From Dogen’s Echizen

For so long here without worldly attachments,

I have renounced literature and writing;

I may be a monk in a mountain temple,

Yet still moved in seeing gorgeous blossoms

Scattered by the spring breeze,

And hearing the warbler’s lovely song—

Let others judge my meager efforts.

~ Dogen


This kanshi, one of a series of fifteen verses on Dōgen’s Echizen “mountain retreat,” expresses his creative ambivalence toward the tension between spiritual discipline and aesthetic feeling.

Text from The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace, by Steve Heine
Image: Flower by srtighe,  CC0 Public Domain from


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