Zhongnan Mountain Retreatby Wang Wei (701-761)

In middle age I am rather fond of the Dao, Recently I set up my home at the foot of the Zhongnan mountain. In the mood, I would go to the mountain alone, Splendid things, only I know. Walk to where the water ends; Sit and watch when clouds rise. I meet by chance an old man of the forest; We chat and laugh without a time to return.


Translation from Jingqing Yang's book The Chan Interpretations of Wang Wei's Poetry: A Critical Review.

The implications in Yang's book is that, “having reached the end of the water, other people may lose interest and return, or feel disappointed, but Wang Wei did not. The water ended so he sat down and watched the clouds. His mental peacefulness was not disturbed because the water had ended. He did not care about anything other than following his destiny and accommodating himself to the circumstances.”

cloudI came upon this poem after discovering this piece of calligraphy brushed by Shodo Harada Roshi.  Supposedly, it was titled "Walk to the place where the water ends," but I cannot find any information to corroborate this.  Regardless, the title intrigued me.  When I searched farther I came upon Wang Wei's poem.  His poem struck me and brought me a sense of ease as I thought of watching the clouds.  This poem reminded me of the clouds I saw one day as I looked out my mother's hospital window.

Life is tenuous.  We should do our best to savor every moment and follow our hearts and dream.