Monday, September 30, 2013
OF THE MARCHES
BY LI T'AI-PO
II is the Fifth Month, 1
But still the Heaven-high hills
Shine with snow.
There are no flowers
For the heart of the earth is yet too chilly.
From the centre of the camp
Comes the sound of a flute
Playing "The Snapped Willow." 2
No colour mists the trees,
Not yet have their leaves broken.
At dawn, there is the shock and shouting of battle,
Following the drums and the loud metal gongs.
At night, the soldiers sleep, clasping the pommels of their jade-ornamented saddles.
They sleep lightly,
With their two-edged swords girt below their loins,
So that they may be able in an instant to rush upon the Barbarians 3
And destroy them.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
AN EXCUSE FOR NOT RETURNING
THE VISIT OF A FRIEND
Do not be offended because
I am slow to go out. You know
Me too well for that. On my lap
I hold my little girl. At my
Knees stands my handsome little son.
One has just begun to talk.
The other chatters without
Stopping. They hang on my clothes
And follow my every step.
I can’t get any farther
Than the door. I am afraid
I will never make it to your house.
Friday, September 27, 2013
When the Dharma body awakens completely (from The Shodoka)
by Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku
English version by Robert Aitken
Original Language Chinese
When the Dharma body awakens completely,
There is nothing at all.
The source of our self-nature
Is the Buddha of innocent truth.
Mental and physical reactions come and go
Like clouds in the empty sky;
Greed, hatred, and ignorance appear and disappear
Like bubbles on the surface of the sea.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I walk across a frozen pond.
Here is where the water-lilies were.
Under here was the black rock where the catfish would hide.
Occasionally a cracking sound as if it is splitting
as love grows deeper.
All the irises are bent over.
My shoulders, knees, feet, that all summer long I saw reflected, sitting on this rock, have frozen like the irises.
They too show no sign of having watched the reflection of something before this.
Although the fourteenth-day moon comes in its course, icily
all remain silent.
Suppose someone comes along,
loud steps treading on the pond,
and addresses me anxiously, saying:
“This is where I used to be.”
“This is where that star used to come.”
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
OUTSIDE A MOUNTAIN TEMPLE RESTING AT NOON IN A GROVE OF BAMBOO
A summer day can seem as long as a year.
Mountain people know this.
I had forgottten it.
Because I'm simple and not very foresighted
I had destroyed my life's half-way house.
This mountain pavilion was not a rest house for strangers.
Yet, a bamboo screen is as good for privacy as a ceramic screen.
I was just getting comfortable and had pulled out my pen
When I suddenly realized I was looking up at stars.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Even if you consume as many books
English version by John Stevens
Original Language Japanese
Even if you consume as many books
As the sands of the Ganges
It is not as good as really catching
One verse of Zen.
If you want the secret of Buddhism,
Here it is: Everything is in the Heart!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Thirty years ago I was born into the world.
A thousand, ten thousand miles I've roamed.
By rivers where the green grass grows thick,
Beyond the border where the red sands fly.
I brewed potions in a vain search for life everlasting,
I read books, I sang songs of history,
And today I've come home to Cold Mountain
To pillow my head on the stream and wash my ears.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Beneath the Moon, Before the Steps (Gratitude for New Bounties)
Beneath the moon, before the steps, all cherry blossom has fallen,
Enwreathed in smoke, she looks sorrowful lying in bed.
She feels the same regret today as one long year ago.
Both braids like cloud in disarray, her face is wan and sallow,
The crimson corset wet from wiping tears.
But what's the reason why she suffers so?
She lies in a drunken dream before the window.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Gathering the Mind
by Sun Buer
English version by Thomas Cleary
Original Language Chinese
Before our body existed,
One energy was already there.
Like jade, more lustrous as it's polished,
Like gold, brighter as it's refined.
Sweep clear the ocean of birth and death,
Stay firm by the door of total mastery.
A particle at the point of open awareness,
The gentle firing is warm.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Thoughts on an Ancient Site:
Birthplace of Wang Qiang
Through flocks of mountains, myriad valleys,
I arrive in Jingmen,
where Ming-fei was born and bred--*
the village is still there.
Once she left the crimson terraces,
there was nothing but endless desert;
only her evergreen grave is left
to face the twilight.
