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.
The rain has stopped,
the clouds have drifted away,
and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the way.
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.
First days of spring.....blue
sky, bright sun.
Everything is gradually becoming fresh and green.
Carrying my bowl, I walk slowly to the village.
The children, surprised to see me,
Joyfully crowd about, bringing
my begging trip to an end by the temple gate.
I place my bowl on top of a white rock and
Hang my sack from the branch of a tree.
Here we play with the wild grasses and throw a ball.
For a time, I play catch while the children sing;
Then it's my turn.
Playing like this, here and there, I have forgotten the time.
Passers-by point and laugh at me, asking,
"What is the reason for such foolishness?"
No answer I give, only a deep bow;
Even if I replied, they would not understand.
Look around! There is nothing besides this.
to sleep, I leave my tiny cottage.
Fall insects cry under the rocks, and
The cold branches are sparsely covered.
Far away, from deep in the valley, the sound of water.
The moon rises slowly over the highest peak;
I stand there quietly for a long time and
My robe becomes moist with dew
The night is fresh
Staff in hand I walk through the gate.
Wisteria and ivy grow together along the winding mountain path;
Birds sing quietly in their nests and a monkey howls nearby.
As I reach a high peak a village appears in the distance.
The old pines are full of poems;
I bend down for a drink of pure spring water.
There is a gentle breeze, and the round moon hangs overhead.
Standing by a deserted building,
I pretend to be a crane softly floating among the clouds..
My life may appear
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.
When I was a lad,
I sauntered about town as a gay blade,
Sporting a cloak of the softest down,
And mounted on a splendid chestnut-colored horse.
During the day, I galloped to the city;
At night, I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.
I never cared about returning home,
Usually ending up, with a big smile on my face, at a pleasure pavilion!
Returning to my native village after many yearsí absence:
Ill, I put up at a country inn and listen to the rain.
One robe, one bowl is all I have.
I light incense and strain to sit in meditation;
All night a steady drizzle outside the dark window --
Inside, poignant memories of these long years of pilgrimage.
To My Teacher
An old grave hidden
away at the foot of a deserted hill,
Overrun with rank weeks growing unchecked year after year;
There is no one left to tend the tomb,
And only an occasional woodcutter passes by.
Once I was his pupil, a youth with shaggy hair,
Learning deeply from him by the Narrow River.
One morning I set off on my solitary journey
And the years passed between us in silence.
Now I have returned to find him at rest here;
How can I honor his departed spirit?
I pour a dipper of pure water over his tombstone
And offer a silent prayer.
The sun suddenly disappears behind the hill
And Iím enveloped by the roar of the wind in the pines.
I try to pull myself away but cannot;
A flood of tears soaks my sleeves.
In my youth I put aside my studies
And I aspired to be a saint.
Living austerely as a mendicant monk,
I wandered here and there for many springs.
Finally I returned home to settle under a craggy peak.
I live peacefully in a grass hut,
Listening to the birds for music.
Clouds are my best neighbors.
Below a pure spring where I refresh body and mind;
Above, towering pines and oaks that provide shade and brushwood.
Free, so free, day after day --
I never want to leave!
Yes, Iím truly a
Living among trees and plants.
Please donít question me about illusion and enlightenment --
This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.
I wade across streams with bony legs,
And carry a bag about in fine spring weather.
Thatís my life,
And the world owes me nothing.
No luck today on
my mendicant rounds;
From village to village I dragged myself.
At sunset I find myself with miles of mountains between me and my hut.
The wind tears at my frail body,
And my little bowl looks so forlorn --
Yes this is my chosen path that guides me
Through disappointment and pain, cold and hunger.
My Cracked Wooden
This treasure was discovered in a bamboo thicket --
I washed the bowl in a spring and then mended it.
After morning meditation, I take my gruel in it;
At night, it serves me soup or rice.
Cracked, worn, weather-beaten, and misshapen
But still of noble stock!
