PZI Teacher Archives

Ceremonies: Long Readings for Afternoon: Song of the Grass Hut – Shitou Xiqian


Song of the Grass Hut —Shitou Xiqian I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing […]

Song of the Grass Hut

—Shitou Xiqian

I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value.
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.

When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
Now it’s been lived in, covered by weeds.

The person in the hut lives here calmly,
not stuck to inside, outside, or in-between.

Places worldly people live, he doesn’t live.
Realms worldly people love, she doesn’t love.

Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten feet square, an old person illumines forms and their nature.

A Mahayana bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
The middling or lowly can’t help wondering;

Will this hut perish or not?
Perishable or not, the original master is present,

Not dwelling south or north, east or west.
Firmly based on steadiness, it can’t be surpassed.

A shining window below the green pines-
jade palaces or vermilion towers can’t compare with it.

Just sitting with head covered all things are at rest.
Thus, this mountain monk doesn’t understand at all.

Living here, there is no more working to get free.
Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests?

Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
The vast inconceivable source can’t be faced or turned away from.

Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instructions,
bind grasses to build a hut, and don’t give up.

Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.

Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
are only to free you from obstructions.

If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
don’t think that you’re not in this skin bag, here and now.

(Version by John Tarrant and Rachel Boughton)