The well-known in the West term Zen was empty right from the start -- miss even one of its three letters and the whole notion goes wrong. Looking inward yourself or outward, all the same, you see there is no fixed Self -- the centripetal emotion turns into the centrifugal and conversely. So, break into the purgatory of your soul through the front gate if you want to take your proper place in Hell.Today, more and more people want to know what Zen is. The problem is that it is not an easy task to describe it, as Zen is beyond wording. It is something that cannot be talked about nor expressed in written form. The moment language is used we are no longer dealing with the spirit of Zen. However, Zen cannot be left unexpressed. In order to introduce the reader to the world of Zen, there is no alternative but to resort to the use of language; and that language is poetry. That's why there are so many poems written by the numerous adepts of Zen.On the other hand, if Zen could be presented to another, men would all present it to their superiors; if it could be served up to others, men would all serve it up to their parents; if it could be told to others, men would all tell it to their brothers; if it could be given to others, men would all give it to their sons and grandsons. The reason why it cannot be transmitted is no other but this: that 'if,' within, there be not the presiding principle, it will not remain there, and if, outwardly, there be not the correct obedience, it will not be carried out. When that which is given out from the mind in possession of it is not received by the mind without, the sagely minded man will not give it out; and when, entering in from without, there is no power in the receiving mind to entertain it, the sagely minded man will not permit it to lie hidden there. The point here is that the ordinary intellect is unable to function on this frequency of interpretation, and in its unenlightened or unevolved state, views the Buddha’s logic as gibberish, or ‘mystical’ inspired nonsense, when in fact, the Buddha’s logic has more in common with higher science (i.e. quantum theory), than it does with theistic religion or the imaginations of superstitious based thinking. Therefore, better known in the West as Zen, it is a Western art-based movement that serves as the antithesis to established norms and conventions. It is a vague sense of performing a function, skill or art in the secular form that is devoid of strenuous effort, or somehow new or unexpected. In fact, Zen is not the experience, nor the realm, less still any heretical forms of Buddhist practice that ignores Buddhist conventions. Zen is just Zen, and that's it.
Li Bai's poems have been spread out thru the ages; even today they are highly praiseworthy. But only some know about his style of fencing called Li Bai's Drunken Sword. In terms of his famous works, the reader will discover how the poet's swordplay and wine drinking under the moon affected his poetic legacy. The author's 60 newest moonlit verses are also exposed herein for immediate contemplation.These collected poems has been inspired by the works that the Tang-period poet Li Bai (701-762 CE) left after him as a great cultural heritage, and of whom I will have more to say on the pages below. It was with him that this book began; without him, none of what follows after the short essay would have been written.Fortunately or not, but I am not alone in this regard, as there are so many famously known creative figures in the West who have also been inspired by the poetry of Li Bai who lived and created on the other side of the world around twelve hundred years ago, but whose influence in some inexplicable way continued to grow in China and abroad.The following three poems of Li Bai translated and represented herein as preface to my collection of verses are unfolded around the common subject of the Chinese literature -- the moon and its imagery. Together with the reader, we are going to unveil some unnoticed (if not to say 'misunderstood' or even 'wrong interpreted') moments of the poet's legendary life.It sounds obvious but, again, we learn more about the world literature by studying the evolution of poetry through the centuries; as a result, we find out more of the world's history, evoke our interest and understanding of the ancient writers and of humanity in general.Poetry analysis and its translation from the language like archaic Chinese, which is the foreign language for the contemporary Chinese as well, is not scientifically exact, it is somewhat subjective to how it affects the translator's academic knowledge and daily experience. Yet, I find it very difficult to put a lot of credit on those representatives of the Old School (most of them are the famously known scholars of academic elite) who do not try to dig deeper about the poets of antiquity, and to reveal their motivations and find out those who affected them.Everything Li Bai did was tuned to the passage of time and the joys of Nature with brilliance and great freshness of imagination. The subjects that he studied in his poetry were swordplay, friendship and solitude constructed around the everlasting image of the moon's disc reflected in the pool with its multiple tints and mythological riddles. His imagination and humorous characteristics of a freethinker are apparent in his poetry in full to be a powerful incentive for many others throughout the ages, and your humble author is not the exception.