Monday, 31 December 2018

Quite The Contrary, Perhaps

By Rory A.A. Hinton

“And no matter what anyone else might do or say about it, however they might judge or evaluate it, all is irrelevant in the reality of my vocation to solitude, even though I am not a typical hermit. Quite the contrary, perhaps. It does not matter how I may or may not be classified. In the light of this simple fact of God’s love and the form it has taken in the mystery of my life, classifications are ludicrous, and I have no further need to occupy my mind with them (if I ever did) - at least in this connection.” (Thomas Merton).

Mark Rothko. Untitled (1962).
Thomas Merton. Dancing In The Water Of Life. HarperOne. 2009.

和歌 December 2018

By Rory A.A. Hinton

December 2018

Saturday December 01, 2018
There once was an old
ballpark on Stadium Road.
It was completely
and utterly demolished
to make way for lesser things.

Sunday December 02, 2018
The world that she made
began before I was born.
I first read of her
rushing through two thousand one
hundred and twelve liner notes.

Monday December 03, 2018
Heard it from the hall
way down inside, woman you
truly needed it.
At least you sounded like it
in your palace of mating.

Tuesday December 04, 2018
Intolerably noisy.
It does not matter
that you were enjoying it.
What matters is my silence.

Wednesday December 05, 2018
Reading in earnest
Hemingway's early torrents
of spring in winter.
He has a place of honor:
the Karsh is hung by my door.

Thursday December 06, 2018
The more that I know,
the less that I want to be
a part of it all.
This old civilized man is
full of renewed discontent.

Friday December 07, 2018
From doing logic
in the manufacturing
warehouse that summer,
to writing pedagogic
within the academy.

Saturday December 08, 2018
It has been one week
since the formal move took place.
I am settling
into a new routine now,
while the old habits return.

Sunday December 09, 2018
The little sister
is constantly watching
my every movement.
This message and messenger
are as beautiful as her.

Monday December 10, 2018
Fifty years ago
today my solitary
master passed away.
I pay him living homage
this last month of the hermit.

Tuesday December 11, 2018
Hang your father's cross
very gently on the wall.
The shadow remains
as it was when I was too
young to take on the troubles.

Wednesday December 12, 2018
Hit the ground running
with my old Romanian
mistress memories.
Knowing that she is grateful
for her Blahniks is enough.

Thursday December 13, 2018
Was it the person
that produced the conception,
or rather was it
the conception that produced
this old Homeric person?

Friday December 14, 2018
Heard from my old cat
again after an absence.
All that she wanted
was to seductively purr
into my inviting ear.

Saturday December 15, 2018
The old alien
anthology is very
difficult to kill.
Still, it is less about death,
and so much more about stealth.

Sunday December 16, 2018
Alien anthem
and Andy's arias are
arranged and administered

Monday December 17, 2018
Not that long ago ...
the gentle echo of her
Persian persuasion
proved to me that she's a muse
who does more than just amuse.

Tuesday December 18, 2018
The last flickering
remnants of the very last
flickering remnant.
My relatively obscure
pilot light is extinguished.

Wednesday December 19, 2018
The ambient sounds
of Deckhard's old apartment.
Strangely familiar.
Who plays beautifully for me?
The worst memories are hers.

Thursday December 20, 2018
The policed foyer
is as far as you will get.
Go ahead and take
pictures of my Christmas tree,
and toss yours while you're at it.

Friday December 21, 2018
Why do they try to stop it?
From TV programs
to computer programming:
resistance is futile.

Saturday December 22, 2018
I'm drinking Red Bull
first thing within the morning
now more than ever.
Ever since Baumgartner fell
to the earth, I've been jacked up.

Sunday December 23, 2018
Every so often
the sirens begin to sing
their destructive song.
They even use tunes I like.
The Garden is an instance.

Monday December 24, 2018
My own prison cell
devoted entirely
to my undoing.
For twenty four hours now
I stay wholly secluded.

Tuesday December 25, 2018
Concentrating on
the birth as well as the death
of the crucified.
Nothing more and nothing less
to stress over, finally.

Wednesday December 26, 2018
Still no word from them.
Be still and know that I am
good with this response.
This is what I have wanted.
Welcome to the new normal.

