Ask Han

Ask me something in the form at the bottom of the page and once I’ve meditated on it I’ll leave you a reply.

44 comments for “Ask Han

  1. rach
    December 15, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Dear Han, your presence in Barbara’s book touches me with lightness and joy, and I feel moved how healing can happen beyond the time and space of the physical earthly world. I resonate with many of the experiences of the characters in the book, they are real. In this lifetime (and perhaps other lifetimes) I have experienced many triangles in relationship, been unkind and deceitful in my past years. Although I feel compassion and love for those people who experienced pain from my behaviour, I still feel a disturbance inside me, I want it to be alright. How can I heal these wounds and make peace with myself knowing I cannot change how I behaved in my past?
    Thank you for your loving care for people,
    with love Rachael

    • Han Shan
      December 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Beloved Rachel Bestow upon yourself the same love and compassion you give to those you believe you have hurt. We are all seeking to be whole, and sometimes in our desperation, we collide with the longings of others. Love and cherish that within you which yearns for wholeness, and step carefully around the small splinters of mis-understanding which sometimes make us attack ourselves. Blessings upon the beauty of your Soul Han

  2. Alison
    April 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Dear Han.
    I have very much enjoyed reading about your return to earth and the wisdom shared in Barbara’s lovely book.
    I am intrigued about how Jack accepts the potential of conflict with equanimity and acceptance – and also enjoys a fantasy about how he might triumph over adversaries. We leave the story not knowing if the conflict will come his way or not. Is Jack’s fantasy his way of enjoying a particular outcome while still being open to whatever comes?
    I wonder if you have more wisdom you could share about how I can live with the question mark of not knowing what will happen to me? I know we all live with question marks. Like Jack, I have strong hints that ‘bad’ things are more likely to happen than not happen – mine are health-related, rather than violence-related like his. Thank you dear Han. Alison

    • Han Shan
      April 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Beloved Alison. I was touched by your inquiry. It is not easy to live with a body that is suffering.
      Do you remember in the book towards the end when Jack felt that his heart was breaking? And then into it was breathed the healing breath?
      Pain and trouble are inevitable companions of our lives. When we label them ‘bad’ we create a frightening stranger outside of us; an object to be fearful of.
      Witness with intimacy and curiosity, the lineaments and substance of the whole phenomenon: the pain, the fear, the projection into the future of further pain and fear.
      Breathe into it from that part of you that is your fearless and curious heart, your Beloved Familiar close to you for all your life. That which loves you and blesses you and loves and blesses everything about you.
      When the fear returns, make space and breathe. Again. And again
      Blessings upon you dear Alison. Han

  3. Han Shan
    April 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you. Blessings, Han

  4. April 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Dear Han, I have chosen to follow the path of my heart and love it but the same challenge crops up. There is something I would love to do but it has a price tag that I cannot pay for. A month ago I followed my heart’s guidance to be in the end result of it and to be. I have been doing this but now I just have one week to go. I struggle like a worm on a hook.

    • Han Shan
      April 3, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Beloved Anne. The heart is a pearl beyond price. It has no price tag.
      And I am wondering what the hook is… this is a sharp thing. What happens if you stop struggling, and observe the nature of the hook, and from whence it comes? What sharpness is wanting to snare you? I am curious about the challenge which keeps occurring. Observe this repeating challenge, too, from the place of not-struggling. And finally, for a moment, come away from the heart and dwell only in the quietness, noticing what arises. Blessings on you and your path. Han

      • April 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm

        Dear Han – thank you for your answer. The hook and the struggle is always money. I will take some time to be in the quietness and see what arises. Thank you

  5. Marinda
    March 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Dearest Han,

    How did the lucky people of earth discover your writings, and are they published in a book?

