Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Saturday, January 31, 2015

by Niu-t'ou Fa-jung (594-657) (Gozu Hõyû 牛頭法融) of the Ox-head School of Chan and have speculated that the Xinxin Ming is an abridged version of the Mind Inscription.

Hsin Hsin Ming Inscribed on the Believing Mind
The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Yang Wanli (1127-1206)

Cold Sparrows

Hundreds of cold sparrows dive into the empty courtyard,
cluster on plum branches and speak of sun after rain at dusk.
They choose to gather en masse and kill me with noise.
Suddenly startled, they disperse. Then, soundlessness.
Yang Wanli :

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yau Ywe-Hwa (tang dynasty)

Still He Does Not Come
by Yau Ywe-Hwa

I have been here a long time,
With silver candles
And sparkling wine,
Walking up to the gate
And back again,
Watching for him
Till it's nearly daylight.

Now the moon has set,
The stars are few,
And still he does not come.

Suddenly wingbeats drum
In the misty willows;
A magpie flies off.

In China the magpie is associated with happiness. In this case the happiness of the poetess is flying away.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sho Ka (1991)

Black! crow standing in his eye all eternity Long shadows draw
Wild winds abate In morning's first light A broken teahouse
Bursting open The rose dawn fills My empty universe
No barrier now Lofty mountain to one Riding the wind.
-   Sho Ka, 1991
Source: Zen Group of Western Australia Newsletter, Spring 1991, pp.7

Monday, January 19, 2015

Li Yu (937-978)

Farewell Song
(Tune: Po Zhen Zi )
by Li Yu
tr.  E C. Chang
Forty years of family and reign.
Three thousand li *of river and mountainous scenes.
Phoenix pavilions and dragon towers rose to the sky.
Deep into the mist were beautiful trees,
flowery branches, and vines.
How little I knew about weapons and military might?

Suddenly I have become a captured prisoner.
So emaciated I now have the look of Shen’s slender waist
and Pan’s hoary hair.**
How could I forget the day I hurriedly
left my ancestral shrine?
The imperial musicians played farewell songs
as we said goodbye.
I faced my court ladies with tears in my eyes.

*li is a Chinese unit of length that is equivalent to about half kilometer.
**Shen Yue (441-513) was an official and scholar of the Liang Dynasty.
Pan Yue (247-300), known for his attractive appearance, was a scholar in the Jin Dynasty.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822)

The Temple of Fragrance

Who could have fashioned this marvel?
The mountain cracks into a wide, hollow cave.
Pious Buddhists struggle to set foot inside,
others gaze at it tirelessly.
Drippings form a sweet streamlet,
as sailors on incoming junks bend their heads.
City folk also flock to these springs and woods.
Clever, indeed, the Old Man in Heaven!
Ho Xuan Huong :

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hsu Yun (1839-1959)

An Exquisite Truth
by Hsu Yun

Original Language Chinese

This is an exquisite truth:
Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.
Inquiring about a difference
Is like asking to borrow string
when you've got a good strong rope.
Every Dharma is known in the heart.
After a rain, the mountain colors intensify.
Once you become familiar with the design of fate's illusions
Your ink-well will contain all of life and death.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

In My Youth I Put Aside My Studies

In my youth I put aside my studies
And I aspired to be a saint.
Living austerely as a mendicant monk,
I wandered here and there for many springs.
Finally I returned home to settle under a craggy peak.
I live peacefully in a grass hut,
Listening to the birds for music.
Clouds are my best neighbors.
Below a pure spring where I refresh body and mind;
Above, towering pines and oaks that provide shade and brushwood.
Free, so free, day after day --
I never want to leave!
Taigu Ryokan :

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Su Shih (1036-1101)

The Old Fisherman
Where does the fisherman go for a drink
when his fish and his crabs are all sold?
He never sets himself a limit: just keeps on drinking ’til he’s drunk,
and neither he nor the bartender totes up his tab

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

Why do people
Lavish decorations
On this set of bones
Destined to disappear
Without a trace?

—  Ikkyu Sojun

Monday, January 5, 2015

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?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wei Ying-wu (737-791)

Alone at Night at My Monastic Residence: To Secretary Ts’u
The recluse is in bed but not asleep
leaves are falling in flurries
a cold rain makes the late night darker
fireflies are gone from the tower
the blue flames of dawn are no help
I still suffer from a thin summer robe
I didn’t realize the year was so lateor living apart was so lonely

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Taeko Takaori (b1912)

A magpie bird, 
singing, is pointed out to me — 
moving the umbrella — 
the boat being turned with 
the oar — there, just ahead! 
Cast upon the ground 
the shadow of my own self 
is being walked through 
while my back is carrying 
the brightness of the moon. 
On the dawn-reddened 
sky they are spreading out, 
the singing cranes, 
a thousand of the cranes, 
and each voice a distinct voice.
Because the songbird 
pauses while flying there is 
a ceaseless swaying 
of the willow's sheer branches 
and a fall of loosened snow.
As on this day 
after I die also 
there will come again 
from young persimmon leaves 
a tapping sound of rain.
Now at evening 
light accumulates around 
a standing crane 
and it is only there shining 
continues without darkening.
The river's breadth 
is narrowed by abundant 
water hyacinths 
too late for flowering but 
green and profoundly quiet.