Home > Legends > Lin Hejing , On a Drifting Journey to Lingyin Temple

Lin Hejing , On a Drifting Journey to Lingyin Temple


but how could they rival the scenery in Hangzhou? The water and sky merged into the same color, and continuous mountains stretched along far. The distant chirp enlivened the autumn, and the nearby paddle-moving unleashed your mind. In Lingyin Temple, one could discuss Zen with illustrious monks and have the vegetarian meals for a day, savoring every mouthful. Besides one could either chant an antithetical couplets or a poem in Lengquan Pavilion, or feed the apes and howl out in Feilai Mount. Staying up until twilight, one could pick up the paddle and then return. On the way home, suddenly came the peals of the bell, which sounded like a voice from the fairyland, resounding and pure without any traces of the earthly world. Here was another poem produced by Hejing named Lingyin Temple:

The temple in mountains is cloaked in mist; in an instant the sky is full of gathering gloom.

The gate and the wind are playing a harmonious song, and it sounds like melodies streaming out from Yao Qin.

Looking around, the scene is moving. Listening carefully, the anxiety is gone.

Wandering aimlessly as usual, for this moment I readjust my collar.

A pool of Lengquan Spring, calm and clean, the water refreshes my soul.

The waving howls of white-haired ape coincidently go with my poem-chanting.


Shaijing Table and Liandan Well are still there, but some lives are not.

The evening glow reflects in water, where the crane is standing,

The dark cyan moss went along one’s footsteps sneakily.

The trees illuminate my tenderness; the twittering birds enliven my mood.

Benevolent and wise rule will bestow deep love on the nature.

The emperor, once carved an inscription on the stones of precipice,

and visited Tanlin Forest by carriage.

Looking back, only seamless mountains can be seen,

but my mind has drifted beyond those mountains, far, far away.


For poets, Lingyin Temple was a wonderful place to visit. Feilai Mount was in dynamic state while in deadly silence. The water from Lengquan Spring tasted mellow refreshing, and it could relieve anxiety. Chanted poems coincidently could be accompanied on the howls of those white-haired apes. Shaijing Table (where sutras were dried in the sun) and Liandan Well (where pills of immortality were made) still existed but the ancient people had gone. The inscription written by the emperor was still carved on the stones of precipice. Those words were still bathed in breeze; however, the emperor had already gone nowhere. Looking back, only rolling mountains queuing in lines came into one’s eyes, standing up to the sky. All the mountains stayed still, only the mind of the poet had drifted far away.

Although Hejing led a secluded life, he was still often disturbed by other people. Therefore he once had the intention of moving to another place, as the following poem indicated,


Not deep in mountains, fewer apes and birds,

The rest of life might be settled in another place.

Up to a brook above Tian Zhu, a single-log bridge between two sides,

By the bridge, a new cottage might give me more peace.


After all, it would not take much time to visit Gushan Mount from the downtown. A boat could take one there. As Hejing’s reputation grew, more and more admirers longed for a visit, which bothered Hejing’s life. Therefore Hejing once planned to move to another place. When he found a brook above Upper Tianzhu and a single-log bridge across it, he thought the new home might well be set by the bridge. However, this wonderful dream did not come true at last. Hejing thought that his repute would not allow him to be isolated from the outside world; even if he lived in the end of the heavens, people would find him out, let alone a place above the Upper Tianzhu. It merely meant taking more time and energy to reach the destination. If Hejing set his new home there and friends went to visit him, they could not make a round-trip in a day, so they had to stay overnight. Wouldn’t it be more annoying, would it? Then Hejing thought, “A real reclusive will settle down among the downtown. If friends want to visit, welcome! Why keep them away? So he chose to stay in Gushan Mount.

By the end of his life, Hejing wrote a poem to assert his philosophy of life:


A cottage, embraced by the mountains, faces the lake,

A grave, tall bamboos thinly scatter around.

Emperor Wu of Han once found an article of Sima Xiangru,

Fortunately, I will not leave any work like that.


Later, he came out to the garden, stroking a crane and said to it, “I will leave. If you would like to, you can go anywhere, no matter the very south or the very north.” Then he talked to the plum flower in the garden, “Over the past thirty years, you’ve given me too much peace and pleasure. From now on, you’d take care of yourselves, I will miss you.” Then Hejing passed away without any illness, at the age of 83.


View: 4710