Archive | Koans/Poems

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Transmitting to the East

Transmitting to the east the way the ancestors brought from the west, My daily activities illuminated by the moon and shadowed by the clouds, Because I revere the ancient way of the patriarchs, The secular dust of worldly customs does not reach Where I remain secluded in my grass-thatched hut, On a snowy evening deep […]

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Whole-Hearted Attention

…without attention we live only on the surface of existence. The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention…. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars […]

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Message from Henry: Shadows

The brighter the light the deeper the shadow. It’s easy enough to see the mote in another’s eye. Our Lord is infinitely merciful – and we’ll torture you until you do feel his mercy… We venerate the bond between mother and child (witness our icons), but have a child out of wedlock and we’ll take […]

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Sonnenhof: A retreat to the mountains

Retreat to the Mountains

  A thousand clouds, ten thousand streams, Here I live, an idle man, Roaming green peaks by day, Back to sleep by cliffs at night. One by one, springs and autumns go, Free of heat and dust, my mind. Sweet to know there’s nothing I need, Silent as the autumn river’s flood. Hanshan (literally: “Cold […]

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Dogen: Every Step is Home

Treading along in this dreamlike, illusory realm, Without looking for the traces I may have left; A cuckoo’s song beckons me to return home, Hearing this, I tilt my head to see Who has told me to turn back; But do not ask me where I am going, As I travel in this limitless world, […]

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Dogen: Portrait

If you take this portrait of me to be real,
 Then what am I, really?
 But why hang it there,
 If not to anticipate people getting to know me?
 Looking at this portrait,
 Can you say that what is hanging there
 Is really me?
 In that case your mind will never be
 Fully united with […]

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Koan: Seizei the Poor

A monk, Seizei, asked Master Sôzan in all earnestness… Seizei is alone and poor. I beg you, Master, please help me to become prosperous. San said, Venerable Zei!  Yes, Master! replied Zei. San said… You have already drunk three cups of fine Hakka wine and still you say that you have not yet moistened your […]

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Dogen: Zazen Practice

  The moon mirrored By a mind free Of all distractions; Even the waves, breaking, Are reflecting its light. ~ Zen Master Dogen ~~~ Text from the Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace,  by Steven Heine. Image: Water Moon, by AhmedRadwan, CC0 Public Domain.

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