Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wumen Huikai (1183-1260)

A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings on earth open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)

Autumn wind
by Kobayashi Issa

English version by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto
Original Language Japanese

Autumn wind --
mountain's shadow

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Xue Tao (768-831)


Its spirit leans like a thin hook
or opens round like a Han-loom fan,
slender shadow whose nature is to be full,
seen everywhere in the human world.
Xue Tao :

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)

In Praise of Elder Master Gu Ting
Again, I am in the Elder's debt.
Not only have I always filled myself with his treasures
But his visit here tonight has given me a theme for this discourse.

He arrived: A fresh wind blows over an open field.
He arrived: The beautiful sun comes in the morning.
Even golden walls have to respect the wind.

His treasures! He's the very source of Chan!
>From his depths issue fortune and wisdom.
With a wish he evaporates oceans of winter grief
And creates a Spring in all the Ten Directions.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Li Yu (937-978)

A Heavenly Woman's Imprisoned in the Palace (Buddhist Dancers)
Li Yu

A heavenly woman's imprisoned in the palace at Penglai Hill,
All are silent as she sleeps by day in the painted hall.
Her glossy hair is spread like cloud on the pillow,
Her embroidered clothes bear a wondrous fragrance.
I secretly come and slide the pearl lock back,
She's startled from her dream behind the silver screen.
Her smiling face is overflowing with bliss,
We gaze at each other with unbounded love.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Du Fu (712-770)

A View of Taishan

What shall I say of the Great Peak? –
The ancient dukedoms are everywhere green,
Inspired and stirred by the breath of creation,
With the Twin Forces balancing day and night.
…I bare my breast toward opening clouds,
I strain my sight after birds flying home.
When shall I reach the top and hold
All mountains in a single glance?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

P'ang Yun (740-808)

Without Name and Form
Well versed in the Buddha way,
I go the non-Way
Without abandoning my
Ordinary person's affairs.
The conditioned and
All are flowers in the sky.
Nameless and formless,
I leave birth-and-death.
P'ang Yün ( Hõ Un)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Li Shangyin (813-858)


I ponder on the poem of The Precious Dagger.
My road has wound through many years.
...Now yellow leaves are shaken with a gale;
Yet piping and fiddling keep the Blue Houses merry.
On the surface, I seem to be glad of new people;
But doomed to leave old friends behind me,
I cry out from my heart for Xinfeng wine
To melt away my thousand woes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ts'ai-ken T'an

Stretching the bow when the goose is not yet here;   Drawing the arrow when the rabbit is already dead.   Such is called inopportune timing.   Don't make wave when the wind has subsided;   Disembark as soon as the boat is ashore.   This is the proper way to act.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wang Wei (699-761)

Mountain fruit drop in the rain               and grass insects sing under my oil lamp.
               White hair, after all, can never change
               as yellow gold cannot be created.
               If you want to know how to get rid
               of age, its sickness, study nonbeing.

                                     -   Wang Wei,  699-761

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Li Po (701-762)

A Vindication

If heaven loved not the wine,
A Wine Star would not be in heaven;
If earth loved not the wine,
The Wine Spring would not be on the earth.
Since heaven and earth love the wine,
Need a tippling mortal be ashamed?
The transparent wine, I hear,
Has the soothing virtue of a sage,
While the turgid is rich, they say,
As the fertile mind of the wise.
Both the sage and the wise were drinkers,
Why seek for peers among gods and goblins?
Three cups open the grand door to bliss;
Take a jugful, the universe is yours.
Such is the rapture of the wine,
That the sober shall never inherit.
Li Po :

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Li Po (701-762)

Chuang Tzu And The Butterfly

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man ?
Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?
The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea
Returns anon to the shallows of a transparent stream.
The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the city,
Was once the Prince of the East Hill.
So must rank and riches vanish.
You know it, still you toil and toil,—what for?
Li Po :