    • Han Shan
      March 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Beloved Marinda When I lived on Cold Mountain I wrote upon the rocks and the bamboo, and sometimes inserted small pieces of paper with verse into crevices and cracks in the landscape. Somehow, the language and form of my poetry retained its shape through many passing ages and people from different countries found delight and solace in what I had written. I took the name Han Shan, which means Cold Mountain, the beautiful place where I lived. You can find my poetry under the name Han Shan. If you look at an early page in the book Han Returns to Earth, you will find one of my poems, and beneath it, a reference to the publication it came from. Blessings on you. Han

      • Marinda
        March 30, 2014 at 11:12 pm

        Dearest Han,

        I just read your poem at the beginning of Barbara Browns book. Beautiful. And what a lovely story about how you got your name, and how you left secret poems within the landscape. I will search for more… All the best, Cold Mountain,


      • Han Shan
        March 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        Beloved Marinda. Here are some lines for you: In front of a cliff, all alone I silently sit
        The round moon brightly beams in the sky.
        By using a finger we see the moon;
        The moon is the hinge of the mind

        Poem No 277 from ‘The poetry of Han-Shan’ translated by Robert G. Henricks
        Blessings upon you, dearest soul. Han

  6. hopeful
    February 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Dear Han, what are your thoughts on autism and how best to support an autistic child to their fullest potential?
    with thanks

    • Han Shan
      February 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Beloved Hopeful
      Your question touches me, and I can feel arising within me a requirement to give you an answer which will help the situation and bring the child to their fullest potential…and then I feel a gentle hand reaching out to quieten me. I understand you are speaking about a child who moves to a different inner current, and the usual language of exchange is not always available or useful. May I abide gently with you in the aftermath of this question, silent, without language, but with the fullness of heart towards another. And towards a child.
      May I also tell you of an interesting occurrence – Several times I have replied to this question, and several times lost the entire text. I have stayed for quite a lengthy while, beloved Hopeful, writing again, and waiting to see which reply will be allowed to prevail. This seems to be the one. Blessings on you. Han

  7. Kate
    January 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hello Han,
    Though I’ve been an introvert most of my life, I have recently discovered in myself a desire for worldly recognition and have taken to self-publicity. Is this wise do you think?

    • Han Shan
      January 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Beloved Kate. Of all the words you wrote, the ones that sang for me were ‘I have recently discovered in myself’. In that tender adventure of self-discovery you notice the polarity of being hidden; and wanting to be recognised. The beautiful yin/yang sign of the Tao, shows us the black fish with the white eye, and the white fish with the black eye perpetually swimming alongside each other. Neither one nor the other but a mutually expressive Whole. Blessings upon you .Han

  8. Jane
    January 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Dear Friend Han,
    During a challenging time, I come most days to this page of your letters and find solace. There is always something which helps. The ripple or wavelength of your While in London (in the book) keeps beginning to emerge from the corners of my room, alive. I begin to find out about the gravity in the belly.

    Yesterday I wrote, ‘Han says to me – move with the movement, keeping still, move with the beauty of the Tao in its flow of balancing, re-equilibrating. What seems dark to you is the water moving, and nature’s exquisite tendency to flow in and out of stress points. Sitting on the nub of what seems to be depression and insecurity, is a place from which to view the ebb and flow of life; without judgement, including the mood, without the mood. Tao is uncertainty. Don’t make it an enemy.”

    So I wanted to share that. So thank you. With love and blessings from Jane

    • Han Shan
      January 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Beloved Jane. Thank you for your tender observation. Blessings upon you, Han

  9. Hummingbird
    January 25, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Dear Han,

    Whenever I go away from home, even for a weekend, I worry about not having enough to eat – and pack extra supplies, just in case!

    I wonder, could this be because I starved to death in a previous life?

    Blessings to you,

    • Han Shan
      January 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Beloved Hummingbird. i felt sorrow when I read your words of hunger and worry,and the possibility of a previous body that was starved to death. And I remembered the sense of physicality of a human body and the necessity for food, and the horror, witnessed all through history, of those who could not find food. Especially those who were exiled and far from home.
      And then I was drawn to your name. Hummingbird. And vividly came the whirring and humming of wings, and the hovering of a tiny body in space, and the long beak seeking out food and honey. And vividly did I see the beauty of your soul which can feed on the wing, at home in the wide space of sky. Blessings on you, dearest Hummingbird, Han

  10. Jo
    January 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Dear Han,
    Often when I wake in the morning my heart feels heavy. How can I feel lightness and love in my heart again?
    Warmest wishes,

    • Han Shan
      January 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Beloved Jo. many hundreds of years ago when I lived on Cold Mountain, with trees and rocks for friends, there were times when I woke with a heavy heart. Here is a poem I wrote

      if you run into a demon or a ghost,
      The first thing is never be frightened or alarmed.

