Posts Tagged ‘poem’


“When he came to Baso he again said, ‘Who is he that is independent of all things?’ Baso said, ‘When you have drunk all the water in the Yang-tze river, I will tell you.’ At this, Koji underwent his great experience.” (Two Zen Classics 263)


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luminous buddhas

Buddhas in the Grass

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Just One MORE

When all thoughts
by Ryokan

When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd’s purse.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

— from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, Translated by John Stevens

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Even the Fire is Cool

In the midsummer heat, the gate is closed and we’re wearing monk’s robes,
In addition, there are no pines or bamboos shading the rooms and corridors,
For a peaceful meditation, we need not to go to the mountains and streams;
When thoughts are quieted down, fire itself is cool and refreshing.

Ch’an monk Tu Kou-hao 杜苟鶴
These were Zen master Kaisen’s last words prior to being burned alive in his temple by soldiers.

Original Text


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In a dilapidated three-room hut
I’ve grown old and tired;
This winter cold is the
Worst I’ve ever suffered through.
I sip thin gruel, waiting for the
Freezing night to pass.
Can I last until spring finally arrives?
Unable to beg for rice,
How will I survive the chill?
Even meditation helps no longer;
Nothing left to do but compose poems
In memory of deceased friends.

From Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1996.

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To Lady Mori with Deepest Gratitude and Thanks

The tree was barren of leaves but you brought a new spring.
Long green sprouts, verdant flowers, fresh promise.
Mori, if I ever forget my profound gratitude to you,
Let me burn in hell forever.

From Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu, translated by John Stevens. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1995.

(Mori was a blind minstrel, and Ikkyu’s young mistress)

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Thunder and Lightening over Scranton

When we see truly, there is nothing at all.
There is no person; there is no Buddha.
Innumerable things of the universe
 are just bubbles on the sea.
Wise sages are all like flashes of lightning.

–   Yoka Genkaku (665-713 CE), Shodoka

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