Poems of Meng Jiao
Remembering Exam Graduate Zhou, the pure monk, when I heard of everyone's getting a position
East and west, I have feelings for both
That are sure to give me peaceful dreams.
Wild wanderer, writing clouds on his heart.
Eminent monk, nature like the moon.
In transcience, too proud of his idleness.
Full moon, always empty and pure.
Clothes shabby, true to the ancient way.
Living in the hills without vulgarity.
Hear him chant, voice like dark clouds.
His hand grasps the power of green pines.
In admiration, I want to send him this poem.
Flying bird, mysterious, difficult beauty.
This poem is perhaps a bit late in its placement in the scrolls. It sounds to me as if it were from Meng Jiao's trying-to-pass-exams phase. And it's hard to tell if Monk Zhou went for a position or went back to the hills. As Buddhist monasteries were shut down, there must have been educated monks who decided to try the political exam route, if for no other reason than to make a living. And like the graduates of any school, there must have been some who said, "The hell with this," and went off to do something else.