Stonehouse was a Zen Buddhist hermit poet as well as a temple abbot. He was born in 1272, during the Yuan dynasty, and spent around twenty years of his life in the mountains of China. The author states that during Stonehouse’s time in the mountains he lived a hard life and did not beg for food in the villages. The book is 231 pages and includes four sections: Introduction, Book One: Mountain Poems, Book Two: Gathas, and Book Three: Zen Talks. The introduction gives a history of the life of Stonehouse and also provides a nice treat of Red Pine ( Bill Porter) visiting Stonehouse’s hut. The Mountain Poems chapter contains 184 poems, the Gathas chapter contains 70 poems, and the Zen Talks chapter contains a record of Stonehouse’s talks to his disciples while he was the abbot of Fuyuan temple. A total of 101 discussions are recorded and in the Zen Talks chapter. Red Pine gives detailed information for each poem and the Zen Talks which greatly helps the reader. The book is in Chinese and English. The Zen Works of Stonehouse is relaxing to read as well as packed with Zen philosophy. A great book to enjoy reading in bed before falling asleep. Highly recommended!



Below are three poems from the book:


A hermit’s hut is empty encircled by bamboo
a merchant’s gate is high with hundred-foot-long walls
in his empty hut a hermit finds peace
behind his high gate a merchant finds none


True emptiness is silent but always present
masked by delusion for reasons unknown
our true nature never leaves unreal existence
flowers bloom and fall when the spring wind blows


I meditate alone in the quite and dark
where nothing comes to mind
I sweep the steps when the west wind is done
I make a path for the moonlight


Click below to order on

The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit