a statesman
A maneybag
Or a literate star

(Like me)

Three Sun Shootings: An Other Genesis
            Ancient Chinese myth has it that the world has ten suns to begin with …

Origin of Suns

They are sons of God of Heavens
Each with an all-faced body, a heart
Where dwells a three-legged golden crow

Always playing, lolling and wallowing
As wild as so many bears bursting with fire
In the heavenly river of stars

Until one day they go crazy, all jumping high
In the sky, refusing to return home
Even to take a break at night

First Shooting

To save his tribesmen
Hou Yi shot down
The biggest sun
With his renowned red bow and white arrow
Yet little happened:
Given nine suns still wantoning
In the front yard of heaven
The whole earth was burning with dry heat
Like the living room of hell
Drought in the plains
Fires on the mountains
All men and women fled
Hiding themselves deep in cool caves

But there stared a butterfly effect of hope
Sweeping through the human minds

Second Shooting
Using only one other arrow
thicker, longer, whiter
Hou Yi shot down three suns

No sooner had the souls of
The three-legged gold crows
Drifted out of their bodies
Than night began to fall from nowhere
Although not so dark
Not so long
Not so cold yet

Third Shooting

At an unseen moment of glaring spot
With his enormous five-arrowed bow
(Newly made by the five most powerful tribes
From the five-colored rocks
Left over by Nuwa after the Creator finished mending the sky)
Hou Yi squatted straight
Aimed high
And shot down
All the other remaining suns
Except the brightest, the most handsome one
He left for the human world 
To disperse earthly shadows

Ever since then, even Nuwa does not know
Why Kua Fu has been running
After the sun, Xi He’s only son
In an endless and tireless pursuit
From his tribal home near the Wei Lake
To the Yellow River (whose water
Fails to quench his thirst), flowing down
Right from Heaven to the distant wasteland
Beyond the North Sea, where he never means to stand
Where he is fated to fall    

The Unpatented Quadrants

we chinamen, half and quarter chinamen
children of eight or sixteenth chinamen
constantly pounded with a peculiar pride
over our ancestry's four great inventions:

                        the first was paper to transcribe ancient ballads
                                    but later often used to give ultimata to your emperors
                        also the printing technique to transmit sages' teachings
                                    but later often used to exhibit your ugliest scars
                        a third the compass to help find the golden dragon
                                    but later often used to guide your foreign creditors
                        the last gunpowder to launch fireworks at spring festival
                                    but later often used to bombard your long walls

            they chinese, half and quarter chinese
            children of eight or sixteenth chinese
            baffled with belief, brief belief
            that their unknown ancestors happened to invent
                        the wrong stuffs in the right times
                        or the right stuffs in the wrong places

Chinese Gentility: Four Floral Haiku

Orchid:            Deep in the valley
                        Alone on an obscure spot
                        You bloom none the less

Lotus:              From foul decayed silt
                        You shoot clean against the sun
                        Never pollutable

Mum:               Hanging on and on
                        Even when wishes wither
                        You keep flowering

Plum:               Your brave bold blood dropped
                        As though to melt all worlds snow
                        Before spring gathers

Swirling Swastika: a Chan (Zen) Poem

                                    FAMEFAM EM           M
                                                      E          O
                                                      D                      N
                                                      I            E
                                    E               T  
                                    X               A
                                    S                T
                                    E               I
                                    X               NPOWERPOW

Fate Forecast
            - Believe it or not, the ancient Theory of the Five Elements accounts for us all.

1 Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)
-helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire
he used to be totally dull-colored
because he came from the earth’s inside
now he has become a super-conductor
for cold words, hot pictures and light itself
            all being transmitted through his throat

2 Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)
-helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth
with her transparent tenderness
coded with colorless violence
she is always ready to support
or sink the powerful boat
                        sailing south

3 Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)
-helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal
rings in rings have been opened or broken
like echoes that roll from home to home
each containing fragments of green
trying to tell their tales
                  from the forest’s depths

4 Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)
-helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water
your soft power bursting from your ribcage
as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be
when you fly your lipless kisses
you reach out your hearts
                        until they are all broken

5 Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)
-helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood
i think not; therefore, I am not
what I am, but I have a color
the skin my heart wears inside out
tattooed intricately
            with footprints of history

