Mystical Experience of Chao Pien

Chao Pien (994 – 1070) was a highly regarded government officer of China’s Sung dynasty and a lay disciple of Fach’uan of Chiang-shan. Chao Pien was well-known by many for his integrity and benevolence. It is reported that every night Chao Pien put on his ceremonial robe, lit incense, and made offerings to submit the events of the day to The Divine.

One day, after Chao Pien’s official duties were over, he found himself leisurely sitting in his office when, all of a sudden, a clash of thunder burst on his ear, and he realized a state of satori (mystical consciousness). Chao Pien wrote the following poem to describe key aspects of his Zen experience:

“Devoid of thought, I sat quietly by the desk in my official room,

With my fountain-mind undisturbed, as serene as water;

A sudden clash of thunder, the mind-doors burst open,

And lo, there sitteth the old man in all his homeliness.”

Quoted from The Teachings of the Mystics by W.T. Stace.

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