Poetry Corner

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  • Gregor
    • Apr 2007
    • 638

    Poetry Corner

    Long seeking it through others,
    I was far from reaching it.
    Now I go by myself;
    I meet it everywhere.
    It is just I myself,
    And I am not itself.
    Understanding this way,
    I can be as I am.


    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)
  • wills
    • Jun 2007
    • 69

    Very sweet. Thank you.
    -- Will S.


    • Gregor
      • Apr 2007
      • 638

      A master’s handiwork cannot be measured
      But still priests wag their tongues explaining the “Way” and babbling about “Zen.”
      This old monk has never cared for false piety
      And my nose wrinkles at the dark smell of incense before the Buddha.

      by Ikkyu

      __________________________________________________ __

      I like this one, its a good reminder for me!
      Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)


      • paige
        • Apr 2007
        • 234

        I like Ikkyu too - just recently picked up a book of his poetry:
        Crow with No Mouth

        I really like

        we live in a cage of light an amazing cage
        animals animals without end

        Not that I know what it means! :wink:


        • Keishin
          • Jun 2007
          • 471


          With thoughts now, often
          I go to open my mouth--
          gone! like startled birds.


          • Keishin
            • Jun 2007
            • 471


            Out there on the ice
            the game is playing the game:
            nothing's quite like it!


            • Don Niederfrank
              • Jul 2007
              • 66

              I think I've posted this elsewhere here, but I really like it.
              It's by Charles Simic, the poet laureate of the U.S.
              I think it captures the simplicity of our sitting and the possible role of rituals, robes and rites.


              Go inside a stone
              That would be my way.
              Let somebody else become a dove
              Or gnash with a tiger's tooth.
              I am happy to be a stone.

              From the outside the stone is a riddle:
              No one knows how to answer it.
              Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
              Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
              Even though a child throws it in a river;
              The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
              To the river bottom
              Where the fishes come to knock on it
              And listen.

              I have seen sparks fly out
              When two stones are rubbed,
              So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
              Perhaps there is a moon shining
              From somewhere, as though behind a hill--
              Just enough light to make out
              The strange writings, the star-charts
              On the inner walls.
              Un otro mundo es possible, si...


              • BruceS
                • Aug 2007
                • 59

                The other day after zazen, as my son slept I sat gazing at the most beautiful blue sky and big puffy white clouds, and I thought;

                Sipping afternoon tea
                Watching white clouds, blue sky
                The clouds taste nice

                I'm no poet and granted this thought was probably influenced by a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh, but it's what popped into my head. Today the sky's a bit grey. It'll probably still be grey after zazen, but that's ok. The clouds still taste the same.
                The best thing I ever do is sit and do nothing.


                • FeMonky
                  • May 2007
                  • 50

                  Above all, my fve poem

                  TS Eliot's thesis on a Cat's Zazen!
                  from The Naming of Cats
                  "...But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
                  And that is the name that you never will guess;
                  The name that no human research can discover -
                  But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
                  When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
                  The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
                  His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
                  Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
                  His ineffable effable
                  Deep and inscrutable singular Name."

                  now if I can find a poem describing how a cat mindfully eats... Or I may have observe my Chloe and write one myself!



                  • will
                    • Jun 2007
                    • 2331

                    This is awesome guys. Good idea. Poetry corner.

                    This is from a teacher Ven. Shikai Osho from white wind zen sangha:

                    Green porcelain tiles
                    flecked red, gold.
                    yellow forsythia
                    caress azure sky

                    birds chatter and
                    under the walkway
                    old men and women

                    their cigarettes whisper
                    of the twenties,
                    the susurrus of their cloth shoes
                    echo the rythms
                    To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                    To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                    To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                    To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.


                    • Gregor
                      • Apr 2007
                      • 638

                      Isn't this fun, Thanks to everybody for posting such great stuff.

                      If anyone listens to Writer's Almanac on NPR, you heard this one today, but it just floored me.


                      Keys by Nancy Henry

                      When things got hard
                      I used to drive and keep on driving—
                      once to North Carolina
                      once to Arizona—
                      I'm through with all that now, I hope.
                      The last time was years ago.

                      But oh, how I would drive
                      and keep on driving!
                      The universe around me
                      all well in my control;
                      anything I wanted on the radio,
                      the air blasting hot or cold;
                      sobbing as loudly as I cared to sob,
                      screaming as loudly as I needed to scream.
                      I would live on apples and black coffee,
                      shower at truck stops,
                      sleep curled up
                      in the cozy back seat I loved.

                      The last time, I left at 3 a.m.
                      By New York state,
                      I stopped screaming;
                      by Tulsa
                      I stopped sobbing;
                      by the time I pulled into Flagstaff
                      I was thinking
                      about the Canyon,
                      I was so empty.
                      Thinking about the canyon
                      I was.