Fengshui Associations of the Five Elements

Fire:                 South, summer, hot, bitter
                        Red, gaiety, pulse, tongue, a;
Water:                         North, winter, cold, salt
Black, fright, bones, ears, e;
Wood:                         East, spring, wind, sour
                        Green, anger, tendons, eyes, i;
Metal:              West, autumn, dry, pungent
                        White, worry, skin/hair, nose, o;
Earth:              Centre, late summer, wet, sweet
                        Yellow, thought, muscle, mouth, u

The Ballad in Bagua (Or Eight Trigrams): A Mini Epic*

qua a: The Creative

hush! did you ever hear
in the very vastest void
a voice almost invisible
awakening Pan Gu
the great father of life
who had arisen
slowly but steadily
amidst all nothingness?

with his hands like a huge ax
Pan Gu clove the chaos into yin and yang
one floating high above
clear and clean
until it formed the heavens
the other sinking deep down
turbid and turbulent
until it solidified into the earth

even bigger than the entire universe
his mind in itself can create
a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven
just as his first manifesto
still echoes from soul to soul:
there is neither god, nor heaven
i am god and i am heaven
let there be a lightway, and here i come!

gua b: The Lake

soon after Pan Gu                   put the universe in order
there were more than              one thousand thunders
exploded as though                 in a single big blast
triggering a super-                   scaled skyquake
whose tremendous                  tremors traveled
along the ever                          darkening lightning
that created cracks                  and crevices
across the boundless               vault of the heavens

her newborns striving hard but hopeless to survive
the flood, the drought as well as the famine
Nuwa, the gracious mother of the human race
to whom power had been an eternal joy
ceased changing her forms and shapes
starting to rescue her young children
from the danger of being swallowed by death
without getting a chance to grow on their own

day in and day out
not knowing what was tiring
she filled, smoothed and ironed
every gap that needed to be treated
with the soft five-colored stones
she had defined and refined
in her first alchemist’s furnace
until the whole firmament was fully mended

gua c: The Clinging

in the south dominates Yan Di the Great
in the north rules Huang Di the Mighty
they are both Nuwa’s worthy offspring
but they never brother each other
followed by deities and humans alike
they fight fiercely and formidably
for women, for wealth or for war’s sake

the biggest battle                     breaks out in Banchuan
metal scales agape                   with burning cold
chain mail glitters                    over death’s shadows
banners fluttering                    against loud cries
as thick and dark clouds         keep whelming
the whole city seems               ready to collapse
even night is so much              scared to death
it hides itself in                       an unseen corner

for a thousand long days and nights
the whole universe holds its breath
while watching the all decisive dual
between the two heavenly rivals
like tsunamis meeting at the horizon
not a single drop of blood is shed in disgrace
until most are fallen forever in the fields
or too exhausted to return to the heavens

gua d: The Thunder

to revenge on his captain’s      shame of defeat
chi You stages                         an all-front or total war
by summoning                         every wind above earth
retrieving every rain                under the sky
and enrolling each                   fighter of ferocity
like thousands of                     wild mammoths of horror
stampeding at                          an unheard thunder
against the defence                 line of Huang Di

to meet Chi’s challenge           Huang Di dispatches
Yin Long his most valiant       and capable general
who never holds a weapon     in his handsome hands
but on the wall of                    his courageous mind
hangs a sword that                  can break from its case
readily leap forward                like a flying dragon
to cut off the head                  of an arch-enemy
even it is more than                 one hundred zhang away

seeing Yin Long’s legions fail to curb
the sweeping storms manipulated by Chi You
Ba the most talented and beautiful princess
offers to join in the half-fought battle
by stilling each violent wind and rain
to help destroy the most destructive forces
despite the puzzled eye of those who see her:
who is among us this extraordinary fair warrior?

gua e: The Receptive

the greatest                              rebel of all time
was not born                           to be a rebel
but wherever                           there is oppression
there will be                            a timely rebellion
this is                                       a universal truth
although it never has               been hand-written
like the law formulated           for every action
there is an equal                      opposite reaction

the door for dogs and pigs      is widely open
while the gate for humans       is tightly closed
a loud voice is calling              outside the prison
come out, come out,                i will give you freedom
Xin Tian fondly                      desires freedom
but he knows it                       all too well
how can a human bod y          crawl his way
out of the desperate door         for animals?

