Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Han Shan

(Cold Mountain)

c. 730-850 CE

Claimed by Buddhists as a Buddhist, by Taoists as a Taoist; Han Shan poked fun at both and living beyond any narrow categories like these, through his poems communicated a universal wisdom and truth. Not attached or attracted to honor and gain, he laughed at offered high positions and wealth. The favorite poet of everyone from Wang Anshi (1021-1086), one of China’s most famous prime ministers to Jack Kerouac who in 1958 dedicated his book Dharma Bums to him, Han Shan’s poems express complete spontaneity, total indifference to praise and blame, and continual realization of pure consciousness in the simple, ordinary details of life.



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Quotes by Han Shan (12 quotes)

“In the village of nothingness
Gnarled trees prosper
Useless, nothing will harm them.”


Chapters: 1. The Unnamed

Themes: Simplicity

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“A greedy man who piles up wealth
is like an owl who loves her chicks
the chicks grow up and eat their mother.
Wealth eventually swallows its owner.
Spread it around and blessings grow.”

Chapters: 75. Greed

Themes: Greed Wealth

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“a racrhorse used to catch a rat
will never match a crippled cat.”

Chapters: 61. Lying Low

Themes: Less is More

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“An old lady who lives to the east got rich a few years ago. Before poorer than me,now she mocks my poverty. She laughs that I’m behind, I laugh that she’s ahead. It seems we can’t stop laughing from the east and from the west.”

Chapters: 42. Children of the Way

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“day in working for food and clothes
year out worrying about rent and taxes
thousands fight for a coin
the crowd yells ‘run for your life’”

Chapters: 72. Helpful Fear

Themes: Livelihood

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“Gone and a million things leave no trace.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Themes: No Trace

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“Loosed, and it flows through the galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind –
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me.”

Chapters: 25. The Mother of All Things
11. Appreciating Emptiness

Themes: Emptiness

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“No direction is better or worse, East just as good as West. Those who know the meaning of this are free to go where they want.”

Chapters: 34. An Unmoored Boat

Themes: Travel

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“Now I know the pearl of the Buddha-nature, know its use: a boundless perfect sphere”

Chapters: 45. Complete Perfection

Themes: Enlightenment

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“Old and sick final years over a hundred
Face brown head white content with mountain life
Cloth robe pulled tight I accept my karma
Why would I envy the clever ways of others?”

Chapters: 55. Forever Young

Themes: Karma

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“wealth eventually swallows its owner
spread it around and blessings grow
hoard it and disaster arises
no wealth no disaster
flap your wings in the blue”

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

Themes: Wealth

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“Who can leap the world's ties and sit with me among the white clouds?”

Themes: Carpe diem

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Quotes about Han Shan (0 quotes)

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