Born in the Changsha area of Hunan, Qiji was orphaned and entered the Buddhist order at an early age. He traveled widely and practiced on Hengshan in Hunan, at the Donglinsi on Lushan and at the Guoqingsi on Tiantaishan.The late Tang was a perilous time with much political and social turmoil. In 921 Qiji was invited by the warlord Gao Zonghui to Jiangling in Hubei and spent the remainder of his life there under Gao's protection.|
Burton Watson writes:
"Most of Qiji's poems, as the titles indicate, were written in reply to poems from friends or to commemorate visits, farewell parties, or other social occasions. Some describe a particular scene or object in nature or deal with the poet's daily life, but there are very few works of an openly doctrinal nature.
Qiji wrote in the rather bland and low key style favored by many poets of the late Tang, a style modeled largely on that of Jia Dao (779-843), who spent the early years of his life as a Chan monk. Like other members of his group, he employs literary allusions sparingly and avoids any expression of intese emotion, aiming rather for an air of calmness and resignation."
More of Burton Watson's Qiji translations can be found in The Clouds Should Know Me By Now, edited by Red Pine and Mike O'Connor