The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan

The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan

by Meng Hao-Jan, David Hinton

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The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan by Meng Hao-Jan

The first full flowering of Chinese poetry occurred in the illustrious T’ang Dynasty, and at the beginning of this renaissance stands Meng Hao-jan (689-740 c.e.), esteemed elder to a long line of China’s greatest poets. Deeply influenced by Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism, Meng was the first to make poetry from the Ch’an insight that deep understanding lies beyond words. The result was a strikingly distilled language that opened new inner depths, non-verbal insights, and outright enigma. This made Meng Hao-jan China’s first master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify ancient Chinese poetry. And as a lifelong intimacy with mountains dominates Meng’s work, such innovative poetics made him a preeminent figure in the wilderness (literally rivers-and-mountains) tradition, and that tradition is the very heart of Chinese poetry.
This is the first English translation devoted to the work of Meng Hao-jan. Meng’s poetic descendents revered the wisdom he cultivated as a mountain recluse, and now we too can witness the sagacity they considered almost indistinguishable from that of rivers and mountains themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935744092
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Publication date: 08/01/2012
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 81
File size: 290 KB

About the Author

Meng Hao-jan (689-740 C.E.) is generally considered to be one of China’s most important poets, but before now, there has never been an edition of his work in English. Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism was coming to maturity and becoming widely practiced among the intelligentsia of China. Ch’an not only clarified the spiritual ecology of early Taoist thought, it also emphasized the old Taoist idea that deep understanding lies beyond words. In poetry, this gave rise to a much more distilled language, especially in its concise imagism, which opened new inner depths, non-verbal insights, and outright enigma. It was in the work of Meng Hao-jan that this poetic revolution began, a revolution that marked the beginning of Chinese poetry’s first great flowering. He opened the poetic ground that would be cultivated so productively by the great poets that followed, and he was revered by those poets as their esteemed elder, first master of the short imagistic landscape poem.
Translator: David Hinton’s many translations of ancient Chinese poetry have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary poetry. He is also the first translator in more than a century to translate the four original masterworks of Chinese philosophy: Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, Analects, Mencius. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997 he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Read an Excerpt

Autumn Begins

Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen,
and little by little, clear winds turn colder and colder,

summer’s blaze giving way. My thatch hut grows still.
At the bottom stair, in bunchgrass, lit dew shimmers.

Gathering Firewood

Gathering firewood I enter mountain depths,
mountain depths rising creek beyond creek

choked with the timbers of bridges in ruins.
Vines tumble low, tangled over cragged paths,

and at dusk, scarce people grow scarcer still.
Mountain wind sweeping through simple robes,

my chant steady, I shoulder a light bundle,
watch smoke drift across open country home.

Table of Contents

Autumn Begins3
Gathering Firewood4
Listening to Cheng Yin Play His Ch'in5
Adrift on North Creek6
Climbing Long-View Mountain's Highest Peak7
Looking for the Recluse Chang Tzu-jung at White-Crane Cliff8
Adrift on a Summer's Day, I Visit the Hermitage of Recluse T'eng9
Inscribed on a Wall at Li's Farm, for Ch'i-wu Ch'ien10
On Reaching the Ju River Dikes, Sent to My Friend Lu11
On Reaching the Han River12
Roaming up to Master Jung's Hermitage ...13
Visiting the Hermitage of Ch'an Monk Jung14
Returning to My Garden at Night after Looking for Chang Wu15
On the Tower at Uphold All-Gathering Monastery16
In Lo-yang, Stopping by to Visit Yuan Kuan without Finding Him17
Looking for T'eng's Old Recluse Home18
Traveling to Yueh, I Linger Out Farewell with Chang and Shen19
7/7 in a Strange Village20
Anchoring Overnight at Ox Island ...21
Down the Kan River Rapids22
9/9 at Dragon-Sands, Sent to Liu23
Stopping Overnight at Date-Brights Inn24
Autumn Night, Setting Moon25
Looking for Mei, Sage Master of Way26
Early Plums27
At Lumen-Empty Monastery, Visiting Dharma-Guile ...28
Encountering Snow on the Road to Ch'ang-an29
Overnight at Kingfisher-Hue Monastery ...30
Outside the Capital, Farewell to Acrid-Expanse31
Lingering Out Farewell with Wang Wei32
Year's-End, On Returning to Southern Mountains33
Sent to Ch'ao, the Palace Reviser34
A Farewell for Tu Huang35
Spending the Night at Abbot Yeh's Mountain Home, ...36
At Lumen-Empty Monastery, Visiting the Hermitage of ...37
After Chang Yuan's Clear Mirror Lament38
At the Pavilion on Grand-View Mountain, ...39
Adrift at Wu-ling40
Anchored off Hsun-yang in Evening Light, ...41
Anchored Overnight on Thatch-Hut River ...42
Waiting Out Rain at East Slope, ...43
Courtyard Oranges44
Overnight at Cypress-Peak Monastery ...45
Adrift on What-If River46
The Ch'an Depths of a Monk at Royal-Patriarch Monastery47
Heading West up the Che River, ...48
Overnight on Abiding-Integrity River49
Up Early at Fish-Creek Lake50
New Year's Eve at Chang Tzu-jung's House in Lo-ch'eng51
Anchored Overnight near the City Wall at Hsuan-ch'eng52
Upriver to Wu-ch'ang53
Below South Mountain, Inviting a Sage Gardener to Plant Melons54
Climbing Deer-Gate Mountain, Thoughts of Ancient Times55
Returning Home to Deer-Gate Mountain at Night56
After Visiting Thought-Essence Monastery, I Return ...57
Looking for the Master at Chrysanthemum Pond ...58
Climbing Grand-View Mountain with Friends59
On Peak-Light Tower with Prime Minister Chang Chiu-ling60
Out on the Road, Skies Clearing61
At Tung-t'ing Lake, Sent to Yen Fang62
On Returning to My Mountains, for the Ch'an Abbot Clarity-Deep63
On a Journey to Thought-Essence Monastery, ...65
Wandering the West Ridge at Phoenix-Grove Monastery66
Searching Incense Mountain for the Monk Clarity-Deep67
Spring Dawn68
Finding List78
Further Reading81

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The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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