                      I sat on the rim at dawn,
                      let all the colors fill me.
                      It was cold. I saw my breath
                      like steam from a soup pot.
                      I saw small fossils in the gravel.
                      I saw how much world there was

                      how much darkness
                      could be swept out
                      by the sun.
                      Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)


                      • will
                        • Jun 2007
                        • 2331

                        Thanks Greg.

                        Very transient. nice. yep.
                        To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                        To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                        To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                        To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.


                        • will
                          • Jun 2007
                          • 2331

                          Do you recognize this one?

                          the fool on the hill
                          sees the sun going down
                          and the eyes in his head
                          see the world spinning round

                          To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                          To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                          To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                          To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.


                          • Fuken
                            • Sep 2006
                            • 435

                            Shodoka: Song of Freedom

                            by Yoka daishi (Yongjia, d. 713)
                            translated by Yasuda Joshu roshi
                            and Anzan Hoshin roshi

                            Have you ever seen one of the Way?

                            Beyond action and beyond learning,
                            one is at ease,

                            not struggling against delusion
                            or grasping after the truth.

                            One sees the nature of ignorance
                            to be itself Essential Awareness,

                            and the illusion of one’s own body
                            is the Realm of Reality.

                            Completely realizing
                            the Realm of Reality to be objectless,

                            one finds oneself the source of all things
                            and one’s own nature to be Awake Awareness.

                            The five aggregates arise and decay like
                            aimless clouds,
                            the three distorted orientations come and go
                            like bubbles on water.

                            Realizing Suchness, neither self nor things exist;
                            in one moment cause and effect are liberated.

                            If anything I say is untrue
                            may my tongue be pulled out for countless eons.

                            In a single moment of direct awakening
                            to the Zen of Reality as a continuous presencing,
                            the six perfections and countless skillful means
                            are complete.

                            The six realms of existence are a dream,
                            in waking they are nowhere to be found.

                            No error, no happiness, no loss, no gain;
                            you won’t find these in the Actual Nature.

                            Having given up wiping dust from the mirror,
                            its brilliance is completely seen.

                            Who is it that thinks of
                            not–thinking and non–existence?
                            The Unborn is realized
                            within the born.

                            Can a wooden puppet attain Buddhahood
                            by its practice of not–thinking?

                            Without grasping at the four elements of this body,
                            drink and eat aligned with the Actual Nature.

                            Appearances are empty, all is impermanent;
                            this is the complete view of the Those Gone Into Thusness.

                            As a true monk I speak the truth.
                            If you don’t agree with me, let’s discuss it;

                            but remember that the Way of Awake Awareness
                            aims for the root
                            and is not tangled in branches and leaves.

                            The wish-fulfilling pearl is not recognized by beings
                            but here it is
                            within the matrix of Reality as a continual presencing.

                            The functioning of the six senses are neither
                            "is" nor "not,"
                            and come from luminosity neither
                            formed nor formless.

                            Clarifying the five kinds of vision
                            brings the five powers.

                            When you experience the truth
                            you are without speculation.

                            You can see your reflection in a mirror;
                            but can you grasp the moon
                            reflected in the water?

                            We always walk alone;
                            yet those who have attained all tread
                            the same Way of liberation.

                            Following this ancient Way, have a light heart.
                            Wild looking, bones hardened,
                            no one will notice you.

                            The poverty of a child of the Buddha is obvious,
                            but this poverty doesn’t include her Zen.

                            Patched robes show one’s poverty
                            but the mind of Zen is beyond all value.

                            This priceless jewel can be used without hesitation
                            in caring for beings and ripening potentials.

                            The three facets of Experiencing and four wisdoms are complete
                            in this treasure;
                            the six subtle perceptions and eight liberations are marks
                            from this seal.

                            Excellent students go right to the source.
                            Fair and poor are hesitant to reveal
                            and give up their soiled veils,
                            and are proud of their external struggling.

                            If folks argue and slander you, let them:
                            they are playing with fire, trying to burn the sky.

                            When I hear them, their words are drops of nectar
                            and show me that this moment is free from conception.

                            Abusive words are disguised blessings
                            and my abusers good teachers.

                            This mind has room for slander and abuse
                            and is itself unborn compassion and patience.

                            Penetrate both the Transmission and the teachings,
                            practice harmonization and radical insight with brilliance,
                            unclouded by notions of "voidness".

                            I am not alone in this attainment
                            which Buddhas numberless as grains of sand
                            have displayed.

                            I’ll freely speak the lion’s Roar of Reality
                            which strikes fear into the hearts of beasts.

                            As the elephant flees, forgetting his pride
                            the heavenly dragon listens silent and joyful.

                            In the past I’ve crossed mountains and rivers
                            searching for masters and teachings in Zen.

