If you would behold the moon

Here's a poem from the Ryōjin hishō 梁塵秘抄:

Tsukikage yukashiku wa, minami omote ni ike o hore, sate zo miru, kin no koto no ne kikitakuba, kita no oka no ue ni matsu wo ueyo
If you would behold the moon, dig a pond south of your house; you'll see it there/ If you want to hear the kin, plant a pine atop a hill north of your house

"The wind in the pines" was a standard metaphor for the sound of the guqin/kin.

I find it kind of interesting that it's hard to tell whether this poem is lampooning literary pretensions or simply reproducing them. In context (the poem just before it is an obscure pun about polygamy-related domestic troubles) the latter interpretation seems likely.

But you can also imagine similar sentiments put in the mouth of a minor zen figure. In that case I'd interpret it as a cryptic admonishment, with a deeper implied meaning than just "I got your moon right here, buddy."

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Leonardo Boiko:

Ah, so that’s the origin of “wind in the pines”? In chanoyu it’s an allusion to the sound of hot water boiling in the kettle. It can also refer to the power of imagination/sensibility, thanks to a famous waka by Sen Sôtan:


If asked
the nature of chanoyu,
say it’s the sound
of windblown pines
in a painting.

Dennis Hirota’s book is actually titled <cite>Wind in the Pines</cite>, based on this.


Actually, there is a bit of traditional fengshui in there, too. In Chinese tradition, the most auspicious location for a building is one facing water in the south with a hill or mountain behind (i.e., in the north).


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Counting sheep in Japanese doesn't make you sleepy:



Bathrobe: Interesting! I suppose it's descent from a common ancestor rather than actual applied 風水. How far back can that tradition be traced in China?

Mulboyne: Thanks for the link, as always. (Does saying "sheep" make you breathe through your diaphragm? I say it as nasally and weak-chestedly as everything else I say...)

Leonardo Boiko:

There were lots of directional superstitions and taboos in Heian, right? I think I recall reading something of the sort in Morris’ <cite>World of the Shining Prince</cite>. It would be nice to have a convenient, concise reference on the different directional traditions…

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