25 April 2013


 ...Picking chrysanthemums
at my east fence, I see South Mountain

far off: air lovely at dusk, birds in flight
going home. All this means something

something absolute: whenever I start
to explain it, I forget words altogether.
-- from Drinking Wine by T'ao Ch'ien (365 – 427), who lived on Thatch-Hut mountain.

An etymological analysis of the pictograph for Thatch-Hut, writes David Hinton, reveals a simple roof at the top, a dish with a pedestal at the bottom, above it a kitchen vessel, and the symbol for something else:
And what dwells in this household [and within the pictograph representing it] shares the mountain's nature, for it too eludes our words and concepts. It's a tiger, which ancients revered for the spontaneous power of its movements, the clarity and immediacy of its mind. It's a tiger that lives in the everyday world of our human dwellings...

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