Thursday December 27, 2018
There's a new baby
now within the family.
I don't know her name.
I only heard second hand.
Third is more appropriate.

Friday December 28, 2018
For twelve straight hours
all my fingers kept moving
over the black keys.
I worked until I could not
work any longer at it.

Saturday December 29, 2018
It's the last weekend
of the year of the hermit.
I'm settled into
my manor and my manner.
The beginning of the end.

Sunday December 30, 2018
The external world
becomes physically distant.
The internal world
becomes timelessly present.
This is my reality.

Monday December 31, 2018
The refuged recluse
retreats from his fifty years
worth of recused clues.
Honestly hermeneuting
in the age of the hermit. 

Friday, 21 December 2018

Feuerbach's Essence

By Rory A.A. Hinton

The Essence Of Christianity is nothing but a footnote to Metaphysics. When Feuerbach states that he differs from those philosophers "who pluck out their eyes that they may see better; for my thought I require the senses, especially sight," he is echoing Aristotle: "All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is in the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight."
     To therefore claim with Feuerbach that theology is anthropology is simply another way of saying with Aristotle that the essence of a thing is found within the thing itself: the soul of the eye is seeing. This is why Heidegger states that you cannot have Being without human beings. And this is why Rahner echos Heidegger by arguing that to carry out Feuerbach's program of reformulating dogmatic theology into theological anthropology does not necessarily mean that God gets reduced to man,  because "to turn toward man is to discover the place where mystery is inscribed in the world." Ecce Homo is merely the means.
     Not all philosophy is but footnotes to Plato. Feuerbach’s Essence is the exceptional exception.

Aristotle. Metaphysics. Princeton University Press. 1991.
Karl Rahner. Foundations Of Christian Faith. Crossroad. 1982.
Ludwig Feuerbach. The Essence Of Christianity. Dover. 2008.
Martin Heidegger. Being And Time. Blackwell Publishers. 1962.
Thomas Sheehan. The Dream Of Karl Rahner. The New York Review Of Books. February 4, 1982.

Friday, 30 November 2018

和歌 November 2018

By Rory A.A. Hinton

Grace Under Pressure

November 2018

Thursday November 01, 2018
Living in the past
is living in the present.
The future is now,
within this very moment
(at least for the time-being).

Friday November 02, 2018
The way continues
to the now of this moment.
And with every bow
the practice begins and ends
without an interruption.

Saturday November 03, 2018
Studying Huike
is actually feasting
upon his marrow.
This is not for everyone.
Some lack the stomach for it.

Sunday November 04, 2018
is absolutely useless
unless you address
the basis of the protest:
The Summa Theologiae.

Monday November 05, 2018
There’s that smell again.
It makes me feel fucking sick
to my sucking gut.
It's not fresh, it is stale, straight
from the psychiatric ward.

Tuesday November 06, 2018
Into Great Silence.
What is the greatest silence?
Beyond poverty,
beyond chastity, beyond
obedience and Orders.

Wednesday November 07, 2018
Office politics
rears its ugly head once more.
I remain remote,
even in the midst of it.
At least I appeared again.

Thursday November 08, 2018
Furniture uproar.
No place to place anyone
anymore (or less).
My body barely fits in,
as my lofted mind lifts off.

Friday November 09, 2018
I'll tell you this much,
I will marry only once.
If it doesn't work,
I'll give her all of my stuff.
For me that will be enough.

Saturday November 10, 2018
This is the first snow
falling outside my window.
It's almost as thick
as the fall on that campus
when I disclosed my secret.

Sunday November 11, 2018
It is only right
that I remain with my kind.
With this white Insight 
I fight tooth and nail against
the flight from understanding.

Monday November 12, 2018
Under the weather.
Oversights are understood,
but I'm not able
to overcome them today.
Tuesday is another day.

Tuesday November 13, 2018
Time to stop reading.
Time to stop being concerned
with the verb 'to be',
to the extent that it tries
to keep me from becoming.

Wednesday November 14, 2018
I received the news
this morning concerning his
overdosing end.
I am remembering him,
despite our friendly distance.

Thursday November 15, 2018
This ghosting silence
is fully returned in turn.
It's never noticed.
On this very day of days,
I react accordingly.