      Be calm and firm, never pay it any heed;
      If you call out its name, it must certainly leave.

      To burn incense and ask for strength from Buddha,
      or, respectfully bow and seek aid from monks

      Is like a mosquito biting an iron ox
      it has no place to sink its teeth

      Beloved Jo, When you awake, you call for lightness and love. At that moment, they are not there so there is no reply. Call upon what is present – the heaviness – address it distinctly and respectfully; expect nothing – and wait. Rest your heavy heart into your own abiding. Paying no heed to any outcome, begin to step calmly and firmly into your day. Blessings. Han

  11. Elizabeth
    January 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Hello Han/Barbara. It is important for me to know and work with the truth. If you are psychic why do you need to hide behind another? Respectfully E

    • Han Shan
      January 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Beloved Elizabeth. The capacity currently unfolding is not what I would call psychic. Put it this way: Barbara discovers the poet Han Shan, and a book of the genre magical-realism unfolds. In the mind, in dreams, in the past, in poetry, Han exists. And exists now through a medium of sustained imagination. Each of us finds a conduit for what we feel and say. And if Barbara and Han intertwine, there is an odd kind of truth to this. Playful, sincere, and with a particular spontaneous language of its own. Thank you for your lovely question. Blessings. Han

  12. Katrina
    January 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Dear Han,

    How do you guide a child to happy, fulfilled adulthood?



    • Han Shan
      January 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Beloved Katrina. It feels as if there are two parts to your question. One is about guiding a child; the other is about their having a happy, fulfilled adulthood. Guiding and guarding our children is a supremely loving and generous act…And then we find we cannot bargain with life for a perfect consequence. We do our best, and then our dear charges move into the current of their lives and it takes them. When they are babies, it is almost within our capacity to create happy and fulfilling lives for them..and we want this capacity to continue. Of course. Blessings on you, Katrina. Han

  13. Bridget
    January 21, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Dear Han
    Can you finally give me an answer to the question: what is the sound of one hand clapping? And why are we so interested in clapping anyway?

    • Han Shan
      January 21, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Beloved Bridget. I settled down quietly to contemplate your question and swiftly did I receive a tap on the head from a Zen master’s stick! I awoke to the knowing that I am lovingly and respectfully to return this question to you. It is yours to play with and be teased by. He or she who is provoked to try and give you an answer deprives you of delight. I do wish also to tell you a little tale. it comes from the Realms known as philosophy and was part of a question in an examination for philosophy students. The question: is this a question? One student wrote: if this is an answer. Bless you, Bridget, Han.

  14. Heart
    January 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Dear Han.
    Could you please tell me what I need to know right now? And what about me and crete?

    Blessings, Heart

    • Han Shan
      January 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Beloved Heart. A sweet pause arises in me when I read your question, as I am not given to that which we might call ‘divination’. Indeed, in the book, I several times chide myself as I am tempted to reach into the future to bring back knowledge into the present, and I release the temptation, and stay firmly in the Now. However – do not lose heart, dear Heart, for I can happily speak to you of the immediate arisings within me when i read your questions: within the Tao, we have the Three Treasures: head, heart and belly. Perhaps you might contemplate from which Treasure you are seeking answers to your two questions. Frequently, we search for answers primarily within the functional mind, and forget about dropping into the heart and into the intuitive belly – there to wait without demand or requirement, to wait in stillness and unknowing until response shows itself. Set before yourself a map of Crete, and ask of the Three Treasures what you are hoping Crete will give you which is not with you now. This way you will discriminate the elements of hope and expectation from whatever might be more simply true for you. Blessings on you, Heart. Han

  15. Shamsa
    January 20, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Blessed Han Shan
    Why on this earth do we let our children die, and not share our wealth to feed the poor?
    Blessings, Shamsa

    • Han Shan
      January 20, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Beloved Shamsa. We are given that which we call free will, and we dwell upon the planet of duality. Thus we are free to choose to open or close our hearts. When we live in fear, we contract, and feel we have to protect and guard ourselves. When we realise, as some of the great Teachers who have come and gone have told us, that we and our brothers and sisters are one, our hearts expand. There is a moment I refer to in the book, which I call the ‘mystery of the breaking heart’ as this can be the portal to awakening. Thank you for your question. Blessings on you, Shamsa. Han

  16. Jane
    January 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Dear Han,
    This week, someone I work with, wanted to step into me without my permission. I resisted him and said No. But a small foggy cloud drifted in psychically, and I lost my ch’i and clarity. I wish I had known how to let him step past me like in judo, but there are old disabilities; and so the incident is now caught inside. The resisting was not the right Way.

