Four Levels of Speechlessness

Yutang Lin


Green islet floats on the ocean, lassie in heart;
Moonlight shines through the song filled with admiration.
Night is already deep, yet still remain speechless?

The answer that constitutes the last sentence, in the order of the four stories of Entrance, Exit, Use and Finish, is respectively as follows:

Mind, empty of worldliness, has merged into the infinite space.
Delighted to listen to the lovely melody but not committed.
Making no response to awaken the deluded.
Already sound asleep after washing off the makeup.


In my leisure I have been translating Yogi Chens work in Chinese, "Chan Hai Ta Deng" into English as "The Lighthouse in the Ocean of Chan," and the project has continued for over three years. This morning all of a sudden I got an inspiration to provide answers, according to the four stories indicated in that book, to the question posed at the end of a popular Chinese oldie called "Green Islet Serenade." Just as koans in Chan stories, these replies may be pondered upon!

Written in Chinese: September 26, 1998
Translated: August 22, 1999
El Cerrito, California

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