Sutras and Poems


All the ancient twisted karma
From beginningless greed, hatred and ignorance
Born of my body, mouth and thought
I now confess openly and fully.

When knowing stops, when thoughts about who we are fall away, vast space opens up, our kinship with every living thing is revealed, and joy appears. Its power comes from the ocean of essential nature. It is beyond explanation ­– we just accept it with respect and gratitude. Anything that gets in the way of understanding this is a cause of suffering and something to refrain from. Moment by moment, thought appears, the earth appears, we appear. When we touch each bit of life against this great heart, we find we cannot reject anything. With our virtues, our failures, and our imperfections, this is the body we take refuge in; this is our offering. By their nature, vows are not things we hold perfectly; vows are the bridge we build between the spacious world and the things we do everyday. Underlying these vows is a compassion for everything that has the courage to live.

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha
Buddham saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami
Sangham saranam gacchami    
Buddham Dhammam Sangham

Shakyamuni Buddha advised: These are the five facts that one should reflect on often.
Ino:       I am of the nature to grow old.
All:      There is no way to escape growing old.
Ino:       I am of the nature to have ill health.
All:      There is no way to escape ill health.
Ino:       I am of the nature to die.
All:      There is no way to escape this.
Ino:       All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
All:      There is no way to escape being separated from them.
Ino:       My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
All:      My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

No mo san man da moto nan
oha ra chi koto sha sono nan
To ji to en gya gya gya ki gya ki
un nun 
Shifu ra shifu ra hara shifu
ra hara shifu ra 
Chishu sa chishu sa
chishu ri chishu ri 
Soha ja soha ja
sen chi gya shiri ei 
So mo ko

Ancient chant to ward off misfortune:
Veneration to all Buddhas!
The incomparable Buddha-power that banishes suffering
Om! The Buddha of reality, wisdom, Nirvana!
Light! Light! Great light! Great light!
With no categories, this mysterious power
Saves all beings; suffering goes, happiness comes, Svaha!

THE HEART OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA                                          
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, practicing deep Prajnaparamita
clearly saw that all five skandhas are empty,
transforming all suffering and distress.
“Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form;
form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form;
sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness are also like this.
Shariputra, all things are essentially empty—
not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; without loss, without gain.
Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness;
no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, object of thought;
no seeing and so on to no thinking;
no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance,
and so on to no old age and death and also no ending of old age and death;
no suffering, cause of suffering, cessation, path, no wisdom, and no attainment.
Since there is nothing to attain, the bodhisattva lives by Prajnaparamita,
with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance, and therefore no fear;
far beyond delusive thinking, right here is Nirvana.
All Buddhas of past, present and future live by Prajnaparamita,
attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
Therefore know that Prajnaparamita
is the great sacred mantra, the great vivid mantra,
the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra,
which completely removes all suffering.
This is truth, not mere formality.
Therefore set forth the Prajnaparamita mantra.
Set forth this mantra and proclaim: ‘Gone, gone, into the gone beyond, completely into the gone beyond, awakening, at last!’”                                    
Gaté Gaté Paragaté [C  C  Dm  F]       
Parasamgaté [Dm  F]
Bodhi Svaha! [C  F  C]
*Alternate: “Gone, gone, really gone, into the cool, oh, Mama!”
[Translation by Philip Zenshin Whalen]

The Heart Sutra was probably written in the first century CE. in the area surrounding the Hindu Kush, in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India. The word heart refers to its place at the core of Buddhist teachings. The word sutra has come to designate scripture or discourse, a wise saying, a teaching of the Buddha or an interpretation of those teachings. Prajnaparamita is a compound Sanskrit word. The first half, prajna is made of two words, “pra”, which means “before,” and “jna” which means “to know.”  It is generally translated as “wisdom.” Paramita is a word that distinguishes this kind of wisdom as the highest form, transcendent wisdom, the wisdom that leads to enlightenment. Various translations include, “perfection,” “that which has gone beyond,” and “that which leads us to the other shore.” Prajnaparamita is also the name of the bodhisattva (enlightened being) who embodies this wisdom. Avalokiteshvara is a name that means “one who looks down,” also translated by the Chinese as “one who looks down on the cries of the world.” This bodhisattva is said to have been able to appear in both male and female forms and in later generations she became Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion. Shariputra is known as one of the wisest of the Buddha’s disciples. Avalokiteshvara counsels Shariputra to go beyond suffering into the emptiness at the heart of the universe. Avalokiteshvara, sitting in deep meditation, has seen through to the emptiness that is the nature of all things. Avalokiteshvara explains the emptiness of the five skandhas—the ways we experience reality—and goes through all categories of phenomena that seem to exist separately from one another. At the end, Avalokiteshvara presents a mantra, or incantation, as a practice of this transcendent wisdom.

