thirteen centuries since Hsuan Tsang left for the west
muttering in sanskrit about books
buddha bhumi etc
ask him says someone
why he meditates
without warning the bonze unplugs
Daruma in a cave across the river
face to the blank wall nine years
I want to know he says
who does my deeds
the four interpreters
ransack their liberated minds
turns out they can't conceive
what this old man means
Source: Chinese Literature, No. 9, 1966, pp. 142-46.
[Original editor's note:] Aphorisms form an integral part of Chinese folk literature. The people compose them whenever they want to state a general truth derived from their own experience of life. The following is a selection of new aphorisms widely circulated among the men of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.