Sitting with a monk

at the feet of the master

when his mouth opens

what will you hear?

If you both see a sudden light

will you say something when asked?


Walk slowly away from questions

and keep your answers

tucked away in your straw hat

and lit all be carried off

on a forgotten wind.


SHOZAN’S PHRASE         鐵笛倒吹

 If, on a clear day

you are asked for a phrase

which is neither right nor wrong

how will you respond?


Will you find the wit

of Shozan or will your tongue

wisely fall silent.


Better still, look

to the white cloud

and let it speak for you.


TOJI’S DINNER         鐵笛倒吹

 If served a plate of grass

will you take up fork and knife

or place fists on forehead

and extend your thumbs?


If the meal is later served,

will you paw at the earth

kicking up small clouds of dust

or bow deeply to your host

while sipping tea?

Someone will ask Kannon

of your behavior and the Boddhisatva

will simply say Toji.