Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
But, I live in the South and in the winter it is the sun that shines bright yet coldly.
As I watch the magnolia shadows play upon the porcelin of my bathtub and tiles,
it’s as if I can feel Silence stirring,
feel the pressure of a shadow.
My intellect whispers to me, “You can’t,”
even as my senses insist, “Oh!”
The argument is settled as I recall the words,
“the moon does not get wet, nor the water broken.”
Joan Relke, an artist in Australia, recently wrote to me about Lady Li of Shu (Sichuan). Lady Li is credited with creating the tradition of bamdoo brush painting by tracing on her paper window with a brush the shadows cast by the moon and bamboo.
Or, as described in the 17th century poem, Painting Bamboo:
New bamboo has emerged from the low hedge;
Tall and erect, it seems spun from kingfisher feather.
When a shining moon rises over the east porch,
Traceries of bamboo shadow cover the ground.
I run pineblack on a bronze inkstone
And wet the brush to capture its inner meaning.
For unspoiled modesty it is by all means admirable,
But I love most its resolve: to be steadfast, faithful.
Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism p.410