Friday November 16, 2018
Reading all the charts
again after all this time.
Taking it all in
without trying to follow
every candlestick and wick.

Saturday November 17, 2018
This reality,
reason, reward, revenue,
and romance appears:
an old philosophy For
The New Intellectual.

Sunday November 18, 2018
They were look alikes.
Both were philosophical,
and sounded the same.
But one taught Aristotle,
while the other Heidegger.

Monday November 19, 2018
Rally base rally.
Higher highs and lower lows.
The talk of the trade
is spoken every morning.
After that the charts are mute.

Tuesday November 20, 2018
Fate is just the weight
of all the circumstances
that work their way through
the who, what, when, where, why, how,
and (very heavy) whether.

Wednesday November 21, 2018
Number twenty one
appears without fail each month.
It's a reminder
that I have a beginning,
and will also have an end.

Thursday November 22, 2018
My circumstances
are mindfully circumscribed.
And the more they change
the more they will remain as
Hemispheres within my head.

Friday November 23, 2018
None stop nine to five.
This is how I stay alive,
and meet my deadlines.
Nice work if you can get it.
I got it because I lied.

Saturday November 24, 2018
Haul ass to save ass,
exactly like Jackie O
in the black limo.
The only way to fight them
is to be where they are not.

Sunday November 25, 2018
Rest one day a week.
The less I rest, the weaker
I tend to become.
This one day is devoted
to absolutely nothing.

Monday November 26, 2018
How hard can it be?
I submitted my order.
You obviously
entered incorrect data.
I had to correct it, twice.

Tuesday November 27, 2018
Grace under pressure
and the wisdom to match it
is all that I need.
What the hell are you doing?
This is a telling question.

Wednesday November 28, 2018
This is moving day.
I need to be out by twelve.
I always clean up,
but the unexpected change
in the date prevented me.

Thursday November 29, 2018
You are beautiful
exactly as you are.
This is the message
that I received once again,
as I moved into my cell.

Friday November 30, 2018
Anthem of the heart,
and anthem of me minding
my own damn business.
Prometheus could care less,
unless its the Golden One. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

和歌 October 2018

By Rory A.A. Hinton

October 2018

Monday October 01, 2018
Even wasted time
is time-being being time.
There's no time to waste.
So, make haste by arousing
hosshin beyond Sein Und Zeit.

Tuesday October 02, 2018
The true power lies
in sitting thoroughly still.
Koans become lies
for those whose only focus
is 'Zazen' and not Zazen.

Wednesday October 03, 2018
Enter samadhi
and remain at ease within
the withering tree.
Ride on the backs of dragons,
roaring and snoring in turn. 

Thursday October 04, 2018
A formal greeting:
bowing and burning incense.
This life is fleeting,
so abandon the household
and attend to your own cell.

Friday October 05, 2018
is the cause of all distaste.
The ten directions
are penetrated with each
effect of every action. 

Saturday October 06, 2018
Being unsuited
as I am for the great work,
I remain muted.
A patchwork quilt of a robe
is all that I need to be.

Sunday October 07, 2018
Silence and gesture
are the only ways to speak
with intimacy.
They are the all embracing
manifestations of it.

Monday October 08, 2018
The Carthusian
Order is alive and well
inside of the cell:
the living spirit behind
the letter of The Statutes.

Tuesday October 09, 2018
You can either have
thousands of scriptures, or one
By the way, both of these are
not mutually exclusive.

Wednesday October 10, 2018
Many if any
variations on a theme
that can be traced back
to a man sitting under
a tree holding a flower.

Thursday October 11, 2018
Wholeheartedly sit.
Depend upon nothing else.
You are fully filled
with treasure you already
have in the fullest measure.

Friday October 12, 2018
Time never arrives
too early, neither too late.
It always survives
distancing disappointment
by remaining punctual.

Saturday October 13, 2018
Joyfully resting
mind is what's most primary.
Secondary things
are myriad conditions
that don't leave any traces.

Sunday October 14, 2018
Waking up again
to the same situation
over and over
again like a timeless loop:
changing shape, remaining still.

Monday October 15, 2018
This very moment
is all that has ever been
and will ever be.
This eternal life belongs
to those who live presently.

