Wu Keng Chuan

("The Five Ranks")
by Tung-Shan Liang-Chieh,
d.869 C.E.

Phenomena Within the Real

At the beginning of the night's third watch,
before there is moonlight,
Do not be surprised to meet yet not recognize
What is surely a familiar face from the past.

The Real Within Phenomena

An old crone, having just awakened,
comes upon an ancient mirror;
That which is clearly reflected in front of her face
is none other than her own likeness.
Do not lose sight of your face again
and go chasing after your shadow.

Coming From Within the Real

Amidst nothingness
there is a road far from the dust.
If you are simply able to avoid the ruling monarch's personal name,
Then you will surpass the eloquence
of previous dynasties.

Going Within Together

Two crossed swords, neither permitting retreat:
Dexterously wielded, like a lotus amidst fire.
Similarly, there is a natural determination
to ascend the heavens.

Arriving Within Together

Falling into neither existence nor nonexistence,
who dares harmonize?
People fully desire to exit the constant flux;
But after bending and fitting,
in the end still return to sit
in the warmth
of the coals.

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Copyright © 1996 John Muju Bannon
Most recent revision Friday, February 9, 1996