I watch people in the world
Throw away their lives lusting after things,
Never able to satisfy their desires,
Falling into deeper despair
And torturing themselves.
Even if they get what they want
How long will they be able to enjoy it?
For one heavenly pleasure
They suffer ten torments of hell,
Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone.
Such people are like monkeys
Frantically grasping for the moon in the water
And then falling into a whirlpool.
How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer.
Despite myself, I fret over them all night
And cannot staunch my flow of tears.
Fresh morning snow in front of the shrine.
The trees! Are they white with peach blossoms
Or white with snow?
The children and I joyfully throw snowballs
Where beauty is, then there is ugliness;
where right is, also there is wrong.
Knowledge and ignorance are interdependent;
delusion and enlightenment condition each other.
Since olden times it has been so.
How could it be otherwise now?
Wanting to get rid of one and grab the other
is merely realizing a scene of stupidity.
Even if you speak of the wonder of it all,
how do you deal with each thing changing?
much to offer you,
Just a lotus flower floating
In a small jar of water.
Once in a while
I just let time wear on
leaning against a
as does the whole universe!
Ah, who can share
this solitude with me?
left it behind
the moon at the window
Picking violets by
the side of the road,
I forgot my begging bowl.
How sad you must be, my poor little bowl!
I forgot my bowl
Please nobody pick it up,
My lonely little bowl.
When all thoughts
I slip into the woods
A pile of shepherdís purse.
Like the little
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.
I often climb
To the peak of Kugami.
Soaked up by
Piles of maple leaves
Lying undisturbed at
The foot of the mountain.
Blending with the wind,
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.
By the hearth
I stretch out my legs,
Idling my time away
Confined in this hut.
Counting the days,
I find that February, too,
Has come and gone
Like a dream.
I walk about with my staff.
Old farmers spot me
And call me over for a drink.
We sit in the fields
using leaves for plates.
Pleasantly drunk and so happy
I drift off peacefully
Sprawled out on a paddy bank.
How can I possibly
This moonlit evening?
Come, my friends,
Letís sing and dance
All night long.
Standing on a cliff,
Among the pines and oaks;
Spring has come
Clothed in mist.
Under the vast sky:
Beneath the cherry blossoms.
Plucked from fields
Full of croaking frogs:
Float them in your wine
And enjoy every minute!
Killed in a Smallpox Epidemic
When spring arrives
From every tree tip
Flowers will bloom,
But those children
Who fell with last autumnís leaves
Will never return.
The wind has settled,
the blossoms have fallen;
Birds sing, the mountains grow dark --
This is the wondrous power of Buddhism.
In a dilapidated three-room hut
Iíve grown old and tired;
This winter cold is the
Worst Iíve ever suffered through.
I sip thin gruel, waiting for the
Freezing night to pass.
Can I last until spring finally arrives?
Unable to beg for rice,
How will I survive the chill?
Even meditation helps no longer;
Nothing left to do but compose poems
In memory of deceased friends.
--When, when?-- I sighed.
The one I longed for
Has finally come;
With her now,
I have all that I need.
(Written to the nun Teishin, his young mistress.)
How happy I am
As I go hand in hand
With the children,
To gather young greens
In the field of spring!
The wind brings
Of fallen leaves
To make a fire.
What a happy thing
To listen to the frogs
In the mountain fields,
Stretched at full length
In my thatched hut!
Though I think
Not to think about it any more,
I do think about it,
And wet my sleeves
Thinking about it.
Everyone eats rice
Yet no one knows why
People laugh at me
If they laugh, that's just fine
Laughing is something I like, too!
Laughing and laughing, we won't stop
We'll welcome Maitreya here and now
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
Empty and fleeting
My years are gone
And now, quivering and frail,
I must fade away.
My legacy --
What will it be?
Flowers in spring,
The cuckoo in summer,
And the crimson maples
What shall I leave
As a memento?
Flowers in the spring,
The hototogisu in summer,
Tinted leaves of autumn.