Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Shide [W-G: Shih-te / J: Jittoku]

                Shide was Hanshan’s companion and fellow poet. His name means “picked up.”  He had been an abandoned orphan, found in the forest by a monk who heard him crying.  The monk brought the infant back to the Guoqing temple, where, when he was older, he was given work doing general cleaning and maintenance.  Once, when he was told to clean the meditation hall, the monks found him seated companionably in front of the statue of the Buddha, helping himself to the fruit which had been left on the altar as an offering, as if sharing a snack with a friend.
                He became friends with Hanshan and would save leftovers which he set aside in a hidden place for him to pick up during his visits to the monastery.

[Shide – Zen Masters of China: 153-61]

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