Buddha nature pervades the whole universe,
existing right here now.
The Buddha and his teachers and his many sons and daughters turn the Dharma wheel to show the wisdom of the
stones and clouds;
We give thanks to all the ancestors of meditation
in the still halls,
the unknown women, centuries of enlightened women,
grandmothers, grandfathers,
great sequoias standing in groves, salmon swimming upstream,
the immense oceans with kelp forests and coral reefs,
red tailed hawk reeling in the sky, field mice in the grass,
mountains and rivers without end, mountains and rivers without end.
Let wisdom go to every corner of the house.
Let people have joy in each other’s joy.

ALL Buddhas throughout space and time  [C  B  F  C]
ALL Awakened Beings, Great Beings  [C  F  C]
The Heart of Perfect Wisdom [C  G  F  C]

All beings by nature are Buddha,
just as ice and water are the same;
apart from water there is no ice,
apart from beings no Buddha.

How sad that people ignore the near 
and search for truth afar,
like someone in the midst of water 
crying out in thirst,
like a child of a wealthy home
wandering among the poor.

Lost on dark paths of ignorance
we wander through the six worlds;
from dark path to dark path –
when shall we be freed from birth and death?

Oh, the meditation of the Bodhisattvayāna
to this the highest praise:
devotion, repentance, training, the many paramitas,
all have their source in meditation.

Those who sit in meditation even once
wipe away beginningless crimes –
where are all the dark paths then?
Paradise itself is near.

Those who hear this truth even once
and listen with a grateful heart,
treasuring it, revering it,
gain blessings without end.

Much more, those who turn about,
and bear witness to self-nature –
self-nature that is no nature –
go far beyond mere doctrine.

Here effect and cause are the same;
the Way is neither two nor three;
with form that is no form, 
going and coming, we are never astray;
with thought that is no thought
singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.

How boundless and free is the sky of samadhi,
how bright the full moon of wisdom.
Truly is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes;  
this very place is paradise,
this very body, the Buddha.

When I look deeply
into the real form of the universe,
everything reveals the mysterious truth of the Tathagata.
This truth never fails:
in every moment and every place,
things can’t help but shine with this light.

Realizing this, our ancestors gave reverent care
to animals, birds, and all beings.
Realizing this, we ourselves know that our daily food,
clothing and shelter are the warm body and beating heart of the Buddha.
How can we be ungrateful to anyone or anything?
Even though someone may be a fool,
we can be compassionate.
If someone turns against us,
speaking ill of us and treating us bitterly,
it’s best to bow down:
this is the Buddha appearing to us,
finding ways to free us from our own attachments
the very ones that have made us suffer
again and again and again.

Now on each flash of thought
a lotus flower blooms,
and on each flower: a Buddha.

The light of the Tathagata
appears before us, soaking into our feet.

May we share this mind with all beings
so that we and the world together
may grow in wisdom.

ENMEI JIKKU KANNON GYO (The Ten Verse Kannon of Timeless Life)
Praise awakening         
We are born with awakening
We grow with awakening
We grow with awakening, the Way, and our companions

Eternity is full of joy, the self is pure   
Morning’s thought is Kanzeon           
Evening’s thought is Kanzeon
Thought after thought rises in the mind
Thought after thought is the mind

(Sung — 3 times. Melody by Richie Domingue) 
Kanzeon Kanzeon  [Bb]
Kanzeon Kanzeon  [Bb  F  Bb]


(Sung — 3 times)
Kanzeon Kanzeon
Kanzeon Kanzeon 

All living things are one seamless body
And pass quickly from dark to dark.
We remember you who cared for us and are gone.
You who are ill, who are at war, who are hungry or who are in pain
May you be at peace and have rest.
[Gm  C  Dm  C]
Ino:  We especially dedicate our service to:
All:  [Speak names of personal dedications  ]

(Sung — 3 times)
Cross on over  [Gm] 
Cross that river  [Bb  C] 
Set us free.   [C  Gm  C  Gm  C]

