Pei-chien on action and stillness

The collection, ‘Summer: Collages of Desert Pieties (2013),’ is now visible at There are beautiful photos of summer Daoist travels on each page. Enjoy.


This morning after watering the plants, I meditated upon Zen master Pei-chien’s words (1185-1246). I then put them into a more poetic form:

Let your actions be like the gliding clouds; the gliding clouds are mindless. Let your stillness be like the valley spirit; the valley spirit is undying. When action and stillness dwell together, the fault-line disappears.

Plato speaks of reality in terms of movement, rest, being, same, and other.

I say that the highest movement is the same as graceful action; the greatest form of rest is stillness. Thus, when movement, which is generally other than rest, seems to pass into rest and rest to pass easily into movement, then there is being, energy, flowingness. Then, the fault-line disappears and the sage is but gliding and stilling.