It’s like riding a cow to return home

buffalo rider
buffalo rider (Cebu, 1981)

Finding a teacher to learn the truth
Is nothing special
It’s like riding a cow to return home.
If you can stride freely atop
A hundred foot pole
Countless buddhas will only be
Sparks in your eyes.

~ Buhyu Sunsoo (1543-1615)

Know there is nothing to know

Sunflower head macro
Sunflower head in seed

Use the wisdom of a diamond to control and rule it,
since just like a plant, there is nothing to know.
To know there is nothing to know
is the wisdom to know everything.

~ Tao-shin (580-651)

Don’t covet

Not knowing its strength,
The mosquito sucked too much blood to fly.
Don’t covet what others value.
You’ll pay for it someday.

~ Naong Haegun (1320-1376)

The essential technique of zazen

Go to a quiet place, sit in lotus posture, and place one hand on top of the other.

Without leaning to either side, bring your ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Open your eyes only halfway and fix your attention on the tip of your nose.

Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

Throw away your body and your life.

Looking from the inside, your self has no mind.

Forget also about your connections with others.

Looking from the outside, there is no mind anywhere to be found.

If random thoughts should occur to you unexpectedly, let them go straight away. Do not follow them. This is the essential technique of zazen.

~ Mugai Nyodai (d. 1298)
( Zen Sourcebook Traditional Documents from China, Korea, and Japan )

The valley stream

Rain, hail, snow, and ice:
All are different,
But when they fall
They become the same water
As the valley stream.

– Ikkyu (1394-1481)

Wandering

IMGP1896 sunset halls road

My treasure is the cloud on the peak
The moon over the valley
Travelling east or west
Light and free on the one road
I don’t know whether I’m on the way
Or at home.

~ Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Lifetimes seldom fill a hundred years

I live far off in the wild
Where moss and woods
Are thick and plants perfumed
I can see mountains rain or shine
And never hear market noise
I light a few leaves in my stove to heat tea
To patch my robe I cut off a cloud
Lifetimes seldom fill a hundred years
Why suffer for profit and fame?

~ Stonehouse