Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Way doesn't rise or fall

The Way doesn't rise or fall
those who are blind look for an advantage
sages and wise men escape from this world
where counterfeit truth prevails
rein in your senses don't indulge them
be ever mindful and nothing else
lose your body beneath a patched robe
and say good-bye to a thousand rebirths
A life lasts one hundred years
but which of us gets them all
precarious as a teetering thatched hut
or a leaking boat in a storm
mediocre monks are pathetic
would-be masters are sadder still
the world's empty ways aren't what they were
some days I shut my old gate tight
Green mist red clouds a trail through bamboo
and a hut where quiet lasts
just let go and worries end
stop to think and the mind reappears
an unpolished mirror holds millions of shapes
a bell doesn't ring until it is rung
our original nature is the real buddha
nothing solid or empty nothing old or new
A monk in the wild sits quiet and relaxed 
he survives all year on what karma brings
bamboo and yellow flowers occupy his thoughts
white clouds and streams simplify his life
he doesn't mistake a rock for a tiger on a hill
or the image of a bow for a snake in a bowl
in the woods he knows nothing of the world's affairs
at sunset he watches the crows return
~ Stonehouse
from "The Zen Works of Stonehouse"
Book One: Mountain Poems
translated by Red Pine