A stick of incense stands by my pillow.

When the lantern dims, I pour some oil.

I add more clothes as the night deepens.

If you don’t mind my bare hospitality,

please keep wandering in.

~Ryokan (K Tanahashi, Sky Above, Great Wind)



put it aside

Bell Deer Mountain

I shake off this sad world,

put it aside,

but, what lies in store for me,

what note will I sound?

~Saigyo  (B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)


looking back

How have I spent

these many years and months

in this world

where those here even yesterday

are no longer here today?

~Saigyo (B Watson: Poems of a Mountain Home)


awakening“Suppose I invite you to join me for a cup of tea. You receive your cup, taste the tea, and then drink a little more…

“Now suppose I ask you to describe the tea. You use your memory, your concepts, and your vocabulary to describe the sensations. …concepts and words describe your direct experience of the tea, they are not the experience itself. Indeed, in the direct experience of the tea, you do not make the distinction that you are the subject of the experience and that the tea is its object, you do not think that the tea is the best, or the worst…There is no concept or word that can frame this pure sensation resulting from experience. You can offer as many descriptions as you like, but only you have had a direct experience of the tea. …And you yourself, when you are describing the experience, are no longer in it.  In the experience you were one with the tea. There was no distinction between subject and object, no evaluation, and no discrimination. That pure sensation is an example of non-discriminative wisdom, which introduces us to the heart of reality.

“To reach truth is not to accumulate knowledge, but to awaken to the heart of reality. Reality reveals itself complete and whole at the moment of awakening. In the light of awakening, nothing is added and nothing is lost. …The moment of awakening may be marked by an outburst of laughter, but this is not the laughter of someone who has won the lottery or some kind of victory. It is the laughter of one who, after searching for something for a long time, suddenly finds it in the pocket of his coat.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh ( Zen Keys, pp.43-44)