Shih T’ou




On this rock ledge directly above South Peak Temple, Shih T’ou built
his meditation hut, as described in the “Grass Shack Song”. It sits on
a ledge about 30 meters long,

has a flat surface, and directly overlooks the northeastern side of
the temple.

Shih T’ou thus became known as Shitou Heshang, the “Stone Monk.”

South Mountain has been known traditionally as one of the Five Holy
Buddhist Mountains of China. According to one legend, Bodhidharma stopped
at South Mountain for a visit on his way from India.

 

Shih T’ou

(Shitou Xiqian, Shih-t’ou Hsi-ch’ien, Shitou
Heshang)

(Kao Yao, Gao Yao, Sekito Kisen)

( 700 – 790 )

Song of the Grass Shack

I’ve built a grass shack with nothing of value inside.

After a good meal, I like to take a nice nap.

The grass thatching still looks new;

When it wears out, I’ll add fresh thatch to the roof.

The person inside the shack is always present,

But you won’t find him inside or out.

He doesn’t hang out with worldly people,

And he doesn’t like the things they like.

This little shack contains the entire universe,

And my physical body is integrated with it.

Great Bodhisattvas don’t doubt my ideas,

Although humans may think them strange.

If you say that my hut looks shabby, I’ll answer

That the One Mind abides right where it is.

East or west, north or south,

A solid foundation is what counts.

With green pines hanging over the roof

And bright windows in the walls, not even a royal palace
can compare with my shack.


With a monk’s robe over my shoulders

And a hood over my head, I’ve got no worries at all.

It’s not that I praise myself for living here,

Like some merchant pushing his product.

It’s just that when the twilight comes,

My mind is limitless from front to back.

——————————————————-

Most content on this page comes courtesy

James Mitchell’s excellent site:

Soto
Zen Ancestors in China



Ven. Shi Bao Tan, Abbot of Nan Tai Si, South Peak Temple, Nanyue, Hunan
Province, 1991. The sign at the temple gate announces that one is entering
a “Cao-Dong Ancestors” temple. South Peak Temple itself was reportedly
founded in the late 6th or early 7th-century. In modern times, the temple
was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt in 1981-82, with
support from Soto Zenshu in Japan. In 1991, it housed a small sangha of
about 80 monks and nuns. The Jian Xiang pagoda, erected as a memorial tower
after Shitou’s death, was in 1991 a pile of rubble, overgrown by bushes
and thorns. It lies about half a kilometer down the side of the mountain
from South Peak Temple, just inside a Chinese military reservation, used
in recent decades as a missile base. Shitou’s body was mummified in black
lacquer. Much damaged by fire, it was brought to Japan during the time
of the Chinese Revolution (1911), and it may be viewed today at the Soto
zen temple of Soji-ji in Yokohama. (For further information concerning
Shitou’s remains, see Bernard Faure, The Rhetoric of Immediacy: A Cultural
Critique of Zen, pp. 167-168, with illustration.)

bibliographies:

Soto Zen
Ancestors in China bibliography

(from the above bibliography)

in the book store databases:

The Awakening of Faith

attributed to Asvaghosha

Translated by Yoshito S. Hakeda

Paperback / Published 1974

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

Zen Buddhism: A History

Vol. 1., India and China

by Heinrich Dumoulin

Paperback / Published 1994

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras:

Selections from the Maharatnakuta Sutra

Garma C.C. Chang(Editor) /

Hardcover / Published 1983

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

Entry into the Inconceivable:

An Introduction to Hua-Yen Buddhism

Thomas Cleary / Paperback / Published 1995

information and order from:

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and noble

The Flower Ornament Scripture:

A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra:

Thomas Cleary (Translator)

Hardcover / Published 1993

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

Transmission of Light:

Zen in the Art of Enlightenment

Zen Master Keizan, Thomas Cleary

Paperback / Published 1990

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

Buddhism in China:

A Historical Survey

Kenneth Chen, et al

Paperback / Published 1974

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

Hua-Yen:

The Jewel Net of Indra

by Francis H. Cook

Paperback / March 1977

information and order from:

amazon.com
| * | barnes
and noble

The Record of Tung-Shan

(Classics in East Asian Buddhism)

by William Powell (Translator)

Paperback / July 1986

information and order from:

amazon.com
| * | barnes
and noble

The Encyclopedia of Religion

Mircea Eliade, editor-in-chief

Hardcover / Published 1993

information and order from:

amazon.com
| * | barnes
and noble

The Rhetoric of Immediacy:

A Cultural Critique of Zen.

by Bernard Faure

Paperback / Published 1995

information and order from:

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and noble

Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism

by Peter N. Gregory

Hardcover / September 1991

information and order from:

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and noble

Cultivating the Empty Field:

The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi

Zen Master Hongzhi, Taigen Daniel Leighton (Translator)

Paperback / Published 1991

information and order from:

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and noble

Cultivating the Empty Field:

The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi

Zen Master Hongzhi, Taigen Daniel Leighton (Translator)

Hardcover / Published 1991

information and order from:

amazon.com
| * | barnes
and noble

The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch

Hui-Neng Liu-Tsu-ta

Philip B. Yampolsky (Translator)

Paperback / 6th ed. /June 1978

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

The Record of Transmitting the Light:

Zen Master Keizan’s Denkoroku

by Francis H. Cook

Paperback / February 1991

information and order from:

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and noble

Buddha Nature

(Suny Series in Buddhist Studies)

by Sallie B. King

Hardcover / October 1990

information and order from:

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and noble

Early Ch’an in China and Tibet

by R. Lewis Lancaster

and Whalen Lai, eds.

information and order from:

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The Recorded Sayings of Ma-tsu

(Studies in Asian Thought and Religion, Vol 6)

by Ma-Tsu, Julian F. Pas

Hardcover / August 1987

information and order from:

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and noble

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

by Red Pine (Translator)

Paperback / December 1989

information and order from:

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and noble

The World of Thought in Ancient China

Benjamin Isadore Schwartz

Paperback / Published 1989

information and order from:

amazon.com
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and noble

The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti:

A Mahayana Scripture

Vimalakirtinirdesa

Robert A. Thurman (Translator)

Paperback / Published 1987

information and order from:

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and noble

The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti:

A Mahayana Scripture

Vimalakirtinirdesa

Robert A. Thurman (Translator)

Hardcover / Published 1991

information and order from:

amazon.com
| * | barnes
and noble

Book of Serenity:

One Hundred Zen Dialogues

Hsing-Hsiu, Thomas Cleary (Translator)

Hardcover / Published 1998

information and order from:

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Buddhism under the T’ang

(Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions)

by Stanley Weinstein

information and order from:

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Original Teachings of Ch’an Buddhism;

Selected from the Transmission of the Lamp

Chang Chung-Yuan (Compiler)

Paperback / Published 1995

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