his mind can                            never be slaved
nor can his will                        be walled
Xin Tian has                            to be beheaded
but the moment                       his head chopped off
he restarts to wave                  with wonders
his brave axe                           and unbending shield
trying to see                            with his nipples
and roaring                              with his naval instead

gua f: The Mountain

just like any other normal bird
jing Wei has a beak sharp and hard
with which to peck around on the ground
and pursue her dream dropped while flying
she has a pair of wings of heavenly hope
plumed with feathers of despair
that empower her to fly long distance
and low enough to her father’s kingdom

but unlike any other                bird on earth
her calls and songs                  are her own name
who used                                 to take a lonely walk
along a less trodden trail         in the woods
until on a hot and                    humid summer day
she ventured to swim              in the East Sea
without a companion              in her private quest
and never returned                  to the palace of Yan Di

ever since the rebirth               she secured
of the foamy peak                   of a huge wave
Jing Wei has been                   fully engaged
in filling the vast                     and violent sea
with fresh twigs                      and stones
she collects and transports      from Mount West
one at a time                            with her lonely beak
although it seems                    simple but impossible

gua g: The Dangerous

out of nowhere                        out of everywhere
torrents of rain                                    all fall together
lakes overturn                          and rivers overflow
mountains collapse                  in muddy nightmares
as young and old fight                        against hunger
humans and animals duel        with plagues
the whole world seems           to be doomed
to perish                                  in a single fierce flood

to tame the rivers and watercourses
Guen steals a seed of xi soil from heaven
but long before he can accomplish his task
Guen is killed at Tian Di’s heavenly order
and his body thrown in the wildness
where it refuses to decay for three years
until a yellow dragon is begotten
leaping out of his belly cut widely open

Yu quickly grows                    to be Guen’s great son
for he never forgets                 his father’s behest
even though he has                 no magic xi soil
nor any help                            from high above heaven
he gulps down                         all the dark clouds
sucks up                                  all the torrential rains
chains every stream                 running mad
to free the land                        from the flood’s grips

gua h: The Wind

far beyond the vast east sea
Xi He gives birth to ten suns
playing happily in the heavens
like so many wantons who never stop
chasing one another unawares
their faces getting dirtier and dirtier
until summoned by their dear mother
bathing them in the depths of Sweet Pond

at an unseen moment of glaring sot
all the ten sons seem t turn wild
like mad fires sending out more heat than light
burning every green leaf in the field
when Hou Yi has to hold high
his red bow and white arrows
and shoot down the suns up to nine
leaving just one as Xi He’s only son

no one is sure                          what Kua Fu is up to
who never ceases                    seeking the traveling sun
in an endless                            and tireless chase
from his comfort home           near the Wei River
to the Yellow River flowing   down from heaven
whose water fails                    to quench his thirst
to the wasteland                      beyond the North Sea
where he means                       to stand to fall forever    

*As many literary scholars have noted, Chinese literature has no epic in the western sense of the term.  Considering this fact, my 'ballad of bagua: a mini epic' is not only highly experimental in form -- I used the most ancient Chinese folk form of 'bagua' or eight trigrams (in a slightly modified manner), but also very ambitious in content, for I tried to write the most ancient Chinese myths into a poetic narrative. To my best knowledge, this is the very first attempt in any language, since no poet has ever done so even in the Chinese language. 

Half of the Triumph: the Eight Trigrams

The creative:    yangyangyangyangyangyangyangyang

the clinging:    yangyangyangyangyangyangyangyang
                        yinyinyinyin                      yinyinyinyin

the dragon:      yinyinyinyin                      yinyinyinyin
                        yinyinyinyin                      yinyinyinyin

The receptive:  yinyinyinyin                      yinyinyinyin
                        yinyinyinyin                      yinyinyinyin
                        yinyinyinyin                     yinyinyinyin

Nine Detours of the Yellow River

you are unaware of your obscure sources
but you are explicitly sure of the vast sea
                        as your final destination

            you always frown with your brownish wrinkles
            but you prefer a nonprofessional smile on your face
                                                your only luggage of life

                        all your teeth have been lost or pulled out
                        but you keep licking the muddy banks with your heart
                                    despite your dreams forged

            your song is no more than a foam of silence
but you struggle hard to remain afloat on the sea of noise
                        beyond the borderline of heaven

your love for the loess plateau often overturns and overflows
            but you have never flooded the valley of the dragon's mind
                                                since confucius's times

            your course ahead is crowded with holes and crevices
                        but you will deliver your promises to every unevenness
                                    instead of promising the deliveries only

                        you occupy an enormously tiny place of the world
            but you feed all the hopes and wishes of those
                                                with thirsty mouths stranded ashore

            you flow down from the sky created by yourself
but you hope to avoid falling on the broken floor
                                                of your own church

you may be tortured or burned to steam
but you will eventually find your impossible way
                        to the sea of blue sky

