A Poem to Awaken the World
by Master Han Shan (date: Ming Dynasty)
In this world of boundless troubles and cares, It is advisable to be patient and gentle. Live according to circumstances wherever you may be, And do your part till the end of your life.
Never ignore your conscience, Nor disclose others’ faults.
Exercise prudence in social intercourse and you will have nothing to regret;
Practice patience at work and you will find no problem too difficult to solve. The string of a strong bow is always the first to break; The edge of a sharp knife is most likely to sustain damage.
Gossip brings misfortune; Cruelty incurs blame.
There is no need to argue over who is right, Nor is there need to dispute about who is better. The affairs of the world have always left much to be desired; How could the illusory body of yours last forever?
A little loss makes no matter; A minor concession does no harm.
No sooner have you seen green willows under the spring sun Then you see yellow chrysanthemums in the autumn wind. Honor is no other than a midnight dream; Wealth is the same as the autumn frost. Birth, senility, illness and death cannot be shifted to others; The sweets and the bitters of life are all to be experienced by yourself. People like to boast of their cleverness at tricks, But Heaven takes its time in making the final decision. Flattery, crookedness, greed and wrath lead to hell; Fairness and integrity make a paradise. Musk deer die early because of their valuable musk; Silkworms perish untimely because of their rich silk. Take a dose of mental relaxation to soothe your stomach; Have a drink of good nature to neutralize your temper. You will get nowhere with all your scheming while alive; You will have nothing left in your hands after death. The sorrows of partings and the joys of unions are daily occurrences;
Life, death, success and failure are everyday concerns.
Strive not to outdo others, For life is but a drama.
When the curtain falls suddenly and all is silent, Where do you go from here?