Let us unite with:
The Ancient Seven Buddhas, Dai Osho
Shakyamuni Buddha, Dai Osho (“shakyamuni buddha”)
Mahaprajapati Gautami, Dai Osho (“maha prajapati gotami”)
Vimalakirti, Dai Osho (“vimala kirti”)
Nagarjuna, Dai Osho (“naGar juna”)
Bodhidharma, Dai Osho
Dajian Huineng, Dai Osho (“da-jien hway-nung”)
Shitou Xiqian, Dai Osho (“shr-toe she-chien”)
Mazu Daoyi, Dai Osho (“ma-tsu dow-yee”)
Pang Yun, Dai Osho (“pong yun”)
Pang Lingzhao, Dai Osho (“pong ling-jao”)
Linji Yixuan, Dai Osho (“lin-gee yee-shuen”)
Dongshan Liangjie, Dai Osho (“dong-shan liang-jieh”)
Liu Tiemo, Dai Osho (“liu tieh-mo”)
Dahui Zonggao, Dai Osho (“da-hway zong-gao”)
Dogen Kigen, Dai Osho
Hakuin Ekaku, Dai Osho
Kogaku Soen, Dai Osho
Chioro Nyogen, Dai Osho
Hannya Gempo, Dai Osho
Daiun Sogaku, Dai Osho
Hakuun Ryuku, Dai Osho
Mita Soen, Dai Osho
Koun Zenshin, Dai Osho
Robert Aitken, Dai Osho
Richie Domingue, Dai Osho
All founding teachers, past, present, future, Dai Osho.

Let true Dharma continue, Sangha relations become complete.

All Buddhas throughout space and time,  
All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas,  

The Great Prajna Paramita  

Infinite realms of light and dark convey the Buddha Mind;
Birds and trees and stars and we ourselves come forth in perfect harmony;
We recite our sutra for the many beings of the world;
In grateful thanks to all our many guides along the ancient way.

(Sung — 3 times. Melody by Richie Domingue)
I vow to wake all the beings of the world [C  Em  F  C]
I vow to set endless craving to rest         [C  Em  F  C]
I vow to walk through every wisdom gate   [C  Em  F  Dm]
I vow to live the great Buddha way  [C  Dm  Fmaj7  C]

(Sung — 3 times. Melody by Richie Domingue)
All beings one body, I vow to save them all
Blind passions spinning round and round, I vow to put them down
Knocking on countless Dharma doors, I vow to walk on through
The unsurpassed Buddha Way, I vow to live it every, every, every, every day.

1.  I beg to urge you everyone:
Life-and-death is a grave matter,
All things pass quickly away;
Each of us must be completely alert:
Never neglectful, never indulgent. 

2.  I say to you Subhuti, view all conditioned things like this:
A star at dawn,
A bubble in a stream,
A cataract in the eye,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, a dream.

Peacefully, humbly
The ship stars travel, the grass hunches down to earth,
The demons take their rest.
And we call the protectors to smile over us,
As the work in darkness goes on until dawn. 

First Steps of the Day
As I take my rst step 

the floor meets my feet perfectly
With gratitude to the earth

I walk in freedom

Turning on the Water
As I turn on the water
my body’s substance pours before me
Clouds, oceans, rivers, and deep wells

all support my life

Washing Dishes
Each dish I wash

is my most beloved child
Each movement contains

boundless awareness

Flushing the Toilet
My body’s waste is compost
Down the drain it goes!
returning to the earth

Preparing Food
Earth, air, water, and sun
all live in this food I prepare
Many hands join my hands 
to bring nourishment to all beings

Walking Meditation
My mind may go in a thousand directions
But now I walk in peace
With each step upon the path
a lotus flower blooms

Seated Meditation
Sitting in the present moment,
 I just breathe

With each in-breath – I am nourished
With each out-breath – I let it all go

Going to Sleep
Falling asleep at last

I vow with all beings

to appreciate the dark
and rest in the vast unknown

We honor awakening, the way and our companions
and are grateful for this food
the work of many hands
and the sacrifice of other lives

Jesuit Prayer Before Meals
We have food while some have none
We are each other while some are alone.

Long Readings & Recitations

I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value.
When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
The person in the hut lives here calmly,
Places worldly people live, he doesn’t live.
Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
A Mahayana bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
Will this hut perish or not?
Not dwelling south or north, east or west.
A shining window below the green pines-
Just sitting with head covered all things are at rest.
Living here, there is no more working to get free.
Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instructions,
Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
If you want to know the undying person in the hut, 

Followers of the Way, as I look at it, we’re no different from Shakyamuni. In all our various activities each day, is there anything we lack? The wonderful light of the six senses has never for a moment ceased to shine. If you could just look at it this way, then you’d be the kind of person who has nothing to do for the rest of your life.

If you don’t have faith in yourself, then you’ll be forever in a hurry trying to keep up with everything around you, you’ll be twisted and turned by whatever environment you’re in and you can never move freely. But if you can just stop this mind that goes rushing around moment by moment looking for something, then you’ll be no different from the ancestors and buddhas. Do you want to get to know the ancestors and buddhas? They’re none other than you, the people standing in front of me listening to this Dharma talk!

If you want to be no different from the ancestors and buddhas, then never look for something outside yourselves. A moment of pure light in your mind – that is the Dharmakaya, the Essence-body of the Buddha lodged in you. A moment of undifferentiated light in your mind that is the Samboghakaya, the Bliss-body of the Buddha lodged in you. A moment of nondiscriminating light in your mindthat is the Nirmanakaya, the Transformation-body of the Buddha lodged in you. These three types of bodies are you, the person who stands before me now!

