Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Friday, September 30, 2011

Chunagon Yakamochi (Otomo no Yakamochi) 718-785,

If the "Magpie Bridge"
Bridge by flight of magpies spanned,--
White with frost I see:--
With a deep-laid frost made white:--
Late, I know, has grown the night

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072)

A Painted Boat Carrying Wine
A painted boat carrying wine- West Lake is good.
Urgent rhythms and pressing tunes,
A jade cup's imperious summons,
Gently floating on tranquil ripples, appointed Sleeping Drunk.

The moving clouds somehow are under the moving boat.
Empty water's clear and fresh,
Look up, look down, I linger on,
I feel as if here on this lake there is another heaven.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chù Mò 850-900

Shengguo Temple

The path mounts between peaks,
Coiling up between vines and creepers.
By the river Wu country ends,
On the far shore Yue mountains rise.
Old trees cluster in blue haze,
Far horizon dips into white waves.
Close below city walls are near,
Sounds of temple bells
and reed pipes blend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

Wondrous nirvana-mind

Because the flowers blooming
In our original home
Are everlasting,
Though springtimes may come and go
Their colors do not fade.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Li Qi (690-751)


Bamboo from the southern hills was used to make this pipe.
And its music, that was introduced from Persia first of all,
Has taken on new magic through later use in China.
And now the Tartar from Liangzhou, blowing it for me,
Drawing a sigh from whosoever hears it,
Is bringing to a wanderer's eyes homesick tears....
Many like to listen; but few understand.
To and fro at will there's a long wind flying,
Dry mulberry-trees, old cypresses, trembling in its chill.
There are nine baby phoenixes, outcrying one another;
A dragon and a tiger spring up at the same moment;
Then in a hundred waterfalls ten thousand songs of autumn
Are suddenly changing to The Yuyang Lament;
And when yellow clouds grow thin and the white sun darkens,
They are changing still again to Spring in the Willow Trees.
Like Imperial Garden flowers, brightening the eye with beauty,
Are the high-hall candles we have lighted this cold night,
And with every cup of wine goes another round of music.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

Entering Yellow Stream and Hearing an Ape
The road and stream bend for a thousand li,
Sorrowfully, an ape somewhere calls.
The lonely servant’s tears are now exhausted,
The heartbreaking sound is in vain.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

Bamboo Flute
My solitary shakuhachi sings of bitterness almost beyond bearing.
I'm like a barbarian in a remote place, blowing upon a reed-wrapped flute.
Even at the crossroads (the capital), does anyone understand my music?
Indeed, within the school of Zen, Ikkyu has few friends

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sarumaru Dayu, poet active 708-715

In the mountain depths,
Treading through the crimson leaves,
Cries the wandering stag.
When I hear the lonely cry,
Sad,--how sad--the autumn is!

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Since there's no such thing as form
There can't be image, either.
How then can obstacles arise?

Safe within this principle
Bodhidharma was secure.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chen Sanli (1853-1937)

Crossing Poyang Lake On Way To Wucheng
Chen Sanli

My eyes riveted to Lake Viewing Pavilion,
Willows warmed by the setting sun.
Those who excel at statecraft,
Are only praised by cawing crows

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)

Autumn's first drizzle:
How delightful,
The nameless mountain.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saigyo (1118 - 1190 / Japan)

Winds Of Autumn
Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bai Juyi (722-846)

Peach Blossom at Dalin Temple
Across the world this June, the petals all have fallen,
But the mountain temple's peach blossom has just begun to bloom.
I regretted so much that spring had gone without a trace,
I didn't know that it had only moved up here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Li Qi (690-751)


There once was a man, sent on military missions,
A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.
Under the horses' hoofs he would meet his foes
And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,
Would slay whoever dared confront
Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.
...There were dark clouds below the hills, there were white clouds above them,
But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?
In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,
Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.
...She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,
Filling every soldier's eyes with homesick tears.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

Bamboo Flute
My solitary shakuhachi sings of bitterness almost beyond bearing.
I'm like a barbarian in a remote place, blowing upon a reed-wrapped flute.
Even at the crossroads (the capital), does anyone understand my music?
Indeed, within the school of Zen, Ikkyu has few friends

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yamabe no Akahito

When I take the path
To Tago's coast, I see
Perfect whiteness laid
On Mount Fuji's lofty peak
By the drift of falling snow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Li Bai (699-762)


A slip of the moon hangs over the capital;
Ten thousand washing-mallets are pounding;
And the autumn wind is blowing my heart
For ever and ever toward the Jade Pass....
Oh, when will the Tartar troops be conquered,
And my husband come back from the long campaign!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cai Qinrui (1671-1745)

Autumn Butterflies
Cai Qinrui

Expelled from Spring luster
they seek the forest,
Chrysanthemum blossoms
a hermit's abode
is my goal.
Perched of a branch
can this be
their village home?
Wind rises in the oaks
cold dew deep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Walking in the mountains
You step through clouds at the tip of the ridge
And seen in the reflected light
The earth has not a speck of dust.

