drafty mountain hut

your life is a shadow

by dairo tendo

Your life is a shadow
lived inside a dream,
Once that is realized
self and other vanish.
Pursue fame, the glory
of a prince won’t suffice;
Take a step or two back
a gourd dipper’s all you need.
No matters in the mind
passions quiet of themselves
mind freed from matter
means suchness everywhere.
The moment these truths
are grasped as your own
the mind opens and clears
like the empty void above

— Baisao from The Old Tea Seller: Life and Zen Poetry in 18th Century Kyoto translated by Norman Waddell

only what is necessary

by dairo tendo

Hermitage at Tahoma-san

My Drafty Mountain Hut at Tahoma-san

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Dwelling in the Mountains 28

by dairo tendo

I reverently welcome sage teachings
and humbly study the ancient sutras

here in luminous mountain expanses
far from towns full of meat’s stench.

The Great Vow of Limitless Compassion
saving all things from deep confusion–

it’s nothing but feckless chatter in places crowded with people.
It needs the nourishment of Way’s solitude to fulfill its nobility.

We revere the blooming radiance of Buddha’s Deer Park gardens
and admire the summit of his renowned Spirt-Vulture Mountain,

yearn for the pure forests resounding with his voice in Kevaddha
and long for the fragrant gardens where he taught in Amrapali:

but however distant and remote the Buddh’as pure face may seem,
they say the sounds of his lament are always with us everywhere,

so I built a monastery among the quiet mystery of high peaks,
hoping monks would come, walking-sticks in hand, and find repose.

These sitting cushions seem gifts given by Pradipataja Buddha
and our meals perfect kindness offered by Gandhakuta Buddha.

Here, our struggles all fading away, through sees through it all,
and this close to the inner pattern, antiquity continues refreshed.

Hsieh Ling-yun, translated by David Hinton in The Mountain Poems of Hsieh Ling-yun

Dwelling in the Mountains 27

by dairo tendo

 

Hook and line are never cast
here, and nets never spread;

no one shoots strung arrows
or sets out traps and snares.

If you look, the Humanity of wolves and tigers is clear,
but there’s no limit to the passion for killing such things.

I devoted myself to Way long ago, when I was still young,
awakening to the love all beings naturally feel for life,

and was led by this to see it throughout the realm of things.
By now, never far from my dwelling place in this love,

I future the easy joy of soaring gulls and darting fish,
no hint of mechanical mind here among forest and lake.

Hsieh Ling-yun, translated by David Hinton in The Mountain Poems of Hsieh Ling-yun

Absence (I)

by dairo tendo

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wind out of the south so bitter now
in distant clouds an emptiness
lost in endlessly stirring waves
out of waiting a precious silence

 

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 13

by dairo tendo

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Rohatsu Sesshin 2017

dawn fire pours from the sky
flowing down the mountain
strewn stars on liquid glass
a full moon leans in close
chased by rags of clouds
with a grinding cry
a blue heron lifts
tattered wings
flies away
gone

Autumn kessei 2017 Week 12

by dairo tendo

Getting Up Past Midnight and Gazing Across the West Garden,
I Encounter the Rising Moon

Waking to the sound of heavy dew falling,
I open the door, gaze past the west garden

to a cold moon rising over eastern ridges,
scattered bamboo, roots gone clear, clear.

Distance clarifies a waterfall into silence.
Now and then, a mountain bird calls out.

I lean on a column, stay till dawn in these
isolate depths of quiet: no words, no words.

— Liu Tsung-yüan (773–819)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home