drafty mountain hut

always at home, forever on the way

Month: October, 2017

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 7

by tendo zenji

5 Deer Park

No one seen. In empty mountains,
hints of drifting voice, no more.

Entering those deep woods, late sun-
light ablaze on green moss, rising.

6 Magnolia Park

Autumn mountains, gathering last light,
one bird follows another in flight away.

Shifting kingfisher-greens flash radiant
scatters. Evening mists: nowhere they are.

11 Vagary Lake

Flute-song carries beyond further shores.
In dusk light, I bid you a sage’s farewell.

Across this lake, in the turn of a head,
mountain greens furl into white clouds.

— Wang Wei (701-761)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 6

by tendo zenji

Autumn night, setting moon

Poised low in emptiness, a radiant moon
glistens incandescent in a drop of dew.

Trying to settle in, magpies startle away.
Fireflies float through open blinds, cold

shadow sparse in courtyard scholar-trees.
Fulling-stick rhythms tighten next door.

How will we ever meet in a land so vast?
Lingering out emptiness, I gaze and gaze.

-Meng Hao-jan (689-740)
translated by David Hinton in The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 5

by tendo zenji

Autumn Begins

Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen,
and little by little, clear winds turn colder and colder,

summer’s blaze giving way. My thatch hut grows still.
At the bottom stair, in bunchgrass, lit dew shimmers

Meng Hao-jan (689-740)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 4

by tendo zenji

Climbing Green-Cliff Mountain in Yung-Chia

Taking a little food, a light walking-stick,
I wander up to my home in quiet mystery

the path along streams winding far away
onto ridgetops, no end to this wonder at

slow waters silent in their frozen beauty
and bamboo glistening at heart with frost,

cascades scattering a confusion of spray
and broad forests crowding distant cliffs.

Thinking it’s moonrise I see in the west
and sunset I’m watching blaze in the east,

I hike on until dark, then linger out night
sheltered away in deep expanses of shadow.

Immune to high importance: that’s renown.
Walk humbly and it’s all promise in beauty,

for in quiet mystery the way runs smooth,
ascending remote heights beyond compare.

utter tranquility, the distinction between
yes this and no that lost, I embrace primal

unity, thought and silence woven together,
that deep healing where we venture forth.

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

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 3

by tendo zenji

Instructions for the Tenzo


 Since ancient times this position [tenzo] has been held by accomplished monks who have way-seeking mind, or by senior disciples with an aspiration for enlightenment.  This is so because the position requires wholehearted practice. Those without way-seeking mind will not have good results, in spite of their best efforts.  Regulations for Zen Monasteries states, “Use your way-seeking mind carefully to vary the menus from time to time, and offer the great assembly ease and comfort.”
Dōgen zenji, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi in Moon in a Dewdrop, p. 53