    Two days later, I read your chapter on the Pushing of Hands, and also how Marie turned her waist to the ballerina. I am upset inside, with a feeling of damaged trust. I stay present with it till it heals enough for me to talk it through with this person. But there is a big delay – the fog and pain that I couldn’t defend my Tao. I am trying to breathe into it, breathe the 2 into 3 and find my centre again.

    I like so much what you say in the comment about taking the mud and shaping creatively, the unhappiness in the memory.

    With peace, Jane

    • Han Shan
      January 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Beloved Jane. There is movement in all things. The fog and the cloud will circulate, carrying the pain you describe, until a natural movement of the heart’s sun will enable dissipation of damp and obscurity. No effort is required, as you clearly understand. And in some way you might find, as did our friend struggling with mud, that faces appear in the cloud, and shapes. Gaze upon them, lightly, and they too will pass. Blessings upon you, Han

      • Jane
        January 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

        Thank you dearest Han. Even before receiving your message, the matter – touching on a deeply sensitive area in my life – was confronted with sweetness, courtesy, honesty and mutual respect, and the sun came through the cloud indeed. This – and your adventures in London through the book – reminds me to treat each problem and difficulty with the respect which is becoming to the human race: thus we bow to each other.

        It can be very hard through the make-up mist. But here is the daily challenge – the beauty of the movement; time and space. I shall indeed “gaze upon the mud lightly”.

        Dear Han, your space here can be an arena for many persons’ discovery. I contribute the discovery of “sweet respect” … and what it opens.

      • Han Shan
        January 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        Thank you, Jane

  17. Yogi
    January 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    dear han. what planet were you on when you werent on earth? and what language did you speak when you were on that planet? love yogi 🙂

    • Han Shan
      January 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Beloved Yogi. I was in a dwelling place that is not a planet, as a planet still has the substance we call earth-like. Where I came from is called the Heavenly Realms. You could say in this place, we were made of light, and the light took different patterns. We did not speak as humans do – we communicated through a Thought Transmission Method. It is a graceful and peaceful way of connecting with each other. Blessings on you, and on your sister, Han

  18. Beatrice Carter
    January 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    My dear Han
    I have made a huge change in my life, left my work of the past twenty years, and find myself on a new path, having to stay open and hold an uncertain future. How do I know which direction to take?
    blessings Beatrice

    • Han Shan
      January 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Beloved Friend. Openness and Uncertainty are valued friends for you on your new path. When you find yourself troubled by not-knowing which is the correct direction to take, alter your gaze and look sideways upon the faces of these companions. Rest on the path with them and listen to their observations. The quality of listening, pulled from you by Openness and Uncertainty, will draw out a knowing from your deeper self. Blessings upon you and your companions, Han

    January 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Dearest Han
    I feel stuck in the mud, hanging on to an unhappy place, and the more I try to move the deeper I become embedded. What to do?
    X Belle

    • Han Shan
      January 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Beloved Friend. Stay still; do not agitate to move. Take the mud, and from it shape the unhappiness of the memories. Allow yourself to become absorbed by this creativity. Figures and objects which carry emotion and experience will emerge and can be left to speak their stories. You will find, after a while of absorption, that the sun shows itself and the path becomes drier and you can safely move on. Blessings, dear Belle, from Han

  20. Maggie Mayford
    January 13, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Dear Han

    When you lived on Cold Mountain and a storm came, did you seek shelter from it or did you stay out in the storm and learn to live with it?

    With love


    • Han Shan
      January 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Beloved Friend. The deeper storms that came were those from within, tossing and turning me where I lay. The only shelter I could find was to dive into the eye of each, and to look into these eyes, one after one, to see what was writ there, and what it was I needed to understand. Blessings, Maggie, from Han

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