Standing in the mountains
You avoid the road of life and death
You can open your eyes and see a thousand saints
But they don't turn to look at you.

Sitting in the mountains
You spend the whole long day like this
Sitting till you wear through the mat
No word of any teaching drops into your lap.

Lying in the mountains
You imagine you've a mule or horse beneath you.
You'll get through. Master is an old man.
He knows the way by heart.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wang Changling (698-756)


Drink, my horse, while we cross the autumn water!-
The stream is cold and the wind like a sword,
As we watch against the sunset on the sandy plain,
Far, far away, shadowy Lingtao.
Old battles, waged by those long walls,
Once were proud on all men's tongues.
But antiquity now is a yellow dust,
Confusing in the grasses its ruins and white bones.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Han Yu (768-824)

Snow in Spring

The new year's come, but still the plants don't grow,
First in March I'm startled by grass shoots.
The white snow thinks the colours of spring are late,
So through the pavilion and trees it flies like blossom.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

A wonderful autumn night, fresh and bright;
Over the echo of music and drums from a distant village
The single clear tone of a shakuhachi brings a flood of tears –
Startling me from a deep, melancholy dream.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kakinomoto no Hitomaro 660-739

Ah! the foot-drawn trail
Of the mountain-pheasant's tail
Drooped like down-curved branch!--
Through this long, long-dragging night
Must I keep my couch alone?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Han Shan Te' Ch'ing 1600

If you can smash through a single thought,
Then all deluded thinking will suddenly be stripped off.
You will feel
Like a flower in the sky that casts no shadows,
Like a bright sun emitting boundless light,
Like a limpid pond, transparent and clear.
After experiencing this,
There will be immeasurable feelings of light and ease,
And a sense of liberation.
There is nothing marvelous or extraordinary about it.
Do not rejoice and wallow in this ravishing experience.
If you do, then the Mara of Joy will possess you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Li Bai (699-762)

A Farewell Song of White Clouds
Li Bai

The white clouds float over the mountains of Chu--
As over the Mountains of Qin.
Everywhere the white clouds will follow you on.

They will follow you on everywhere--
With you they will enter the Chu mountains,
And cross the waters of the Xiang.

Yonder across the waters of the Xiang,
There is a cloak of ivy to wear,
And you may lie in a bed of white clouds.

Go swiftly home, O my friend!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)


I had so long been troubled by official hat and robe
That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland.
I am a neighbour now of planters and reapers.
I am a guest of the mountains and woods.
I plough in the morning, turning dewy grasses,
And at evening tie my fisher-boat, breaking the quiet stream.
Back and forth I go, scarcely meeting anyone,
And sing a long poem and gaze at the blue sky.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)


I clean my teeth in water drawn from a cold well;
And while I brush my clothes, I purify my mind;
Then, slowly turning pages in the Tree-Leaf Book,
I recite, along the path to the eastern shelter.
...The world has forgotten the true fountain of this teaching
And people enslave themselves to miracles and fables.
Under the given words I want the essential meaning,
I look for the simplest way to sow and reap my nature.
Here in the quiet of the priest's templecourtyard,
Mosses add their climbing colour to the thick bamboo;
And now comes the sun, out of mist and fog,
And pines that seem to be new-bathed;
And everything is gone from me, speech goes, and reading,
Leaving the single unison.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Li Bai (699-762)

An Imperial Concubine
Li Bai

Waiting, she finds her silk stockings
soaked with the dew drops
glistening on the marble palace steps.
Finally, she is moving
to let the crystal-woven curtain fall
when she casts one more glance
at the glamorous autumn moon.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


This is an exquisite truth:
Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.

Eventually there's a difference between them.
You don't borrow string when you've got a good strong rope.

Every Dharma is known in the heart.
After the rain, the mountain color intensifies.

Once you become familiar with the design of fate's illusions
Your ink slab will contain all of life and death.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lady Jito Tenno, Empress reign 690-698

Spring, it seems, has passed, And the summer come again; For the silk-white robes, So 'tis said, are spread to dry On the "Mount of Heaven's Perfume."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wei Yingwu (737-792)

EAST OF THE TOWN From office confinement all year long, I have come out of town to be free this morning Where willows harmonize the wind And green hills lighten the cares of the world. I lean by a tree and rest myself Or wander up and down a stream. ...Mists have wet the fragrant meadows; A spring dove calls from some hidden place. ...With quiet surroundings, the mind is at peace, But beset with affairs, it grows restless again.... Here I shall finally build me a cabin, As Tao Qian built one long ago.