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Hanshan and Shide

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  • Chinese/Japanese: 寒山拾得 (Hánshān Shídé/ Kanzan Jittoku)

Hanshan and Shide (J: Kanzan and Jittoku) were Chinese Buddhist monks of the late 8th or early 9th centuries. Iconically associated with a scroll and a broom, respectively, they are common subjects of Buddhist paintings throughout East Asia.

The pair were Chan (Zen) monks based at the temple of Guoqing-si on Mt. Tiantai, where Hanshan pursued monastic reclusion. Shide served as one of the staff at the temple, and is thus associated with the broom. A variety of stories tell of the great wisdom of the lowly janitor, showing that one should not look down upon the lowly, nor assume them to be less enlightened or virtuous than anyone else.

The pair have come to be associated, too, with the bodhisattvas Monju and Fugen.

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