Against Idols

On Self the Prophet never rests his eye,

His to relieve the doom of humankind;

No fairy palaces beyond the sky,

Rewards to come, are present to his mind.

And I have heard the faith by Buddha taught

Lauded as pure and free from earthly


Why then these carved and graven idols,


With gold and silver, gems, and jade,

and paint?

The heavens that roof this earth, mountain

and dale,

All that is great and grand shall pass


And if the art of gods may not prevail,

Shall man ‘s poor handiwork escape decay?

Fools that ye are ! In this ignoble light

The true faith fades and passes out of sight.

Chen Tzu-ang A.D. 656-698

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