My favourite Tang Dynasty poet of China is Wangwei 王维 (699-759 C.E.), who was a devout Buddhist and conscientious court official. In his later life, having seen through the intrigues and hypocrisy of civic political life, he retreated into the mountains to meditate and live in simplicity and poetic artistry. This is a sentiment I understand only too well.
His poems evince a transcendent serenity yet heartfelt emotion that resonates with me. I am still trying to track down a longer poem by Wangwei which title I have forgotten but which content remains fresh in my mind. But here is a short poem that speaks the sound of silence and music of Zen. Sparse yet descriptive, the flavour of Zen-like unity of action and nature shines through.
竹 里 館
獨 坐 幽 篁 裡
彈 琴 復 長 嘯
深 林 人 不 知
明 月 來 相 照
dú zuò yōu huánglǐ
tán qín fù cháng xiào
shēn lín rén bù zhī
míngyuè lái xiāng zhào
Sitting alone, in the hush of the bamboo
I strum my zither, and whistle a tune
Deep in the woods, no one can hear
Still, the bright moon comes to shine on me
When Wangwei is your companion in a Zen tea session, I imagine it will be a time of unadorned honesty and open conversation. Wait, the tea is still too hot. Let us wait a while in quiet repose and saunter through the rustling leaves on a fresh autumn wind.