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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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zoe light

poems by Zen monk Ryokan

A number of these were in this morning's NDHighlights, and I'm including my favourites here. When I read them quietly today and imagined doing what he does in the poems, they seemed to induce an almost meditative state in me. He makes the austere life of a wandering monk sound almost romantic to me.
My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest;
Every year the green ivy grows longer.
No news of the affairs of men,
Only the occasional song of a woodcutter.
The sun shines and I mend my robe;
When the moon comes out I read Buddhist poems.
I have nothing to report my friends.
If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after
so many things.


A cold night - sitting alone in my empty room
Filled only with incense smoke.
Outside, a bamboo grove of a hundred trees;
On the bed several volumes of poetry.
The moon shines from the top of the window,
And the entire neighbourhood is still
except for the cry of insects.
Looking at this scene, limitless emotion,
But not one word.


Empty and fleeting My years are gone
And now, quivering and frail,
I must fade away.


At night, deep in the mountains I sit in zazen.
The affairs of men never reach here.
In the stillness I sit on a cushion across from the
empty window.
The incense has been swallowed up
by the endless night;
My robe has become a garment of white dew.
Unable to sleep, I walk into the garden;
Suddenly, above the highest peak, the round moon appears.


My life may appear melancholy,
But travelling through this world
I have entrusted myself to Heaven.
In my sack, three sho of rice;
By the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
If someone asks what is the mark of enlightenment
or illusion,
I cannot say.......wealth and honor are nothing but dust,
As the evening rain falls I sit in my hermitage
And stretch out both feet in answer.

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seekerofsages May 2nd, 2005
......thank you.....

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