drafty mountain hut

Passing Through

by dairo tendo

Passing through

Kyo mo kyo mo
kasunde kurasu
koie kana

Somewhere between Eugene and Portland,
wipers slapping time to an ancient folksong
I got on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan,
I thought again of my old friend
with whom I walked in the Rose Garden
on a sunny August afternoon
twenty years ago, walked and talked
the life of poetry as if it could be
almost a religious vow.

Rain pouring down
and hundreds of miles to go,
I pulled off the highway
and drove through town until I found
my way again and stopped in the garden
to sip hot coffee and smoke a cigarette.

He who was my brother is a stranger now.
Calls are unanswered. Letters are returned.
How does a man get up one day and simply
walk out of one life and into another
without trace or track? How does the old bear
curl up inside itself to wade the wide
fields of heaven when rain turns to snow
and bitter glacial winds begin to blow?

It was hot that August afternoon.
Late into the night, there was poetry and wine.
We spoke of others we had loved and lost,
and I thought of how I passed
like a shadow through their lives–
former friends, former wives–I wish them well,
although I do not know them now.
I make my bows alone.
It’s easier loving the dead who blossom
in the mind like roses in the wind.

After months of rain, the roses will bloom again,
the old bear com creaking down its mountain.
And the old ache that is my memory now
picks up the tempo the wiper is laying down
as I pull back onto the highway out of town,
the women of Sado turning, stepping lightly
in another world, raising their arms
and voices once again to sing
that sweet old song that carries
a weary pilgrim home.

— Sam Hamill, in Habitation: Collected Poems

in memorium of Sam Hamill who passed through this spring. I make my bows alone.


Kaoru Kakizakai in Seattle

by dairo tendo

Kaoru Kakizakai.png

Kaoru Kakizakai playing a 3.0 shakuhachi

Late June 2018 renowned Shakuhachi player Kaoru Kakizakai visited for a week of lessons, a workshop and a house concert. The house concert was a real treat, very intimate, with a small number of shakuhachi aficionado’s. You were really able to watch a master at work.

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This very place

by dairo tendo


This very place is the best place

Calligraphy by Shodo Harada Roshi. For more from this calligraphy demonstration see here: Shodo Harada Calligraphy Demonstration.


by dairo tendo


What do worldly people grieve?
Pain and pleasure entwine without end,
birth and death come and go for many eons.
East, west, south, and north–whose house is it?
Zhang, Wang, Li and Zhao are temporary names.
The six paths and the river of hell are crooked as flax–
because the hosts within fail to cut them off,
in the end, they run stray and invite transmigration.

-Han Shan.
Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi & Peter Levitt in The Complete Cold Mountain

It is clear who is host and who is guest

by dairo tendo


It is clear who is host and who is guest.

From the Lin-Ji Yulu. Calligraphy by Shodo Harada Roshi. For more from this calligraphy demonstration see here: Shodo Harada Calligraphy Demonstration.

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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