The Confessions of the Chinese Calendar
            it all began with an animal race Emperor Jade called to amuse himself and his earthly subjects...

yes, i admit betraying the cat as my only close friend
but i won the race, with my head rather than my legs

to honor my contract with the yellow sun
i eat green grass, yet give red meat to man

as the only feared king of the thick jungle
i am afraid and tired of my own timidness

with my cagey ears held so high
i will not miss a sound of peace

although my portraits hung lively above the clouds
no human eyes have ever seen my authentic being

the moment i sloughed off my old slim self
i forgot ever seducing any manhood in heaven

my body looks more masculine than a strong man
and my heart feels more feminine than a tender girl

when i bleat towards the passers-by
i never mean to speak in an other voice

each time i try to find any lice in the corner of my mind
i act like the humans outside the fence with barbed wire

with my wings plumed with the feathers of night
i can not fly but to crow loudly towards dawn

given my canine camaraderie and pack mentality
i feel at home before, among or behind soldiers

i spend all my lifetime wisely
to guard this single moment                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Zhuangzi Revisited (1): Butterfly Being

Neither a human
Dreaming of being a butterfly
Nor a butterfly
Dreaming of being a human
But simply a moth egg 
Attached firmly
To a yellowish leaf
Within the human mind

Or perhaps the other way around
Am I?

Zhuangzi Revisited (2): The Mouse, A Mouse

if the little mouse became
as boundless as the sky as it wishes

the sky would become
as free as a cloud

the cloud
as powerful as a wind

and if the wind became
as unshakable as a wall

the wall would become
as penetrating as a mouse

and the little mouse
a mouse                   

The Confucian Knowledge

Only you know
You only know
You know only
When you know that you know
When you know that you know not
You need to know when you know not that you know
You know that you know not when you know not
Or you know not that you know not when you know not

Confucian Nobilities (1): Pine

Sitting on a boulder
Like Thousand-Hand Thousand-Eye Guanyin
You reach out all your deeply tanned arms
Pointing all your evergreen fingers up to the sky
Not to take in moisture from the surrounding mists
But to give out the freshest air you could

With eyes held in as many hands
You are witnessing the sounds of the world
Still, in spirited stillness

Confucian Nobilities (2): Bamboo

With your hair-like roots
Holding the earth so tightly
You stand straight
Even during a summer storm

Thin as your body
You keep an open mind
For all secrets of growth
Between your heart-ringed joints

Despite your slim leaves
You are full of spirits
Ever so clean
Ever so green

Confucian Nobilities (3): Chrysanthemum

Still, you are always amazed
Why chrysanthemums bloom
Without feeling
At their spots of growth
While they are identified by color
White, yellow, pink, red, orange, blue, purple
Petals powdered
With the coolest rays
Of the mid-autumn moon

You are stricken by their very graciousness
Each hiding behind its jade-veined fingers
Yet each refusing to budge against the chiseling frost
Still and proud

Name Changing: A Confucian Principle  

Confucius once said
If the name is not right
Language will carry no might
So my father created my name
By rearranging the sun and moon
Vertically and horizontally
To equip it with all
The forces of yin and yang
Dispersed in the universe

Since I became subject
To a totally different grammar
All people have complained
Or made fun of my name
So harsh and awkward
They conspire to seduce me
To adopt a familiar one
Like Michael in the powerful speech

But to retain the subtle balances
In the wild wild world I wander
To hold my fathers sunbeam
With my mothers moonlight
I fiercely refuse to change it
Even though I often feel lost
When the sounds I hear
Do not sound like my name at all

This Is a Line: A Piety Poem
            (for Liu Yu and other mothers)

A line this is for my mother’s birthday
A birth line for my mother’s day
A mother for the birthday of a line
A celebration of my mother’s line of birth

Mother, I will line your birth with celebration
I will day a line with birth celebration, Mother
I will mother a day line with celebration
I will celebrate the mothering of a line
Mother, I will celebrate a line’s birthday

Mother my celebration of a line’s day
Mother my day’s line for a birthday
Celebrate my line with my mother’s birth
Celebrate the day with my mother’s line
Mother, I celebrate your birthday with a line

Curse in Verse: An Ischemic Tradition*

As if this had been a family curse
You have all the symptoms of ischemia:
Palpitations, short breaths, irregular heartbeats 
Although no test results show you
Having a physiological cause of the problem

While your family doctor keeps wondering
Why you do not have enough blood
Flowing around behind your Chinese chest
You know your heart muscle as a sponge
From which you have squeezed out
Too many of your blood-rooted words
Like your father, like your son

*While my father Yuan Hongqi has never been able to get his poetry published, my 16-year-old younger son Allen Qing Yuan has already had his poems appearing in a number of countries. Even today, many Chinese families still keep the long lasting tradition of placing supreme values on the literary/poetic art, resulting from the obsession with the ‘scholar-official,’ a concept deeply rooted in classis Confucianism.

