Gazing at the White Rocks of West Mountain
Peak upon peak.
The sun casts its evening glow,
A patch here, a brighter patch there.
Is it midsummer snow?
Or foams from the Yellow River torrent?
Or petals of flowers tossed down by fairy maids?
In a twinkling,
The Laozi Furrow turns white,
The Flip-flop Eagle turns white,
The Sacred Mountain Altar turns white,
--White and purified;
Purified those mythical tales of yore,
Purified the hearts and souls of mountain gazers.
That ancient pine and the Jade Spring
Fade into one another in the haze.
Under the Carefree Tree,
The immortal is breathing his embryonic breathe,
And sleeping his everlasting sleep.
Wànɡ Xīshān Báishí
Shì zhònɡxià xǐjiànɡ ruìxuě?
Shì huánɡhé yǒnɡqǐ jùlán?
Shì xiānnǚ sāxià huābàn?
Báile lǎojūn lí ɡōu,
Báile fānshēn yàozǐ,
Báile bài shènɡ xiāntán.
Báile jǐ duō shénhuà-ɡùshì,
Báile wànɡ shíbǎn rén de xīnkǎn.
Tāi xī lǎoxiān,
From May 21 through June 11, 1999, Charles Wu led a 24-member Taoist tour to China. "We visiting seven mountains, ten cities, and numerous temples, mostly Taoist, some Buddhist, and one Confucian. Throughout the tour we were accompanied by outstanding Taoist scholar, Professor Zhan Shichuang of Xiamen University, who shared with us his great wisdom as well as rich knowledge about the philosophy, history, and practice of China's native-born religion. I had the privilege of being his interpreter, and the two of us developed a great friendship emanating from a common qi field. On several occasions, after visiting an inspiring site, Professor Zhan's poetic creativity would be set ablaze and once back on the bus he would start composing a poem, which I would immediately or subsequently translate and read to the group."
West Mountain is Hua Shan 華 山 or Mt. Hua in Shaanxi Province. It is one of the five sacred mountains of China to which even the emperor would pay homage. The other four are: Tai Shan 泰 山 or Mt. Tai in Shandong Province to the east, Heng Shan 衡 山 or Mt. Heng in Hunan Province to the south, Heng Shan 恒 山 or Mt. Heng in Shanxi Province to the north, and Song Shan 嵩 山 or Mt. Song in Henan Province at the center. Hua Shan is known, among other things, for its white rocks and steep climbs. The extraordinary shapes of the rock formations have earned themselves imaginative names such as Furrow Ploughed by Laozi, Eagle Turning a Somersault, and Sacred Mountain Altar. At the foot of Hua Shan is a temple in honor of the Taoist sage Chen Tuan (?-989), who practiced beside the Jade Spring and beneath the Carefree Tree a breathing technique known as embryonic breathing, which gave him long, restful sleep and a near immortal life.