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The Nine Levels by Ze-Ami

The style of inceptive beauty,

Striving to follow the true way,Lured not by the accepted complacent way,Conscious of immaturity,Yet ever strenuous after beauty.

The style broad and minute,

Grasping the spiritOf the cloud on the mountains,Of the moon on the sea,Recounting all the minutiae perceivableOf the vast panoramaOf nature.

The style strong and crude,

A tiger, three days old,Would already be eager to eat an ox :Commendable energy,But coarse would be the actual eating.

The authentic flower,

Like crimson leavesOf countless hillsRevealed in utter clearnessUnder the light of the sunSetting in the shimmering mist.

The tranquil flower,

Like the snowPiled up inside a silver bowl,White on pure, pure on clear,Lights interpenetrating gently.

The style crude and leaden.Like the flying squirrelWhich, Confucius said, despite its five skillsOf climbing, swimming, digging, flying, and running,Cannot transcend what it is,Coarse without being strong,Farthest from delicacy,Simply leaden.

The profound flower,Like a solitary peakRemaining un-whiteIn the midst of thousand of snow-capped mountainsIs Mount Fuji high ? Is it not rather deep ?Height is measurable,Depth is not.

The style strong and delicate,Hard and powerfulLike the shadow of the metal hammer moving,Cold and delicateLike the glimmer of the sacred sword.

The supreme flower,Like the sunBurning bright in the dead of the nightIn the country of Silla,Blossoming ineffable,Beyond reasonBeyond consciousness.

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