What is it, then, that knows how to preach or listen to the Dharma? It is you who are right here before my eyes, this lone brightness without fixed shape or formthis is what knows how to preach the Dharma and listen to the Dharma. If you can see it this way, then you’ll be no different from the ancestors and buddhas. As I see it, there are none of you incapable of profound understanding, none of you incapable of emancipation.

Followers of the Way, this thing called mind has no fixed form; it penetrates all the ten directions. In the eye we call it sight, in the ear we call it hearing; in the nose it detects odors, in the mouth it speaks words; in the hand it grasps, in the feet it runs along. Basically it is a single bright essence, but it divides itself into these six functions. And because this single mind has no fixed form, it is everywhere in a state of emancipation.

Just get so you can follow along with circumstances and use up your old karma. When the time comes to do so, put on your clothes.

If you want to walk, walk. If you want to sit, sit. But never for a moment set your mind on seeking buddhahood. Why? A person of old said, “If you try to create good karma and seek to be a buddha, then Buddha will become a sure sign you will remain in the realm of birth and death.”

Followers of the Way, the Dharma of the buddhas calls for no special undertakings. Just act ordinary, without trying to do anything particular. If, wherever you are, you take the role of host, then whatever spot you stand in will be a true one. Then whatever circumstances surround you, they can never pull you awry. You don’t have to strive for benefits, benefits will come of themselves. Even if you’re faced with bad karma left over from the past, or the five crimes that bring on the hell of incessant suffering, these will of themselves become the great sea of emancipation.

As I see it, there’s no Buddha, no living beings, no long ago, no now. If you want to get it, you’ve already got itit’s not something that requires time. There’s no religious practice, no enlightenment, no getting anything, no missing out on anything. At no time is there any other Dharma than this.

Followers of the Way, this lone brightness before my eyes now, this person plainly listening to me — this person is unimpeded at any point but penetrates the ten directions, free to do as you please in the threefold world. No matter what environment you may encounter, with its peculiarities and differences, you cannot be swayed or pulled awry. In the space of an instant you make your way into the Dharma-realm. If you meet a buddha you preach to the buddha, if you meet an ancestor you preach to the ancestor, if you meet a hungry ghost you preach to the hungry ghost. You go everywhere, wandering through many lands, yet never become separated from your single thought. Every place is clean and pure to you, your light pierces the ten directions, the ten thousand phenomena are a single thusness.

If you want to be free to be born or die, to go or stay as one would put on or take off a garment, then you must understand right now that the person here listening to the Dharma has no form, no characteristics, no root, no beginning, no place you abide, yet you are vibrantly alive. All the ten thousand kinds of contrived happenings operate in a place that is in fact no place. Therefore the more you search the farther away you get, the harder you hunt the wider astray you go. This is what I call the secret of the matter.

The way I see it, one shouldn’t be averse to anything. Suppose you yearn to be a sage. Sage is just a word, sage. There are some types of students who go off to Mount Wu-t’ai looking for Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. They’re wrong from the very start! Would you like to get to know Manjushri? You here in front of my eyes, carrying out your activities, from first to last never changing, wherever you go never doubting – this is the living Manjushri!

Your mind that each moment shines with the light of nondiscriminationwherever it may be, this is the true Samantabhadra, the bodhisattva of action. Your mind that each moment is capable of freeing itself from its shackles, everywhere emancipated - this is the method of meditating on Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion. These three act as host and companion to one another, all three appearing at the same time when they appear, one in three, three in one.
Followers of the Way, here and there you hear it said that there is a Way to be practiced, a Dharma to become enlightened to. Will you tell me then just what Dharma there is to become enlightened to, what Way there is to practice? In your present activities, what is it you lack, what is it that practice must mend?

What are you looking for? This person of the Way who depends on nothing, here before my eyes now listening to the Dharma – your bright-ness shines clearly, you have never lacked anything.

From ZEN MIND BEGINNER’S MIND – Shunryu Suzuki
In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered ideas limit our vast mind. The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings, and can actually practice. Whatever we see is changing, losing its balance. The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. This is how everything exists in the realm of Buddha nature. Without realizing the background of Buddha-nature, everything appears to be in the form of suffering. Suffering itself is how we live, and how we extend our life.

To stop your mind does not mean to stop the activities of mind. It means that your mind pervades your whole body. When your practice is calm and ordinary, everyday life itself is enlightenment. If you do not lose yourself, then even though you have difficulty, there is actually no problem whatsoever. When your life is always a part of your surroundings - in other words, when you are called back to yourself, in the present moment - then there is no problem. When you
start to wander about in some delusion that is something apart from yourself, then your surroundings are not real anymore, and your mind is not real anymore.