                            Now I know the path of Caoxi and
                            my realization is beyond birth and death.

                            Don’t lose your Zen whether walking or sitting,
                            be at ease in speech or silence, moving or staying,

                            Be calm even when facing a sword
                            and your clarity will never be poisoned.

                            Our teacher Sakyamuni met his teacher Dipamkara
                            only after practising patience through countless eons.

                            Birth and death follow each other ceaselessly.
                            Awaken directly to Unborn Reality

                            and be free from joy about fame
                            or sorrow over loss.

                            Stay in hermitages
                            in mountains and valleys amongst the pines.

                            Practice joyfully in vacant cabins.
                            Live free from complexity.

                            Understand Reality and your actions are without effort
                            unlike the actions of the usual person.

                            Charity given within conditions for heavenly reward
                            is like shooting arrows into the sky.

                            When its force is spent, the arrow falls
                            just as beings go up, then down.

                            The realm of conditionless action is not like that:
                            it is a direct leap into the realm of Those Gone Into Thusness.

                            Go to the root, leaving the branches.
                            It is like the bright moon reflected in a crystal.

                            Understand the jewel of liberation
                            and use it to benefit yourself and all others.

                            The moon rises over the river,
                            wind moves in the pines

                            all through the night. Purity. Calm.
                            What does this calm mean?

                            Vividly see the precepts of Essential Awareness
                            and the seal of the mind–ground.

                            Dew, fog, clouds, mists
                            are the true robes of our bodies.

                            The monk’s bowl that subdued dragons,
                            the staff that calmed fighting tigers
                            with the sound of its hanging rings

                            are not just relics from some old fable
                            but symbols of the Thus Come One’s precious Teachings.

                            Don’t seek truth or avoid delusion:
                            both are wholly empty, without form.

                            Neither empty nor formless,
                            this is the body of the Buddha.

                            The luminous mirror of Knowing reflects all shown it,
                            its vast brilliance pervades numberless worlds.

                            All that is, the ten thousand experiences,
                            arise as this luminosity beyond within or without.

                            Don’t grasp at "voidness" and ignore cause and effect;
                            such reckless confusion leads only to suffering.

                            Rejecting the truth and grasping at entities is
                            also a mistake,
                            it’s like jumping into a fire to avoid drowning.

                            To reject delusion and grasp at the truth
                            suits perfectly the mind of like and dislike.

                            Students who practice this way,
                            it’s like mistaking a thief as your own son.

                            Ignoring the treasure of Reality and losing the merit
                            to Awaken self and others
                            is due to the eighth, seventh and sixth consciousnesses.

                            With direct insight into these, practice Zen
                            and realise the Unborn with Radiant Intelligence.

                            Be strong and use the sword of insight.
                            It’s blade is sharp and bright as the vajra,

                            it severs confusion
                            and the pride of shining beings and demons.

                            The thunder of the Reality rolls:
                            beat the drum of the Teachings,

                            spread clouds of compassion
                            and loose the rain of nectar.

                            "Dragons" and "elephants" arise to benefit countless beings
                            and lead the five types of students through
                            the Three Aspects of the Teachings.

                            The milk from the Himalayas is pure and rich,
                            it makes the ghee that I enjoy.

                            One nature pervades all natures.
                            One thing holds all things.

                            One moon is reflected in all waters,
                            all these reflections are one moon.

                            The Realm of Reality of all Buddhas is my own nature,
                            my own nature is all the Thus Come Ones.

                            One stage of practice contains all stages,
                            without form, without thought or action.

                            In a finger snap eighty thousand doors are open
                            and three great eons vanish in an instant.

                            Names and categories and being without them
                            have nothing to do with Perfect Knowing.

                            It is without praise or blame,
                            It is without boundaries, like space.

                            It is wherever you stand.

                            It is free of struggle and searching.

                            It cannot be held or released.

                            Give up the search.
                            It is here.

                            Its silence speaks, its speech is silent.
                            Its great giving opens the door wide.

                            If you ask me what doctrine I teach
                            I’ll tell you it’s Vast Awareness.

                            No one can agree or disagree with this
                            and even the shining beings can only speculate.

                            Having practiced this for many years,
                            I have no choice but to tell you the truth.

                            "Raise the banner of the Teachings,
                            proclaim the teachings of the Lineage."

                            Such was the Buddha’s command to Caoxi.

                            In the Indian records, Mahakasyapa was the first
                            to receive and transmit the Lamp
                            and then down through twenty eight Ancestors.

                            Through the First Ancestor Bodhidharma
                            the Teachings of Reality came east to the Middle Kingdom,

                            through Six Ancestors who received the robe,
                            and then to countless who have realized the Way.

                            Truth does not stand alone, the false doesn’t exist alone.
                            When ideas of ‘being ‘ and ‘non–being’ vanish
                            all is empty.

