HUANG PO’S GOBBLERS OF DREGS

The old monk, leaning on his cane
smiled at the man prostrating himself
before the great Buddha repeatedly.
The monk gently interrupted the man,
“what is it you hope to achieve
by all of these prostrations, you clearly
are seeking something, you clearly
have not found what you are seeking.”
“I am seeking the wisdom that only
the great Buddha can provide,”
the man said, looking into the eyes
of the old monk, who only smiled.
The monk reached within his robe,
pulled out a mirror and held it
in front of the man, who stared
deeply into it, smiled and walked away.
The monk prostrated himself three times
to the great Golden Buddha, who smiled.



A reflection on Case 11 of the Shobogenzo

SHISHUANG’S THIS SIDE AND THAT SIDE

You like being here, but
you suspect you would like being there
as well, if not more than being here.
This puzzles you, for you fear
leaving here to go there, in case
when you arrive there you don’t like
being there and would rather be here.
You should sit and ponder which
is better for you, here or there,
even though you cannot be certain
just what is there, or what
there will be here if you go there.
But if you do go there, there will
then be here, and here will then be there.
Now consider why must here and there
be different, since there contains here,
and here is most all of there.
This question is a naked singularity
and deep within it lies
everywhere you ought to be.


A reflection on Case 89 of the Shobogenzo

THREE MORE VIEWS OF THE SHOBOGENZO

BASO’S HEART SUTRA

When my teacher asks
of my practice
I shall be still
for the eye speaks volumes
and the mouth sees
all that lies before it.

HŌON’S AWAKENING

A fool always asks
how do I get to
where will I find
what will come.

A wise man
can swallow an ocean
in a single gulp,
hear symphonies
in a cricket’s chirp
and light up night skies
with the lamp within.

MASTER LINJI’S ORIGINAL PURITY

The mirror, you say
reflects your face
but how do you know this?
It could be
a raging river,
a still pond
or a mountain.
Close your eyes-
what is your face now?

THREE VIEWS OF THE SHOBOGENZO

SEIGAN’S WHISK

If a master asks
where I am from
I shall tell him.
If he lifts his stick
and asks if
they have this stick there
I will grab the stick
and cast it
into the ocean
so it may go
where it chooses.

HYAKUJO REMAINS SEATED

The gift of dharma
flies off
in ten directions
on silent winds.
Only your body
can bridge
the infinite abyss.

NANSEN’S WATER BUFFALO

Along the path
there is always the sun
but where do you find it
in the heart of night.
The moon is a mirror
even the water buffalo
knows this clearly
and a shrouding cloud
is but a million lenses
overwhelming the eye.
Only when you see this
may you stand
in the field
with the great beast.