Once you are in the midst of delusion, there is no end to delusion. To solve the problem is to be part of it, to be one with it. We do not seek for something outside ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. Mindfulness is, at the same time, wisdom. It is the readiness of the mind that is wisdom. Our true nature is beyond our conscious experience. Firm conviction in the original emptiness of your mind is the most important thing in your practice. Even though you think you are in delusion, your pure mind is there. To realize pure mind in your delusion is practice. If you have pure mind the delusion will vanish. This is to attain enlightenment before you realize it.

True nature is watching water. When you say, “My zazen is very poor,” here you have true nature, but do not realize it. Nothing exists but momentarily in its present form and color. One thing flows into another and cannot be grasped. The true purpose is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes. This is to put everything under control in its widest sense. Zen practice is to open up our small mind. So concentrating is just an aid to help you realize “big mind”, or the mind that is everything. That everything is included within your mind is the essence of mind. Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure. Waves are the practice of the water. Big mind and small mind are one. As your mind does not expect anything from the outside, it is always filled. A mind with waves in it is not a disturbed mind, but actually an amplified one. In one sense our experiences coming one by one are always fresh and new, but in another sense they are nothing but a continuous unfolding of the one big mind. With big mind we accept each of our experiences as if recognizing the face we see in a mirror as our own. With this imperturbable composure of big mind we practice Zazen.

From Four Quartets – T.S. ELIOT
What we call the beginning is often the end,
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.
And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

RELYING ON MIND – Seng-t’san
The Great Way is not difficult;
it just refrains from picking and choosing.
Without yearning or loathing,
the Way is perfectly apparent,
But holding onto even a hair’s breadth of difference
separates heaven and earth.
To see the Way with your own eyes,
quit agreeing and disagreeing.
The battle of likes and dislikes--
This is the disease of the mind
Misunderstanding the great mystery,
people labor in vain for peace.
Mind is perfect like vast space
nothing lacking and nothing extra.
It’s just selecting and rejecting
that make it seem otherwise.
Don’t pursue worldly concerns,
don’t dwell passively on emptiness;
Be at peace in the absolute oneness of things,
and confusion vanishes all by itself.

Suppressing activity to reach stillness
just creates agitation
People who don’t live in oneness
bog down on both sides –
Rejecting form, they get stuck in it,
seeking emptiness, they turn away from it.
The more people talk and ponder,
the further they spin out of accord
Bring gabbing and speculation to a stop
and the whole world opens up to you.
If you want the essence, get right to the root;
chasing reflection, you lose sight of the source
Turning the light around for an instant
takes us beyond becoming, abiding, and decay.
The changing phases, the ups and downs,
all result from misunderstanding.
There’s no need to seek the truth –
just stop worshiping your opinions!

Don’t live within dualism,
take care not to pursue it
As soon as you have right and wrong
the mind is lost in confusion
The two exist because of the one
but don’t cling to oneness either.
  If your mind is not disturbed with such things
the ten thousand things are all flawless
In this flawlessness there’s nothing at all,
no disturbance, no mind.
The subject disappears with its objects
objects vanish without a subject.
In one emptiness, the two are not distinguished,
and each contains in itself all the ten thousand things.

The Great Way is by nature calm and large hearted,
not easy, not difficult,
But quibbling and hesitating,
the more you hurry, the slower you go.
Holding onto things wrecks your balance,
inevitably throwing you off course,
But let everything go, be genuine,
and the essence won’t leave or stay.
Accept your nature, accord with the Way
and stroll at ease, free from annoyance.
Tying up thoughts denies reality,
and you sink into a stupor of resistance
Resisting thoughts perturbs the spirit!
why treat what’s yours as foreign?
If you want to enter the One Vehicle,
don’t disdain the six senses.
Not disdaining the six senses,
that’s enlightenment itself.
Since things aren’t different in essence,
it’s stupid to hanker and cling.
Trying to control the mind by using the mind,
isn’t that a great error too?
Delusion creates calm and chaos,
enlightenment entails no good and evil.
Every opposition under the sun
Just comes from your thoughts.
Like dreams, illusions, spots before your eyes—
why bother grasping at them?
Gain and loss, right and wrong—
let them go, once and for all.
If you don’t fall asleep,
dreams cease on their own.
If you don’t conjure up differences
the ten thousand things are all of one kind.

In the essential mystery of oneness,
eternal and ephemeral are forgotten.
Seeing the ten thousand things in their oneness
we return to the origin where we have always been.

Without grounds or criteria,
we can’t be judged or compared.
Still or active, nothing moves,
and active or still, nothing ceases.
Here in the harmonious, equanimous mind
all effort subsides.
Doubt is completely gone,
and what’s true remains.
Nothing hangs in the mind,
there’s nothing to remember;
Empty, luminous, genuine,
the mind is at ease.

