The Autobiography of Han Shan

There’s a very famous Chinese book entitled "The Autobiography of Han Shan." It dates from the 1500’s and you can find mnay free translations of it on the web. I used to have to buy these rare texts by searching through all sorts of bookstores but now it seems you can find nearly everything on the web nowadays.…/Han%20Shan/Autobiography/Han%20Shan%20Autobiography%20and%20Maxims.rtf

The autobiography features the story of the Zen monk Han Shan, and how he cultivated enlightenment via the method of listening to sound as well as other techniques. There are two famous Han Shan monks in Chinese history, but this refers to the one who wasn't the poet.

Because of his subsequent samadhi concentration, Han Shan could copy a sutra, recite a mantra, and carry on a conversation simultaneously — ALL at the same time (see his Thirty-third Year (1578-9)). 

Even when people came to try to break his conversation by disturbing him, we would make no error in his text copying or mantra recitation, and could do multiple things at once. Such is just one of the powers of samadhi concentration….it’s not limited to Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Hinduism or any other school. Whoever cultivates samadhi can do wondrous things like this. Samadhi means mental quiet or concentration that's one-pointed ... concentration that stops on a point.

Why this story on Han Shan?

It seems that you can also train your mind, in a mundane fashion, so that it can carry out multiple tasks at the same time.

This is very interesting — Harry Kahne: Multiple Mentality . Harry claims that you don’t need an extraordinary mind, just training.

Interesting….But the story of Han Shan has far more to offer in terms of describing many states of gong-fu. I've talked about him in Measuring Meditation where we analyze his gong-fu extensively. It's good readin and you can learn a lot from it.


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