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Zen poetry....

AlexAlex UK Veteran

I’ve discovered this over the last couple of years.

This is from Xie Lingyun (385-433), isn’t it beautiful ?

At dawn, staff in hand, I climb the crags,
and by dusk settle among the mountains.
Scarcely a peak rises as high as this hut
facing crags and overlooking winding streams.
Forests stretch before the mountain's open gate
boulders heaped round its very steps.
Mountains crowd around, blocking out roads.
Trails wander into bamboo thickets.
Visitors lose their way on coming up
or forget the paths leading home when they descend.
Raging torrents rush through the dusk,
Monkeys howl throughout the night.
Deep in meditation I hold the inner pattern,
nurturing the Way, never severing from it.
My heart is one with the autumn trees,
My eyes delight in the flowering of spring.
I inhabit the constant and await my end,
Content to dwell in peace, accepting the flux of things.
I only regret that there is no kindred spirit here
to climb this ladder of sky and clouds with me.



  • 花 非 花
    花 非 花,雾 非 雾
    夜 半 来,天 明 去。
    来 知 春 梦 几 多 时
    去 似 朝 云 无 觅 处。

    Hua Fei Hua

    Hua fei hua, wu fei wu
    Ye ban lai, tian ming qu.

    Lai ru chun meng ji duo shi
    Qu si zhao yun wu mi chu.

    When Flowers Are Not Flowers

    When flowers are not flowers, fog not fog
    Evening half gone, fading sky brightness.

    Many times she comes, spring dreams enter
    Out like the dawn clouds, without leaving a trace.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    A question is not the answer
    the answer suffices the instant

    What is it?
    Is it plain?
    A bird?
    A super B ing?

    Here a word, there an image
    thought passed away

    On this rock we roll
    Buddha has Poped
    Dharma has silenced
    Sangha has disrobed
    The cycle turns


    Well ... I am sure better exists
    what about the beat poets for Western Zen?

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    First there is a mountain


  • My apologies for the non-poetic

    Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
    The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
    Although its light is wide and great,
    The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
    The whole moon and the entire sky
    Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
    — Dogen

    The entire universe is reflected in one's own retina,
    From the smallest photons to the largest galaxies,
    They exist nowhere but within us.

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    When mortals are alive, they worry about death.
    When they're full, they worry about hunger.
    Theirs is the Great Uncertainty.

    But sages don't consider the past.
    And they don't worry about the future.
    Nor do they cling to the present.
    And from moment to moment they follow the Way.
    — Bodhidharma

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran
    edited April 3

    My daily activity is not unusual;
    I just remain in spontaneous harmony.
    Not grasping or rejecting,
    nothing left to assert or oppose.
    What use are fancy titles
    and expensive clothes of vermilion and purple?
    This entire mountain is free
    of even a speck of dust.
    Supernatural powers and miraculous activity:
    fetching water and carrying firewood.
    — Layman P’ang

    No-greed surpasses charity.
    No-delusion surpasses concentration.
    No-ill will surpasses morality.
    No-self-centered thinking surpasses cultivating connections.
    I follow an ordinary person's affairs,
    and at night sleep at ease.
    In winter I use the fireplace
    with the fire that's free of smoke.
    I neither fear the dark spirit of misfortune,
    nor seek after her sister good luck.
    Trusting in the flow, what's needed comes.
    We all ride together in the boat of wisdom --
    if you have this understanding,
    your merit has no bounds.
    — Layman P’ang

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    The past is already past --
    Don't try to regain it.
    The present doesn't stay --
    Don't try to grasp it over and over.
    The future isn't here yet --
    Don't ponder it beforehand.
    When the three times are revealed as non-existent,
    mind is the same as awakened nature.
    To quietly function relying on emptiness --
    This is manifesting profound action.
    Not even the least phenomena really exists --
    Whatever comes to the eye, leave it be.
    No rules to be kept, no filth to be cleaned;
    With empty mind truly revealed,
    All things no longer have birth or death.
    When you are like this
    The ultimate achievement is finished.
    — Layman P’ang

  • dramaqueendramaqueen USA Explorer

    Love the Zen Buddhists. Thanks.

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    I came once to sit on Cold Mountain
    And lingered here for thirty years.
    Yesterday I went to see relatives and friends;
    Over half had gone to the Yellow Springs.
    Bit by bit life fades like a guttering lamp,
    Passes on like a river that never rests.
    This morning I face my lonely shadow
    And before I know it tears stream down.

    Today I sat before the cliff,

    Sat a long time till mists had cleared.

    A single thread, the clear stream runs cold;

    A thousand yards the green peaks lift their heads.
    White clouds—the morning light is still;
    Moonrise—the lamp of night drifts upward;
    Body free from dust and stain,

    What cares could trouble my mind?

    The clear water sparkles like crystal,
    You can see through it easily, right to the bottom.
    My mind is free from every thought,
    Nothing in the myriad realms can move it.
    Since it cannot be wantonly roused,
    Forever and forever it will stay unchanged.
    When you have learned to know in this way
    You will know there is no inside or out!

    — Han-Shan

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    At Entsu-ji so long ago—

    How many times has winter given way to spring?
    Beyond the gate a thousand homes,

    Yet not a single acquaintance.

    When my robe was soiled, I washed it;

    If food ran out, we begged in the town.

    I pored over the lives of eminent priests
    And came to understand their praise of holy poverty.

    Thinking back, I recall my days at Entsu-ji
    And the solitary struggle to find the Way
    Carrying firewood reminded me of Layman Ho;
    When I polished rice, the Sixth Patriarch came to mind.
    I was always first in line to receive the Master’s teaching,
    And never missed an hour of meditation.
    Thirty years have flown by
    Since I left the green hills and blue sea of that 
lovely place.

    What has become of all my fellow disciples?
    And how can I forget the kindness of my beloved teacher?

    The tears flow on and on, blending with the swirling mountain stream.

    — Ryokan

  • Beautiful poem. I attach a video from Entsu-ji.

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran


    The leaf tips bend
    under the weight of dew.
    Fruits are ripening
    in Earth’s early morning.
    Daffodils light up in the sun.
    The curtain of cloud at the gateway
    of the garden path begins to shift:
    have pity for childhood,
    the way of illusion.

    Late at night,
    the candle gutters.
    In some distant desert,
    a flower opens.
    And somewhere else,
    a cold aster
    that never knew a cassava patch
    or gardens of areca palms,
    never knew the joy of life,
    at that instant disappears-
    man’s eternal yearning.

    – Thich Nhat Hanh

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