In the world of things as they are
there is neither self nor other.
To reach accord with it at once
just say, “not two!”
Without duality, all beings are the same
not a single one excluded.
Here hurry and delay have no bearing;
an instant is ten thousand years.
Here and not here don’t apply either.
everywhere is right before your eyes.
One in all, all in one - If only this is realized,
no more worrying about being holy or wise!
Relying on mind, there is no separation,
with no separation, you can rely on your mind.
This is where words fail—
no past, no future, no present.

Poems, Prayers & Quotations

DREAMS – Mary Oliver
All night
the dark buds of dreams

In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine

if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,

and not an easy one 
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions —
birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.

Finally, you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirts of your roots

and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense

of loss — a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer —
only how it feels

when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.

SUNSET – Rainer Maria Rilke
Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs—

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, time and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone to you, and the next, a star.
[Translated by Robert Bly]

From THE WISHING BONE CYCLE of the Swampy Cree
All the warm nights
sleep in moonlight
keep letting it
go into you
do this
all your life
do this
you will shine outward
in old age
the moon will think
you are
the moon
 [Translated by Howard Norman]

UNTITLED – Antonio Machado
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt  — marvelous error! —
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error! —
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error! —
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt — marvelous error! —
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.
[Translated by Robert Bly]

WHAT IS SLEEP? – Sri Ramana Maharshi
Question:         What is sleep?
Maharshi:        How can you know sleep when you are awake? The answer is to go to sleep and find out what it is.
Question:         But I cannot know it this way.
Maharshi:        This question must be raised in sleep.
Question:         But I cannot raise the question then.
Maharshi:        So that is sleep.

POEM – Mary Oliver
The spirit
            likes to dress up like this:
                        ten fingers,
                                    ten toes,
shoulders, and all the rest
            at night
                        in the black branches,             
                                                in the morning
in the blue branches
            of the world.
                        It could float, of course,
                                    but would rather
plumb rough matter.
            Airy and shapeless thing,
                        it needs
                                    the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
            the oceanic fluids;
                        it needs the body’s world
and imagination
            and the dark hug of time,
                                    and tangibility,
to be understood,
            to be more than pure light
                        that burns
                                    where no one is —
so it enters us —
            in the morning
                        shines from brute comfort
                                    like a stitch of lightning;                                 
and at night
            lights up the deep and wondrous
                        drownings of the body
                                    like a star.

GIFT – Czeslaw Milosz
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not
embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

We were talking about the great things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, “Oh, I suppose the moon landing
was the greatest thing that has happened
in my time.” But, of course, we were all lying.
The truth is the moon landing didn’t mean
one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963
when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been
the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince
(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I’m sure),
on a street where by now nobody lived
who could afford to live anywhere else.
That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,
woke up at half-past four in the morning
and ate cinnamon toast together.
“Is that all?” I hear somebody ask.
Oh, but we were silly with sleepiness
and, under our windows, the street-cleaners
were working their machines and conversing in Italian,
and everything was strange without being threatening,
even the tea-kettle whistled differently
than in the daytime: it was like the feeling
you get sometimes in a country you’ve never visited
before, when the bread doesn’t taste quite the same,
the butter is a small adventure, and they put
paprika on the table instead of pepper,
except that there was nobody in this country
except the three of us, half-tipsy with the wonder
of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.

WHEN I MET MY MUSE – William Stafford
 I glanced at her and took my glasses
Off—they were still singing. They buzzed
 like a locust on the coffee table and then
 ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
 sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
 knew that nails up there took a new grip
 on whatever they touched. “I am your own
 way of looking at things,” she said. “When
 you allow me to live with you, every
 glance at the world around you will be
 a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

ALIVE TOGETHER – Lisel Mueller
Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard’s woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pope
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth,
I might have been an exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master’s bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrongheaded angel,
or Mary’s friend. I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who —  but for endless ifs —
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

THE CATHOLIC BELLS – William Carlos Williams
Tho’ I’m no Catholic
I listen hard when the bells
in the yellow-brick tower
of their new church

ring down the leaves
ring in the frost upon them
and the death of the flowers
ring out the grackle

toward the south, the sky
darkened by them, ring in
the new baby of Mr. and Mrs.
Krantz which cannot

for the fat of its cheeks
open well its eyes, ring out
the parrot under its hood
jealous of the child

ring in Sunday morning
and old age which adds as it
takes away. Let them ring
only ring! over the oil

painting of a young priest
on the church wall advertising
last week’s Novena to St.
Anthony, ring for the lame

young man in black with
gaunt cheeks and wearing a
Derby hat, who is hurrying
to 11 o’clock Mass (the
grapes still hanging to
the vines along the nearby
Concordia Halle like broken
teeth in the head of an

old man) Let them ring
for the eyes and ring for
the hands and ring for
the children of my friend

who no longer hears
them ring but with a smile
and in a low voice speaks
of the decisions of her

daughter and the proposals
and betrayals of her
husband’s friends. O bells
ring for the ringing!

the beginnng and the end
of the ringing! Ring ring
ring ring ring ring ring!
Catholic bells!

