Forest trees stripped in autumn,
An ancient Buddhist temple,
Where mists from the waters are deepest,
Dark even in daytime.
The magnificent hall weathered,
Red and green pain peeled off;
The pond meant to bring merit gone dry,
Only lotuses left.
On the silver-leafed panel still remaining,
The golden countenance untouched by time,
The old Cloister of the Southern Springs-
Where is it now?
Not a soul's passing this way,
Evening winds are chill.
For my home I delight in the hidden and concealed;
The place where I live is cut off
From the noise and the dust.
The grasses I trample become my three paths;
The clouds I behold, make up my
Neighbors on four sides all around.
In helping me sing, for music, there are the birds;
I’d ask about the Dharma,
But to talk with there’s no one at all.
Today I’m like the stinking cedar;
Several years are just like one spring.
A green pine is in the east garden,
But the many grasses obscure it.
A frost wipes out all the other species,
And then I see its magnificent tall branches.
In a forest people do not notice it, but
Standing alone, it is a miracle.
I hang a jug of wine on a cold branch;
Then stand back, and look again and again.
My life spins with dreams and illusions.
Why then be fastened to the world?
Autumn night, unable 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.
When I find you again,
It will be in mountains;
This morning I lose you
Once more to farewell.
Free of attachment
In heart and mind—
Is that why you can go
Ten thousand li alone?
Traveling without disciples,
You have only
A white dog
~ Chia Tao (779-843)
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're just time away
Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you're so far away
I’ve lived in this hermitage
How long I don’t know
Deep and secret and
Heaven and earth meet
Like box and cover
There’s no turning toward
Or turning away.
I do not stay in the east, west,
South or north
The jewel tower and the jade palace
Do not stand opposite me.
I do not take guidelines from
Bodhidharma as a model
As the light shines freely through
Eighty four thousand gates.
The joy of living in seclusion
Deepens as I grow older,
For a new poem is born
Wherever I turn my eyes.
Flowers that withstood the wind,
Fall of their own accord;
Thin rain left by clouds has not yet cleared.
The frail butterfly over the fence
Has left the twig where it sat,
And the silken dove has flown
From the eave to sing in the woods.
To attain a vision transcending
The here and now
Is not my concern:
What I see is much too clear,
As in a mirror