The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse

Stonehouse, Bill Porter (Red Pine), trans.

The Zen master and mountain hermit Stonehouse—considered one of the greatest Chinese Buddhist poets—used poetry as his medium of instruction. Near the end of his life, monks asked him to record what he found of interest on his mountain, and Stonehouse delivered to them hundreds of poems and an admonition:  “Do not to try singing these poems. Only if you sit on them will they do you any good.” Newly revised, with the Chinese originals and Red Pine’s abundant commentary and notes, The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse is an essential volume for Zen students, readers of Asian literature, and all who love the outdoors.

ISBN: 9781556594557

Format: Paperback


Parched wheat and pine pollen make a fine meal

vine flowers and salted bamboo make a tasty dish

when I’m exhausted I think of nothing else

let others become buddhas or immortals

About the Author

Stonehouse was born in 1272 in the town of Changshu, not far from where the Yangtze empties into the East China Sea. Nothing is known about his family or his early life, other than his father’s surname was Wen and his mother’s surname was Liu and that he received a traditional Confucian education. No one knows when he started using the name Stonehouse or why. He probably picked up the name while he was still studying to become an official. …

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About the Translator

Bill Porter assumes the pen name Red Pine for his translation work. He was born in Los Angeles in 1943, grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, served a tour of duty in the US Army, graduated from the University of California with a degree in anthropology, and attended graduate school at Columbia University. Uninspired by the prospect of an academic career, he dropped out of Columbia and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. After four years with the monks …

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The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse [is] a tough-spirited book of enlightened free verse.” —Kyoto Journal

“Red Pine introduces Western readers to both the text itself and the traditions it has inherited.” —Virginia Quarterly Review

“Red Pine’s succinct and informative notes for each poem are core samples of the cultural, political, and literary history of China.” —Asian Reporter