Friday, June 10, 2011

Experience Chan: Experience Zen - Master Hsu Yun (Xu Yun)

One of my favorite spots on the net to drop by is Don Stabler's "Bamboo and Plum Blossom" blog.  Don recently posted three excellent stanzas of a poem by Master Hsu Yun one might call "Experience Chan."   Chan being referred to is the Chinese word for the discipline that is known in Japanese, and now the West, as Zen.

The three posted stanzas so intrigued me, that I went off in search info on Hsu Yun (Xu Yun), only to discover there were another 9 more stanzas

1. Experience Chan! It’s not mysterious.
As I see it, it boils down to cause and effect.
Outside the mind there is no Dharma
So how can anybody speak of a heaven beyond?

2. Experience Chan! It’s not a field of learning.
Learning adds things that can be researched and discussed.
The feel of impressions can’t be communicated.
Enlightenment is the only medium of transmission.

3. Experience Chan! It’s not a lot of questions.
Too many questions is the Chan disease.
The best way is just to observe the noise of the world.
The answer to your questions?  Ask your own heart.

4. Experience Chan! It’s not the teachings of disciples.
Such speakers are guests from outside the gate.
The Chan which you are hankering to speak about
Only talks about turtles turning into fish.

5. Experience Chan! It can’t be described.
When you describe it you miss the point.
When you discover that your proofs are without substance
You’ll realize that words are nothing but dust.

6. Experience Chan! It’s experiencing your own nature!
Going with the flow everywhere and always.
When you don’t fake it and waste time trying to rub and polish it,
Your Original Self will always shine through brighter than bright.

7. Experience Chan! It’s like harvesting treasures.
But donate them to others.You won’t need them.
Suddenly everything will appear before you,
Altogether complete and altogether done.

8. Experience Chan! Become a follower who when accepted
Learns how to give up his life and his death.
Grasping this carefully he comes to see clearly.
And then he laughs till he topples the Cold Mountain ascetics.

9. Experience Chan! It’ll require great skepticism;
But great skepticism blocks those detours on the road.
Jump off the lofty peaks of mystery.
Turn your heaven and earth inside out.

10. Experience Chan! Ignore that superstitious nonsense
That makes some claim that they’ve attained Chan.
Foolish beliefs are those of the not-yet-awakened.
And they’re the ones who most need the experience of Chan!

11. Experience Chan! There’s neither distance nor intimacy.
Observation is like a family treasure.
Whether with eyes, ears, body, nose, or tongue -
It’s hard to say which is the most amazing to use.

12. Experience Chan! There’s no class distinction.
The one who bows and the one who is bowed to are a Buddha unit.
The yoke and its lash are tied to each other.
Isn’t this our first principle… the one we should most observe?
Master Hsu Yun

If you head on over to "Bamboo and Plum Blossom" and discover you like Don's approach, don't hesitate to check out he's other fine blog "peace pulse path and prevail," an eclectic collection of brief incisive quotations.


This week's feature poem comes from Lilliput Review, #159.  As always, John Martone nails it perfectly.  Enjoy.

  gold now
  in his

John Martone

the preacher's
hand gestures too...
summer trees
translated by David G. Lanoue


Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature.  Here's how.

Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 105 songs


Anonymous said...

this one

hits me



into that "Third Eye"

((thanks for the link to Don Stabler's blogs

(&, he includes/embraces Irv Layton .... to0 ))


Charles Gramlich said...

not quite a poem in some ways. More instructions, I think. Interesting.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Kokkie-san. Glad to reconnect to Don ... and Don.

And Kokkie-san.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Absolutely, Charles - hence the numbering, I'd say.

It is so lucid an expression of the Chan/Zen sensibility that sometimes seems so indecipherable that I couldn't resist posting it.

Theresa Williams said...

Beautiful post, Don, especially the way the Martone and Issa pieces finish it off. It all goes together so well. Love #3 in Experience Chan. So, so true.

Theresa Williams said...

PS: I've never run across that Issa piece that I can recall. Where did you get it?

Theresa Williams said...

Oh, I bet you got it from the Lanoue site: thanks for linking to that site. It's great!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Very glad you liked the Hsu Yun ... fine work, indeed. And yes the Lanoue translation is unique.

John Martone, as always, amazes me.