21 July 2008

Zen Poems

The Ultimate Attainment

The past is already past.

Don't try to regain it.

The present does not stay.

Don't try to touch it.

From moment to moment.

The future has not come;

Don't think about it


Whatever comes to the eye,

Leave it be.

There are no commandments

To be kept;

There's no filth to be cleansed.

With empty mind really

Penetrated, the dharmas

Have no life.

When you can be like this,

You've completed

The ultimate attainment.

P'ang Yün ( Hõ Un)

Mind at Peace

When the mind is at peace,

the world too is at peace.

Nothing real, nothing absent.

Not holding on to reality,

not getting stuck in the void,

you are neither holy or wise, just

an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

P'ang Yün ( Hõ Un) (The Enlightened Heart 34)


Versified questions and replies between T'ang emperor Shun-tsung (順宗) and Ch'an master Fo-kuang Ju-man (佛光如滿 Bukkõ Nyoman):


佛從何方來 From where did the Buddha come,

滅向何方去 To where did the Buddha go?

既言常住世 If the Buddha is still around,

佛今在何處 Where can be the Buddha found?             Shun-tsung


佛從無 From non-activity the Buddha came

滅向無 To non-activity the Buddha disappeared.

法身滿虚空 Cosmic reality his spiritual body is,

常住無心處 In no-mind the Buddha will appear.        Ju-man


山河與大海 Great mountains, rivers and seas,

天地及日月 Heaven and earth, sun and moon.

時至皆歸盡 Who says there is no birth and death?

誰言不生滅 For even these meet their end soon.        Shun-tsung


生亦未曾生 Birth is also before birth,

滅亦未曾滅 Death is also before death.

了見無生處 If you have attained no-mind,

自然無法説 Naturally there will be nothing left.        Ju-man 

Forgetting the Self

To learn Buddha Dharma is to learn the self.

To learn the self is to forget the self.

To forget the self is to become one with

endless dimension, Universal Mind.

Dõgen (Zen Word, Zen Calligraphy 23)

("Endless dimension, Universal Mind" is another name for Amitâbha Buddha)



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