Friday, August 15, 2014

Huang O (1498-1569)

To the tune “Soaring Clouds”
by Huang O (1498-1569)

You held my lotus blossom
In your lips and played with the
Pistil. We took one piece of
Magic rhinoceros horn
And could not sleep all night long.
All night the cock’s gorgeous crest
Stood erect. All night the bee
Clung trembling to the flower
Stamens. Oh my sweet perfumed
Jewel! I will allow only
My lord to possess my sacred
Lotus pond, and every night
You can make blossom in me
Flowers of fire.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

From moon wreathed
by Matsuo Basho

English version by Lucien Stryck
Original Language Japanese

From moon wreathed
bamboo grove,
cuckoo song.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

My Hovel

The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me.
The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.
No spring breeze even at this late date,
Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.
Ikkyu Sojun :

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bao Zhao (414-466)

Poem 5.

Don't you see how grass on the riverbank
in winter withers and dies, yet in spring floods the road?
Don't you see how the sun above the walls
evaporates to nothing at dusk
yet tomorrow at dawn is reborn?
But how can we achieve that?
When dead we're dead forever, down in Yellow Springs.
Life has lavish bitterness, is stingy with joy,
and only the young are filled with endless zeal.
So let's just meet whenever we can
and always keep wine-money ready by our beds.
Who cares for rank and fame inscribed on bamboo and silk?
Life, death, acclaim, obscurity–leave them to heaven.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wen Tingyun (812-870)

So Many Regrets
Tune: “Meng Jiang Nan”
Wen Tingyun
tr. E. C. Chang

Thousands and thousands of regrets.
The most painful one stays in the remote corner.
Mountain and moon know nothing
about what is on my mind.
Rain and wind blow down flowers
in front of my eyes.
The emerald clouds sway slantwise in the sky.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Su Tung-p'o (1037-1101)

Battle of Red Cliff

The Yangtze flows east
Washing away
A thousand ages of great men
West of the ramparts --
People say --
Are the fabled Red Cliffs of young Chou of the Three Kingdoms
Rebellious rocks pierce the sky
Frightening waves rip the bank
The backwash churns vast snowy swells --
River and mountains like a painting
how many heroes passed them, once ...

Think back to those years, Chou Yu --
Just married to the younger Chiao --
Brave, brilliant
With plumed fan, silk kerchief
Laughed and talked
While masts and oars vanished to flying ash and smoke!
I roam through ancient realms
Absurdly moved
Turn gray too soon --
A man's life passes like a dream --
Pour out a cup then, to the river, and the moon

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sami Mansei (fl. 720)

Living in this world -
to what shall I compare it?
Its like a boat
rowing out at break of day,
leaving no trace behind.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768)

The monkey is reaching
by Hakuin

English version by Norman Waddell
Original Language Japanese

The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He'll never give up.
If he'd let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

It is nice to get a glimpse of a lady bathing--
You scrubbed your flower face and cleansed your lovely body
While this old monk sat in the hot water,
Feeling more blessed than even the emperor of China!
Ikkyu Sojun :

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yaichi Aizu (1881-1956)

I stand as though 
only I am existing 
in heaven  and earth— 
at this solitariness 
Kannon, you are smiling.
Coming stealthily, 
who is it hitting the temple bell? 
It is late at night 
and time for even the Buddha 
to go into dreaming. 
In the Lord Buddha's 
drowsy eyes 
the ancient 
country fields of Yamato 
Have their hazy existence.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Niu Hsi-Chi



MIST is trying to hide the Spring-coloured hills,
The sky is pale, the stars are scattered and few.
The moon is broken and fading, yet there is light on your face,
These are the tears of separation, for now it is bright dawn.
We have said many words,
But our passion is not assuaged.
Turn your head, I have still something to say:
Remember my skirt of green open-work silk,
The sweet-scented grasses everywhere will prevent your forgetting.

Friday, August 1, 2014

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

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?