Han Shan (Cold Mountain) lived in China between 630 and 830 CE. Han Shan was one of those Taoist Sages that were reported to have enjoyed very long lives due in part to their sheer luck, all that fresh air, gruel, pure water, long daily walks, rugged individualism, and all those secret Taoist herbs and unusual exercises.
Han Shan was considered, when an older man, to be an eccentric Taoist, crazy saint, mountain ascetic mystic, and wise fool. He liked to play pranks, tease, joke, and get friends laughing.
Most of Han Shan’s poems were written when he lived in the rugged southern and far eastern mountains of China in what is currently Fujiian Province. He lived alone in caves and primitive shelters in the rugged mountains in an area referred to as the Heavenly Terrace (T’ien T’ai) Mountains. Han Shan’s cave-hut was a long one day’s hike from the Kuo-ch’ing monastery in the T’ien T’ai Mountains.
The name Han Shan means: Cold Cliff, Cold Mountain, or Cold Peak. Han Shan is known in Japan as “Kanzan.”
Little is known about Han Shan’s life, and he is somewhat of a legendary character.