Shih-te : Turn to yourself

Shih-te (9th c. CE) was a lay Buddhist monk and poet who worked most of his life in the kitchen of the Kuoching Temple. He was one of the “Tantai trio”, together with Feng-kan and Han-shan, known for their short, incisive poems. Several poems of Han-shan have been posted here, and for more about him, see this post. (Note that the poem is given without punctuation, as is the Chinese original.)

Drunk on delusion greed and anger
dazed and unaware
you turn money into a dream
a dream that becomes an iron jail
using one pain to get rid of another
you never get rid of pain
unless you learn before it’s too late
you learn to turn to yourself

Translated by Red Pine

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