Poems of Meng Jiao
Escorting Master Xiao to Radiance Mountain
Guarded by his lonely crane heart,
Great from years of high meditation,
Emerging apart from all appearances,
Perched high on Radiance Mountain.
Many seek to break through on these peaks
But enlightenment plunges down these streams.
Consecration is my food and drink.
Pure affections are my fields.
Peaceful words are not common speech but
Divine traces of when we walk in Heaven.
炼师 is "master of spiritual practices" and can mean either a Buddhist or a Daoist master of their respective practices. The master's name 萧 means "desolation." 绛雪 means "dark red snow." But 雪 can also mean to "wipe away wrong" and 绛 is the color of blood. Together these mean the deep effort to efface one's own wrongs and also give the image of bloody footprints on the snow. Hence, in order to fit in a short line of poetry, "consecration." 白云 are, on the surface, "white clouds" but they are also "pure affections." The crane (鹤) clearly has symbolic meanings, at least one of which is spiritual. But I still can't track it down in any dictionary.
But then, sinologists are curous creatures. Their interpretations of sexual relationships show a lack of practical experience (ref. Xue Tao's poem to Yuan Zhen and its interpretations). And their spiritual perceptions of Chinese are limited to dogmatic collations of late Buddhist ecclesiasticisms. So Western Chinese scholars inhabit a Limbo which is neither sensual nor spiritual. Where exactly does this leave them? Clue: Limbo is inhabited by unbaptised infants. For heaven's sake -- pick a baptism.