Ancestry Worshipping

No, we never planned it that way
But it so happened this seventh summer
I took my twelve-year-young son
To my father’s native village among hairless hills
In the far east end, the other side of the world
Which he had left as a starving orphan
And returned with me in the Mao suit
Like a magic-toyed boomerang
When we were both at Allen’s age
For the first times in our lives

Last time, my father forced the Little Red Guard in me
To kowtow, burn joss sticks and paper money secretly
For his parents, whose dialect had survived
Though I understood it only half-heartedly

This time, I cajoled my boy to grasp a handful of earth
From the grave of my grandma worshipped by villagers
(Her humaneness has supposedly made her a local deity)
And smuggle it to the backyard of our home in Vancouver
Like some foreign seeds prohibited at the customs

As we departed, again, our clan elder chanted:
Under the shade of a new highway
This old grave will soon be erased…

You Are a Buddha

As long as you can
Go along, or
Go alone
With Karma

As long as you are ready
To accept, or
Give up
Everything, anything

Chan: Self-Meditating

Sitting under a tall pipal
On a vast stretch of prairies
Where you transform your entire selfhood
Into the little marigold in front of you
Then, the running stream water
The gliding bird
The drifting cloud
The morning light
The summer sky
Where you are
The universe
Where the universe
Is you

Chan: Inner Landscaping

With its whim-bladed diaphanous scissors
The west wind arrives simply too early
Trimming the edges of late summer
Pruning the few overgrown branches
Of frenzy afternoons, like an artful hairstylist
Eager to enhance her patron’s charisma

Next year, when the season returns
It will grow greener, with stronger boughs
More tender buds, like the lilac tree
Trembling with muted laughter
In the front yard of my mind  

Chan: Self-Rebuilding

Let the seed of fire grow,  rising
Above your inner horizon
Like the most glaring summer sun 

Let the ball burn brilliantly
Burning out every cell within your body
And shooting its light through your skin

Then, let the light from heaven fall
Filling in each blank within your shape
Until all the light starts melting together

To stuff your entire selfhood
Chan: Self-Renovating 

In the heart of every selfhood
Is there a tiny seed of antiself
That keeps growing unnoticeably
Until it is big, big enough
To become one and the same
With your entire being inside out
Like a drop of condensed color
Dyeing all the water
In a diaphanous jug

Each time an antiself gains a growth  
Your previous selfhood gets thinner
Lighter, larger, yet more colorful
Like yin seeking to become
Totally mixed up with yang
In an ever renewed balance

Therapeutic Chan-Poems (1): Mind-Clearing Mudra

Stand straight
Stand still
Eye to eye
To a pipal or oak tree
Communicate with it
In the mother tongue of love
And imagine
Opening every door and window of your heart
Irrigating every cell of your liver with dewdrops
Bringing your vision from the horizon afar
Slowly and progressively
Back to your inner being
Above a lotus flower
Pure, fresh, crystal

Therapeutic Chan-Poems (2): Dewdrop Mudra

On the open stage of her mind
She finds herself standing alone
High above a crystal lotus flower
Where she bends down gracefully
To collect a dewdrop
From its most tender petal
Like a drop of elixir from heaven
Which she can use
To soothe, to purify
Every part of her body
Every corner of her heart
Only if she likes

Therapeutic Chan-Poems (3): Flower-Picking Mudra

With all your tenderness
Bend down gradually
And reach out your left arm
To pick up your favorite flower
From the inner garden
Behind the fence of your thought
And bring up the flower
Close up to your face
Where you can see its bold brilliance
Melting into a pool of fragrance
Where you and the flower
Become one and the same 

Therapeutic Chan-Poems (4): Infinity Mudra

Stretching my hands
Along the horizon
And beyond all boundaries
I try to hold the entire universe
In my two arms
Slowly rising
Like the ocean
And gather all the energy
The spirit
The light
And the inspirations
From the very infinite

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