Portraits have recorded
her spring-fresh face;
the tinkle of girdle pendants heralds
her soul's vain return by moonlight.
For a thousand years the pipa
has wailed in its alien tongue,
as if its strings bemoan in song
her tragic tale of grief.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Climbing the Mountain
by Yuan Mei
English version by J. P. Seaton
Original Language Chinese
I burned incense, swept the earth, and waited
for a poem to come...
Then I laughed, and climbed the mountain,
leaning on my staff.
How I'd love to be a master
of the blue sky's art:
see how many sprigs of snow-white cloud
he's brushed in so far today.
Monday, September 16, 2013
MIRROR POND ON MOUNT TAIBO IN SHANXI
The water and my mind have both settled down
Into perfect stillness.
Sun and moon shine bright in it.
At night I see in the surface
The enormous face of my old familiar moon.
I don't think you've ever met the source of this reflection.
All shrillness fades into the sound of silence.
But now and then a puff of mist floats across the mirror.
It confuses me a little
But not enough to make me forget to forget my cares.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
The Profound Definitive Meaning
English version by Marpa Translation Committee
Original Language Tibetan
For the mind that masters view the emptiness dawns
In the content seen not even an atom exists
A seer and seen refined until they're gone
This way of realizing view, it works quite well
When meditation is clear light river flow
There is no need to confine it to sessions and breaks
Meditator and object refined until they're gone
This heart bone of meditation, it beats quite well
When you're sure that conducts work is luminous light
And you're sure that interdependence is emptiness
A doer and deed refined until they're gone
This way of working with conduct, it works quite well
When biased thinking has vanished into space
No phony facades, eight dharmas, nor hopes and fears,
A keeper and kept refined until they're gone
This way of keeping samaya, it works quite well
When you've finally discovered your mind is dharmakaya
And you're really doing yourself and others good
A winner and won refined until they're gone
This way of winning results, it works quite well.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Yellow Crane Tower
Cui Hào 704-754
The ancient one
flew off on his yellow crane,
Now this place is empty
only Yellow Crane Tower remains.
The Yellow Crane
once gone never returns,
White clouds for a thousand years
empty and remote.
Boats and Hanyang trees
reflect in clear water,
Lush vegetation thrives
on Parrot Shoal.
At dusk I ask for news of home,
These mist shrouded waters
heavy on my heart.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Reading the Classic of Hills and Seas
In the summer grass and trees have grown.
Over my roof the branches meet.
Birds settle in the leaves.
I enjoy my humble place.
Ploughing’s done, the ground is sown,
Time to sit and read my book.
The narrow deeply-rutted lane
Means my friends forget to call.
Content, I pour the new Spring wine,
Go out and gather food I’ve grown.
A light rain from the East,
Blows in on a pleasant breeze.
I read the story of King Mu,
See pictures of the Hills and Seas.
One glance finds all of heaven and earth.
What pleasures can compare with these?
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
In these quiet years growing calmer,
Lacking knowledge of the world’s affairs,
I stop worrying how things will turn out.
My quiet mind makes no subtle plans.
Returning to the woods I love
A pine-tree breeze rustles in my robes.
Mountain moonlight fills the lute’s bowl,
Shows up what learning I have left.
If you ask what makes us rich or poor
Hear the Fisherman’s voice float to shore.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A Rural Home
The cock crows three times; the sky is almost light.
Someone's lined up bowls of rice, along with flasks of tea.
Anxiously, the peasants rush to start the ploughing early,
I pull aside the willow shutter and gaze at the morning stars.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The Arbour to Joyful Rain
by: Su Shi (1037-1101)
translated by Herbert A. Giles
Should Heaven rain pearls, the cold cannot wear them as clothes;
Should Heaven rain jade, the hungry cannot use it as food.
It has rained without cease for three days--
Whose was the influence at work?
Should you say it was that of your Governor,
The Governor himself refers it to the Son of Heaven.
But the Son of Heaven says "No! It was God."
And God says "No! It was Nature."
And as Nature lies beyond the ken of man,
I christen this arbour instead.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Blending With The Wind
Blending with the wind,
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.
By the hearth
I stretch out my legs,
Idling my time away
Confined in this hut.
Counting the days,
I find that February, too,
Has come and gone
Like a dream.