Water not disturbed by waves settles down of itself. A mirror not covered with dust is clear and bright. The mind should be like this. When one big clouds it passes away its brightness appears. Happiness must not be so awful. When what disturbs passes away happened next comes of itself.
‘At the sound of the bell now in the silent night. I wake from my dream in this dream world of ours. Gazing at the reflection of the moon in a clear pool. I see beyond my form. My real form. The song of birds. The voices of insects, are all means of conveying truth to the mind. In flowers and grasses, we see messages of the Tao. Of the Way of Nature. The scholar, pure and clear of mind, serene and open of heart, should find in everything what nourishes him. Men know how to read printed books. They do not know how to read the unprinted ones. They can play on a stringed harp, but not on a stringless one. Applying themselves to the superficial instead of the profound. How should they understand music or poetry? If you know the insignificance of things, the misty moon of the five lakes is all within you. If you understand the activity of human phenomena, the heroism and nobility of the great man of all ages is in your grasp.
Walking alone, leaning on a staff in a valley of pine trees, clouds rise around my monkish robes. Sleeping with a book as my pillow by the window beneath the bamboos, I wake. When the moonlight steps on the floor clocks. A solitary cloud comes out of the mountain cave. It stays or departs without reference to anything else. The bright mirror of the moon hangs in the sky. It is aloof from both quietness and clamor.
The Zen says, when you are hungry, eat. When you are weary, sleep. Poetry aims at the description in common language of beautiful scenery. The Sublime is contained in the ordinary, the hardest in the easiest. What is self-conscious and ulterior is far from the truth. What is mindless is near.
The body is like a boat adrift floating along, or motionless in a deep pool. The mind is like a piece of burnt wood. What matters if it is that feeling of vanished with scented lacquer?
Reading the Book of Changes at the morning window. I rub a vermillion stick of ink in the dew that drips from the pine trees. Discussing the sutras with a visitor, the sound of the wooden copper is borne away on the wind from the bamboos. An ancient worthy says, ‘The shadow of the bamboo sweeps over the stairs, but the dust does not know. The disc of the moon passes through the water of the lake leaving no trace.’ One of our Confucians says, ‘The stream rushes down swiftly but all is silent around. The flowers fall incessantly. But we feel quiet.’ If you have grasped the meaning of this in all your relationships with things, you are free in mind and body.
If your heart is without stormy waves, everywhere are blue mountains and green trees. If our real nature is creative like nature itself, wherever we may be, we see that all things are free, like sporting fishes and circling kites.
When in the mood, I take off my shoes and walk barefooted through the sweet-smelling grasses of the fields, wild birds without fear accompanying me. My heart at one with nature, I loosen my shirt as I sit absorbed beneath the falling petals, while the clouds silently unfold me as if wishing to keep me there.
Just as a whirlwind roaring down a valley leaves nothing behind it, so the ear is to have nothing to do with right and wrong. Just as the moon only reflects its light in a pool, so the mind, empty and unattached does not know itself from the outside world as two things.
When waves reach the sky, those in the boat are aware of the danger, but onlookers are trembling with fear. A drunken diner is swearing and cussing at the others but they are piled on and on and whereas those outside the biting that tongues and apprehension of a quarrel. Thus, with the superior man his body may be immersed in affairs, but his mind is above and beyond them.
Though my tea is not the very best, the pot is never dry. My wine is not exquisite but the barrel is not empty. My plane loot, though stringless is always into. My short flute, though a form of this one, suits me well. Following Buddhas, adapting ourselves to circumstances and our confusion acting in accord with one’s position these two phrases are the life boy for us to pass over the sea of life. The paths of life our illimitable. If we desire perfection, all kinds of obstacles arise. But if we obey our destiny, we are free everywhere.
The following are verses from a book called Zenrin Kushu. Verses which are collected from ancient Chinese and Japanese classics, and which are used by a Zen monks to understand the spiritual discipline of the koan. That is to say, their understanding of the ancient dialogues between Zen masters and they’re disciples. The translation of these verses is by Ruth Saki. From her book Zen dust. Published by Harcourt Brace and World.
‘That cold kills you with cold. But heat kills you with heat. And there isn’t a piece of tile to cover his head well there isn’t an inch of US for him to stand on.
When the mind wants to speak about it Words fail. When the mind seeks affinity with it, thought vanishes. Sun and moon cannot eliminate it completely, heaven and earth cannot cover it entirely. Though we are born of the same lineage, we don’t die at the same lineage. When we are reviling one another, you may give me tit for tat. When we are spitting at one another, you may spew me with slobber. The Deer Hunter doesn’t see the mountains. The miser doesn’t see man.
Last year’s poverty was not real poverty. But this year’s poverty is poverty indeed. The Angels find no parts on which to strew flowers. The heretics secretly spying, find nothing to see. Last year’s plum and this year’s willow. Their color and fragrance, ours of old. At the limits of heaven, the sun rises and the moon sets. Beyond the balustrade the mountains deepen, and the waters become chilled.
He sees only the winding of the stream and the twisting of the path. He does not know that already he is in the land of the immortals.
He who would understand the meaning of Buddha nature. Must wash with the season. And the causal relations. Every Voice is the voice. Every form is the beautiful. The wild goose has no intention of leaving traces. The water has no thought of engulfing reflections.
The instant you speak about a thing, you miss the mark. How can the Mountain Finch know the wild swans aspiring. The eight-cornered mortar rushes across the sky. The Badger and the White Bull emit a glorious radiance. With no birds singing, the mountain is yet more still. In the spring beyond time the withered tree flowers. When the snowy Heron stands in the snow, the colors are not the same.
A pair of monkeys are reaching for the moon in the water. When pure gold enters the fire, its color becomes still brighter. Entering fire, he is not burned. Entering water, he has not drowned. A fish that can swallow a boat, doesn’t swim around in a Valley Stream. I do not emulate the sages, I do not esteem my own spirit.
From the top of the solitary peak, I gaze at the clouds. Close by, the old ferry landing, I am splashed with mire. The fishermen, singing on the misty shore, all extol good fortune and honor. The woodcutters, chanting among the lofty trees, together rejoice in the air of peace. On the top of the solitary peak, he whistles at the moon and sleeps in the clouds. Within the vast ocean, he overturns the waves and rouses the breakers. Not to take what heaven gives is, is to encur Heaven’s calamity. Not to act when the moment comes, is to enter heavens misfortune. Enwrapped in billows of white clouds, I do not see the white clouds. Absorbed in the sound of flowing water, I do not hear the flowing water.
I take blindness as vision, deafness as hearing. I take danger as safety. And prosperity as misfortune. When I see smoke beyond the mountain, I know there’s a fire. When I see horns beyond the fence, I know there’s an ox.
When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage. When a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man. Though a cockatoo can talk, it is still just a bird. Though an orangutan can speak, it is still just a beast. But for the rule and the compass, the square and the circle could not be determined. But for the plum line, the straight and the bent could not be rectified.
The dragon hum in the dead tree. The eyeball in the dry skull. When you are really master of the myriad forms throughout the four seasons there’s no weathering, no decay. A light breeze stirs the lonely pine. The sound is more pleasant from close-by. And now that I’ve shed my skin. Completely one true reality unknown exist.