Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Du Fu (712-770)

Qiang Village
Red clouds tower in the west,
The sun is sinking on the plain.
A sparrow chirps on the wicker gate,
I return from a thousand li away.
My wife and children are shocked to see me,
Then calm themselves and wipe their tears.
I floated through this disordered life,
By chance I have managed to return alive.
The neighbours all lean over the wall,
And they as well are sighing and sobbing.
Late at night we bring out candles,
And face each other as in a dream.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Han Shan (750)

You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.

- Han Shan, 750

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


This place used to be called Red Flower Grotto.
Now it's called Ten Thousand Buddha Mountain.
Visitors come here to play chess
And listen to the pouring rain safe inside their plaited huts.

The beauty of a thousand peaks still fills this grotto.
Streams flow into it and pools turn nine times as they form.
In the countryside nearby, tigers prowl.
Above, the pines jut into the sky just as they did in the days of Han.

The Spirit Dragon flies around through the dark rain.
But only white ghostly visions dance through the Chan gate of Awakening.
The Sangha gather beyond the boundary of the blue sky.
The Sangha spend their leisure with the white clouds.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Du Fu (712-770)


On the third day of the Third-month in the freshening weather
Many beauties take the air by the Changan waterfront,
Receptive, aloof, sweet-mannered, sincere,
With soft fine skin and well-balanced bone.
Their embroidered silk robes in the spring sun are gleaming --
With a mass of golden peacocks and silver unicorns.
And hanging far down from their temples
Are blue leaves of delicate kingfisher feathers.
And following behind them
Is a pearl-laden train, rhythmic with bearers.
Some of them are kindred to the Royal House --
The titled Princesses Guo and Qin.
Red camel-humps are brought them from jade broilers,
And sweet fish is ordered them on crystal trays.
Though their food-sticks of unicorn-horn are lifted languidly
And the finely wrought phoenix carving-knife is very little used,
Fleet horses from the Yellow Gate, stirring no dust,
Bring precious dishes constantly from the imperial kitchen.
...While a solemn sound of flutes and drums invokes gods and spirits,
Guests and courtiers gather, all of high rank;
And finally, riding slow, a dignified horseman
Dismounts at the pavilion on an embroidered rug.
In a snow of flying willow-cotton whitening the duckweed,
Bluebirds find their way with vermilion handkerchiefs --
But power can be as hot as flame and burn people's fingers.
Be wary of the Premier, watch for his frown.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

my self of long ago
what will happen to buddha
man of original inactivity
you must travel

no such thing as mind
all are just as they are
to return to the sky of our native place?
who is the buddha?

i would like to offer you something
we have no companion
the real form of buddha
why are people called buddhas
original man must return

Friday, February 24, 2012

Minamoto no Muneyuki (c. 983)

Winter loneliness
In a mountain village grows
Only deeper, when
Guests are gone, and leaves and grass
Are withered: troubling thoughts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wang Wei (699-759)

Remote bamboo grove
Picking my lute
whistling loudly.
Deep in the woods
no companions,
Until the moon comes
and shares its lustre with me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Li Bai (701-762)


Pure wine costs, for the golden cup, ten thousand coppers a flagon,
And a jade plate of dainty food calls for a million coins.
I fling aside my food-sticks and cup, I cannot eat nor drink....
I pull out my dagger, I peer four ways in vain.
I would cross the Yellow River, but ice chokes the ferry;
I would climb the Taihang Mountains, but the sky is blind with snow....
I would sit and poise a fishing-pole, lazy by a brook --
But I suddenly dream of riding a boat, sailing for the sun....
Journeying is hard,
Journeying is hard.
There are many turnings --
Which am I to follow?....
I will mount a long wind some day and break the heavy waves
And set my cloudy sail straight and bridge the deep, deep sea.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Du Chang (c. 1080)

In Praise of Huaqing Palace
Du Chang fl. 1080

A journey of dozens of stages from the Southland ends
With the pale moon and dawn clouds of Huaqing
And the West Wind rushing past Sunrise Pavilion
Entering the tall willows it sounds like rain

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Zenrin Kushu - Eicho (1429-1504)

The raindrops patter on the bamboo leaf, but these are not tears of grief;
This is only the anguish of him who is listening to them.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

Like vanishing dew,
a passing apparition
or the sudden flash
of lightning -- already gone --
thus should one regard one's self.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Minamoto no Muneyuki (c. 983)

Winter loneliness
In a mountain village grows
Only deeper, when
Guests are gone, and leaves and grass
Are withered: troubling thoughts.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chia Tao ((779-843)

Morning Travel
Rising early
to begin the journey;
not a sound
from the chickens next door.

