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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Infinity in Nothing 無一物中無盡藏



Infinity in Nothing 無一物中無盡藏...

an iconic quote from classical Chinese poet Su Shi.

Both an individual and nature can be constantly changeable or immortal.

Everything has its own owner, so one should not take what does not belong to him/her, except those eternal treasures of the creator like the moon or wind which everyone can enjoy.



Su Shi (simplified Chinese: 苏轼; traditional Chinese: 蘇軾; pinyin: Sū Shì; 8 January 1037 – 24 August 1101), courtesy name Zizhan (Chinese: 子瞻), art nameDongpo (Chinese: 東坡), was a Chinese calligrapher, essayist, gastronomer, pharmacologist, poet, politician, and travel writer during the Song dynasty. A major personality of the Song era, at times holding high-level political positions, Su Shi was also an important figure in Song Dynasty politics, aligning himself with Sima Guang and others, against the New Policy party led by Wang Anshi, gaining some level of popular support through his actions, and also sometimes experiencing politically motivated reversals to his government career. Su Shi is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished figures in classical Chinese literature, having produced some of the most well-known poems, lyrics, prose, and essays. Su Shi was famed as an essayist, and his prose writings lucidly contribute to the understanding of topics such as 11th-century Chinese travel literature or detailed information on the contemporary Chinese iron industry. His poetry has a long history of popularity and influence in China, Japan, and other areas in the near vicinity and is well known in the English-speaking parts of the world through the translations by Arthur Waley, among others. He also wrote poems on Buddhist topics, including a poem later extensively commented on by Eihei Dōgen, the founder of the Japanese Sōtō school of Zen, in a chapter of his work Shōbōgenzō entitled The Sounds of Valley Streams, the Forms of Mountains.


We are back at one of our favourite temples on a rainy day. My geisha friends and I enjoy visiting temples on rainy days because they tend to be very quiet and we can have some private moments to ourselves. This season, they changed the calligraphy in the room, with quotes from Su Shi.





Popular Geiko Tomitae showing the young maiko TomiEri some dance moves.

Watching their dance moves and listening to the sounds of the rain falling onto the leaves outside and admiring the calligraphy on the wall - pure Zen...






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