KEMBO’S ONE ROAD 鐵笛倒吹 八十四

As you walk along a road
do you know where it begins
or where it will end
and what lies along it.

Perhaps the road
is a twisted loop
with neither beginning
or ending,
but if asked
where you are
on the road
you are always
here.


A reflection on Case 84 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui)

KEMBO’S TRANSMIGRATION 鐵笛倒吹 六十七

 

Awakening in the morning
when you first see the sun
and the dew resting on thee leaf
which eye are you using.
When you stare into the mirror
through what eye do you see,
and what eyes stare back at you.

When you see the deer
lying in the road
which eye do you use.
In a nightmare, when you slip
into the deeper, darker world,
what eye is used then.
When a friend fades into death,
what eye sees his departure.
Think carefully on this
for only one eye can see
the answer lying within.


A reflection on case 67 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki Tōsui)

FINDING A DIAMOND 沙石集 二

There are endless paths
on which to walk,
yet we find one
and remain on it
even when it
becomes rocky and rutted.

We do not see the road,
nor those who cross it,
watching only our feet.
It is only when we step
off of the cliff
that our feet are free
to walk other paths,
perhaps in the footsteps
of old Gudo.


A reflection on Case 2 of the Shaseki-Shu (Sand and Pebbles)

ON THE ROAD

On the road
I found Tao.
I held it
and gazed at it
from every angle,
but seeing nothing
placed it back
on the road.
On the road
I found a sutra.
I held the scroll
and gazed at its
strange letters,
but reading nothing
placed it back
on the road.
On the road
I found a small squirrel.
I held it
and gazed at its
broken leg.
I set the leg
and put it into my pocket
stroking its head,
and together we walked
down the road
chasing the sun.