SEAL LULLABY – Rudyard Kipling
Oh, hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green,
The moon o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

It’s all I have to bring to-day,
This, and my heart beside,
This, and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide.
Be sure you count, should I forget, --
Someone the sum could tell, --
This, and my heart, and all the bees
Which in the clover dwell.

A MAN IN HIS LIFE – Yehuda Amichai
A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.

AUTUMN DAY – Rainer Maria Rilke
Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

 Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.
[Translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann]

BUGS IN A BOWL – David Budbill
Han Shan, that great and crazy, wonder-filled Chinese poet of a thousand years ago, said:
We’re just like bugs in a bowl. All day going around never leaving their bowl.
I say, That’s right! Every day climbing up 
the steep sides, sliding back.
Over and over again. Around and around.
Up and back down.
Sit in the bottom of the bowl, head in your hands,
cry, moan, feel sorry for yourself.
Or. Look around. See your fellow bugs.
Walk around.
Say, Hey, how you doin’?
 Say, Nice Bowl!

ODE TO MY SOCKS – Pablo Neruda
Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted with her own
sheepherder hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.
I slipped my feet
into them
as if they were
with threads of
and the pelt of sheep.

Outrageous socks,
my feet became
two fish
made of wool,
two long sharks
of ultramarine blue
by one golden hair,
two gigantic blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet
were honored
in this way
They were
so beautiful
that for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
firemen, firemen
of that embroidered
of those luminous

I resisted
the sharp temptation
to save them
as schoolboys
as scholars
sacred documents,
I resisted
the wild impulse
to put them
in a golden
and each day give them
and chunks of pink melon.
Like explorers
in the jungle
who hand over the rare
green deer
 to the roasting spit
and eat it
with remorse,
I stretched out
my feet
and pulled on
then my shoes.

And the moral of my ode
Is this:
beauty is twice
and what is good is doubly
when it’s a matter of two
woolen socks
in winter.
[Translated by Stephen Mitchell]

If all a man does is to watch from the shore,
Then he doesn't have to worry about the current.
But if affection has put us into the stream,
Then we have to agree to where the water goes.

CHERRIES – Barbara La Morticella
 Fireweed loves the yard
 and the fire that conjured it
 into the light.

 And the scarlet elderberry
 loves the old junkpile
         it leans against.

 The morning glory smothers everything
 in an embrace: the fence,
 the wood workbench,
 the rusted steel.

 Here’s a summer day that’s so slow
 even the light
         moves like honey;

 Daisies jump fences
         and then just mill around.

 Here’s a cherry tree that’s so rich
 when it offers its heart to the birds,

 every cherry
         is a year of cherries.

Sometimes thou may’st walk in groves,
which being full of majestie
will much advance the soul.

FAMOUS – Naomi Shihab Nye
The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to the silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it,
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men,
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it did.

PERFECT JOY – Chuang Tzu
Here is how I sum it up:
Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity.
Earth does nothing: it’s non-doing is its rest.
From the union of these two non-doings
All actions proceed,
All things are made.
How vast, how invisible
This coming-to-be!
All things come from nowhere!
How vast, how invisible
Now way to explain it!
All beings in their perfection
Are born of non-doing.
Hence it is said:
“Heaven and earth do nothing
Yet there is nothing they do not do.”
Where is the man who can attain
To this non-doing?
[Translated by Thomas Merton]

I set down the book; I look at my familiar things, I stroke my chin; I leaf through these notes. And all this passes without impediment, as if freely, as if these were separated and independent events, isolated in the void, and without interaction of the one upon the other. And the book lying there and the hand resting here have no interconnection; no more than the gleaming doorknob has with anything else around it.
But then I can suddenly see quite otherwise, and see with full volition, that all these things are cogs of a single engine, jigsaw pieces; and that each displacement is inescapably a substitution, as in a liquid in which one molecule cannot be moved without another taking its place. Now nothing is casual, nothing is alone. The independence of objects is now only an appearance. Their apartness, their noncontact, are appearances.

THE SNOW MAN – Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

UNITY – Daglarca
The horse’s mind
So swiftly
Into the hay’s mind

The moon shines on the river,
The wind blows through the pines —
Whose providence is this long beautiful evening?

OCEANS – Juan Ramon Jimenez
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.

And nothing
Nothing . . . Silence . . . Waves . . .