Beneath the lamp,
I part from the innkeeper;
on the road, my skinny horse
moves through the dark.

Slipping on freshly
hoarfrosted stones,
threading through woods,
we scare up birds roosting.

Behind us, a bell
tolls in far mountains;
the colors of daybreak
gradually clear.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Su Shi (1036-1101)

Bell Mountain Evening Moon
Su Shi

Ten thousand ravines
thousands of cliffs
night not yet spent,
Pines and my white hair
share green moonlight.
In this celestial place
not a single human voice,
Who burns cypress incense
in heaven's golden palace?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Du Fu (712-770)

A Guest Comes
Du Fu 712-770

North of my cottage
south of my cottage
everywhere spring waters,
But for visitors
only gulls
daily come.
I didn't sweep
the flower path
not expecting guests,
The gate is open now
do come in!
The meal
far from the market
a simple thing,
Grab a wine cup
a poor houshold
only old home brew
If you agree
I'll invite the old cdger next door
to join us for a drink,
Across the fence
we'll hoot and holler
and drain our cups!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987)

A Flower is Always Happy
A flower is always happy because it is beautiful.
Bees sing their song of loneliness and weep.
A waterfall is busy hurrying to the ocean.
A poet is blown by the wind.

A friend without inside or outside
And a rock that is not happy or sad
Are watching the winter crescent moon
Suffering from the bitter wind.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Li Bai - Endless Yearning II


"The sun has set, and a mist is in the flowers;
And the moon grows very white and people sad and sleepless.
A Zhao harp has just been laid mute on its phoenix holder,
And a Shu lute begins to sound its mandarin-duck strings....
Since nobody can bear to you the burden of my song,
Would that it might follow the spring wind to Yanran Mountain.
I think of you far away, beyond the blue sky,
And my eyes that once were sparkling
Are now a well of tears.
...Oh, if ever you should doubt this aching of my heart,
Here in my bright mirror come back and look at me!"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481`)

Form in Void
The tree is stripped,
All color, fragrance gone,
Yet already on the bough,
Uncaring spring!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fujiwara no Kanasuke (877-933)

Over Mika's plain,
Gushing forth and flowing free,
Is Izumi's stream.
I do not know if we have met:
Why, then, do I long for her?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ryokan (1758-1831)

The Lotus
First blooming in the Western Paradise,
The lotus has delighted us for ages.
Its white petals are covered with dew,
its jade green leaves spread out over the pond,
And its pure fragrance perfumes the wind.
Cool and majestic, it raises from the murky water.
The sun sets behind the mountains
But I remain in the darkness, too captivated to leave.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


It seems we just met when we so hurriedly parted!
Throughout the whole morning, I had no words to say.
But from your pointed "direct mind" teaching
I pulled out that precious stalactite.
And then I saw that Empty Space you had cracked open!

I won't embellish. Doesn't need sauce. Doesn't need more flavor.
It doesn't need any effort of eyes, ears, nose or tongue.
It was that tip! That point of your brush!
And there was the disk of the moon and the world, bright and clean!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


A Dream Journey to the Mount Tiantai

Across the Stone Bridge I soared until I came
to the Lotus Throne,
Wandering through halls and towers, I saw
firshand the supreme causes.
When a fragrant vapor suffused my clothes,
for the first time I felt cleansed,
When the sound of a bell reached my ears, in
a split second, I was dust-free.
The wooden lad and the stone maiden, the
host within the guest,
Green bamboo and yellow blossoms, I now
see what they mean.
Recalling the past, I lean into the wind and let
out three long sighs;
On the azure waters, the bright moon's
reflection glows like a jewel.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Li Bai (Li Po) (701-762)


"I am endlessly yearning
To be in Changan.
...Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well;
A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat;
The high lantern flickers; and. deeper grows my longing.
I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,
Single as a flower, centred from the clouds.
Above, I see the blueness and deepness of sky.
Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water....
Heaven is high, earth wide; bitter between them flies my sorrow.
Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?
Endless longing
Breaks my heart."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saigyo (1118-1190)

Having Seen Them Long
Having seen them long,
I hold the flowers so dear
That when they scatter
I find it all the more sad
To bid them my last farewell.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

A Fisherman
Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fujiwara no Tadahira

If the maple leaves
On Ogura mountain
Could only have hearts,
They would longingly await
The emperor's pilgrimage.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Han Shan (c. 750)

Beams with a thatch over them, - a wild man's dwelling!
Before my gate pass horses and carts seldom enough;
The lonely woods gather birds;
The broad valley stream harbours fish;
With my children I pluck the wild fruits of the trees;
My wife and I hoe the rice field;
What is there in my house?
A single case of books.

- Han Shan, 750