                            The teachings about twenty emptinesses
                            are intended to disentangle you;
                            All are the display of this one body
                            of the Thus Come.

                            Mind arises with experiences as its objects.
                            Subject and object are dust on a mirror.

                            Free of dust, the mirror shines.
                            The Actual Nature is known
                            when mind and things do not arise.

                            In this Age of Ending and this sad world
                            suffering beings resist the truth.

                            The time of the Buddha is long gone and confusion is deep.
                            Delusion is strong, practice is weak,
                            fear and hatred increase.

                            Hearing the Direct Way of the Thus Come,
                            some regret not being able to smash it to pieces.

                            Craving gives rise to suffering.
                            Don’t blame others for your own actions.

                            If you don’t want to live in suffering
                            do not slander the Teachings turned by the Thus Come.

                            Only sandalwood
                            grows with sandalwood.

                            Lions rest in dark groves, wander alone and at ease
                            where no other birds or animals are found.

                            Lion cubs follow the elders
                            and even a three year old can give the roar.

                            A fox, even if he trails after the king of the Teachings,
                            can still only yelp in vain.

                            The radical Direct Teaching is beyond sentiment;
                            there is no room for doubt or hesitation.

                            This monk doesn’t say this to create divisions;
                            its just that you should know
                            about the trap of permanence and its opposite.

                            Right isn’t "right," wrong isn’t "wrong;"
                            yet an inch of deviation leads a thousand miles off.

                            A girl of the dragon people who didn’t stray from the source,
                            at once realized Buddha,
                            while Sunaksatra was reborn in the hells.

                            In my youth I collected knowledge,
                            reading the Discourses and commentaries.

                            I fell into name and form, which makes as much sense
                            as trying to count the sands on the ocean floor.

                            The Buddha was speaking about me when he said,
                            "What gain is there in counting another’s treasure?"

                            I realized how for many years I had gone astray
                            and wandered lost.

                            Due to crooked inclinations and wrong views
                            the Thus Come’s Direct Perfection is misunderstood.

                            Men of the Narrow Path practice without compassion,
                            worldly scholars have knowledge but no wisdom.

                            Foolish, with wrong interpretations,
                            they miss the pointing finger of the empty hand.

                            Mistaking the finger for the moon
                            their practice is confused
                            and they fabricate complexity with senses and objects.

                            When not one thing is seen, this
                            is the Realm of Reality as a Continual Presencing
                            and one is truly the Sovereign Seer.

                            Understand the truth, and all conditional hindrances
                            are nowhere to be found;
                            not knowing true emptiness you worry
                            about debits and credits.

                            This is like a starving man turning down a
                            feast for a king,
                            or someone ill refusing the physician’s prescription.

                            Practice Zen in this world of desires
                            like a lotus blossoming in the midst of flames.

                            Even Pradhanasura, although he broke the grave precepts
                            woke up to the Unborn and achieved his realization of the Buddha.

                            Having heard the Lion’s Roar, the fearless teaching,
                            what will become of those who obstinately waver?

                            Breaking their precepts, losing their wisdom,
                            they ignore the open door to the Thus Come.

                            Once two monks, one who had committed sexual misconduct,
                            the other had taken life,
                            were condemned by Upali’s flickering wisdom.

                            The great being Vimalakirti erased their doubts
                            like the sun melting frost and snow.

                            The inconceivable power to liberate beings
                            has activities numberless as the sands of the Ganges.

                            Making the four kinds of offerings,
                            even a thousand gold pieces would not be enough;

                            reducing bones and body to dust could not repay
                            words ensuring a leap over numberless eons.

                            This is the supreme Sovereign Reality,
                            the experience of countless Thus Come Ones.

                            Understanding what this precious jewel of mind is
                            I now transmit it to any who will receive it.

                            Seeing clearly, there is not one thing,
                            not man, not Buddha.

                            The worlds of the universe are like froth on the sea,
                            sages and wise men appear like lightening.

                            Even with a hot iron wheel burning on one’s head,
                            great realized-practice will not be stirred.

                            Even if demons can cool the sun and heat the moon,
                            they cannot obstruct the truth of these words.

                            When an elephant drawn carriage moves
                            can a praying mantis block its passing?

                            Elephants cannot fit into a rabbit’s tracks,
                            enlightenment cannot be circumscribed.

                            Don’t abuse the ultimate with narrow views.

                            If you are not yet clear, this Song gives the key.
                            Yours in practice,
                            Jordan ("Fu Ken" translates to "Wind Sword", Dharma name givin to me by Jundo, I am so glad he did not name me Wind bag.)


                            • will
                              • Jun 2007
                              • 2331

                              Thanks Jordan.

                              To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                              To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                              To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                              To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.