— Nothing happens?
 Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

LISTEN – W.S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
 in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
and our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster thank the minutes
or our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

THE RAIN – Robert Creeley
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

the never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent -
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be, for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

A BLESSING – James Wright
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

AMPLE MAKE THIS BED – Emily Dickinson
Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
            we have come to our real work.
And that when we no longer know
            which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled
            is not employed.
The impeded stream
            is the one that sings.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

Surely all God’s people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes – all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them.

Everything is flowing – going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks ... While the stars go streaming through space pulsed on and on forever like blood ... in
Nature’s warm heart.

Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone - we all dwell in a house of one room - the world with the firmament for its roof ­– and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

The rugged old Norsemen spoke of death as Heimgang –“home-going.” So the snow-flowers go home when they melt and flow to the sea, and the rock-ferns, after unrolling their fronds to the light and beautifying the rocks, roll them up close again in the autumn and blend with the soil. Myriads of rejoicing living creatures, daily, hourly, perhaps every moment sink into death’s arms, dust to dust, spirit to spirit-waited on, watched over, noticed only by their Maker, each arriving at its own Heaven-dealt destiny. All the merry dwellers of the trees and streams, and the myriad swarms of the air, called into life by the sunbeam of a summer morning, go home through death, wings folded perhaps in the last red rays of sunset of the day they were first tried. Trees towering in the sky, braving storms of centuries, flowers turning faces to the light for a single day or hour, having enjoyed their share of life’s feast-all alike pass on and away under the law of death and love. Yet all are our brothers and they enjoy life as we do, share Heaven’s blessings with us, die and are buried in hallowed ground, come with us out of eternity and return into eternity. “Our lives are rounded with a sleep.”

On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
Lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
Honor this priceless natural treasure
Concealed in five shadows, sunk deep in the flesh.
[Translated by Gary Snyder]

Cold Mountain is a house
Without beams or walls.
The six doors left and right are open
The hall is sky blue.
The rooms all vacant and vague
The east wall beats on the west wall
At the center nothing.
Borrowers don’t bother me
In the cold I build a little fire
When I’m hungry I boil up some greens.
I’ve got no use for the kulak
With his big barn and pasture -
He just sets up a prison for himself.
Once in he can’t get out.
Think it over –
You know it might happen to you.
[Translated by Gary Snyder]

There’s a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack's got no pots or oven,
He goes for a long walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down senseless craving.
[Translated by Gary Snyder]

 – Philip Whalen 
I praise those ancient Chinamen 

Who left me a few words, 

Usually a pointless joke or silly question
A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick splashed picture ~ bug, leaf, caricature of
on paper held together now by little more than ink 
& their own strength brushed momentarily over it 

Their world and several since 

Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it ~

Cheered as it whizzed by ~
& conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars 

Happy to have saved us all.

From a hospital bed in San Francisco towards the end of his life, he commented on the stages of loss:
"They want me to die in stages.
I can’t be bothered with that."

I SAW MYSELF – Lew Welch
I saw myself

a ring of bone

in the clear stream

of all of it

and vowed

always to be open to it

that all of it

might flow through

and then heard

“ring of bone” where

ring is what a

bell does

From WOBBLY ROCK – Lew Welch
For Gary Snyder
“I think I’ll be the Buddha of this place”
and sat himself
It’s a real rock
        (believe this first)
Resting on actual sand at the surf’s edge:
Muir Beach, California
        (like everything else I have
        somebody showed it to me and I found it by myself)
Hard common stone
Size of the largest haystack
It moves when hit by waves
Actually shudders
        (even a good gust of wind will do it
        if you sit real still and keep your mouth shut)
Notched to certain center it
Yields and then comes back to it:
Wobbly tons

It has the original mouth but remains wordless;

It is surrounded by a magnificent mound of hair.

Sentient beings can get completely lost in it

But it is also the birthplace of all the
Buddhas of the ten thousand worlds.
[Translated by John Stevens]

What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters. 

He restoreth my soul, he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and angels, but do not have love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have faith so as to move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrong doing but rejoices in the truth.
 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child. When I became an adult, I put away childish ways.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I will know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

THE RED WHEELBARROW – William Carlos Williams
So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

Bliss and sorrow
love and hate
hot and cold
happiness and anger
self and other
enjoying poetry and beauty
may lead to hell
but look what we find along the way
[Translated by Brian Fuke Howlett Sensei]

From Song of Myself – Walt Whitman
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the
origin of all poems,

You shall possess the good of the earth and sun (there are
 millions of suns left)

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the
spectres in books,

You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
 from me,

You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

From SONG OF MYSELF – Walt Whitman
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains
of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

Shakyamuni Buddha’s LAST WORDS
Be a lamp unto yourself;
be your own confidence.
Hold to the truth within yourself 
as if it were the only lamp.