Tuesday October 16, 2018
No territory
that requires it to be
guarded tooth and nail.
Whither apologia?
The Magic Flute plays for thee.

Wednesday October 17, 2018
There's immediate
freedom from both fame and gain
when the way-seeking
mind is aroused from within.
You are then kind from without.

Thursday October 18, 2018
Words are only words.
That said, I fancy the word
trust, not the word faith.
This façon de parler is

Friday October 19, 2018
Unwholesome women
along with unwholesome men
abound everywhere.
True aspiration does not
depend upon one's gender.

Saturday October 20, 2018
Practicing precepts
is pursuing the prajna.
The monastic way
is not about following
fame (and shame), and gain (and pain).

Sunday October 21, 2018
Not leaving a trace
of the past six years gone by.
I tried to show grace,
with dignity and respect.
I got nothing but a ghost.

Monday October 22, 2018
Just wholeheartedly
accept with intimate trust
that the space within
which you wholeheartedly trust
is wholeheartedly trusting.

Tuesday October 23, 2018
When have I not been
sitting in front of this wall,
nostril deep and wide?
What's the fundamental point?
Penatrate penetration.

Wednesday October 24, 2018
This very morning
I suddenly realized
snow is the mountain,
the mountain is the mountain,
and the white falling snow falls.

Thursday October 25, 2018
To abandon views
and interpretations is
not to somehow be
completely unaware of
them and their useful function.

Friday October 26, 2018
The flag is flapping
in the wind and the wind is
flapping in the flag.
It is neither flag nor wind.
It is mind flapping in mind.

Saturday October 27, 2018
There's nowhere to run
to and there's nowhere to hide.
There's nothing to hide
from and there's nothing to run
to within this birth-and-death.

Sunday October 28, 2018
There's no exceptions:
unwholesome acts cause decline,
but all wholesome acts
are equal and opposite.
There are no gaps in karma.

Monday October 29, 2018
Achieve what-it-is.
That is the prime directive.
Deepen what you have.
That is the secondary
directive in one's practice.

Tuesday October 30, 2018
Dharma transmission
on the very first meeting.
There's no need to wait
when there is unconditioned
recognition in between.

Wednesday October 31, 2018
What’s a layperson?
This is a person who knows
enjoyment and ease.
They lay down as they please like
an old recling buddha.

Saturday, 22 September 2018


By Rory A.A. Hinton

Dōgen Zenji
January 19, 1200 - September 22, 1253

The following 和歌 are written in grateful response to the koans and capping verses found in Dōgen Zenji's The True Dharma Eye.

001. Qingyuan’s Whisk

In holding up the fly whisk
     he revealed the entire Buddhist Canon. 
Even though the whole essence is revealed,
     still, it is only half. 

Holding Buddha's whisk,
Dōgen Zenji swats at flies.
He never misses.
Words are still buzzing over
this empty dharma dirt hole.

002. Baizhang Remains Seated

When the dharma wheel turns, 
     It always goes in both directions.
Cutting through vines and entanglements,
     the old adept closes the gap with his body. 

Sitting in silence
is all that is required. 
Speaking is silence.
The true person spins the wheel, 
alone in the abbot’s room.

003. Nanquan’s “Water Buffalo”

If you call it a water buffalo,
     it’s really Nanquan.
If you call it Nanquan,
     it’s really a water buffalo. 

Water bag of bones
always breathing on its own.
The mountain doner
grows fresh grass by the window.
Buffalo eats by moonlight.

004. Mazu’s “Heart Sūtra”

Right within light there is darkness;
     right within darkness there is light.
Going to where life itself springs forth,
     the body of suchness is revealed.

Mazu’s “Lecturer!”
teaches the flipped sleeves Sutra.
Lecturer Liang
was never heard from again.
No such thing as heart and mind.

005. Layman Pangyun’s Awakening

When reasoning is exhausted, 
     body and mind fall away.
When the defilement of things is eliminated,
     the light first appears.

Shut the layman up
underneath the Xi River.
Pangyun’s single gulp
eliminates everything.
Nothing left to write about.

006. Master Langye’s “Original Purity”

See it with the ears,
     and you will go blind.
Hear it with the eyes,
     and you will go deaf.

Breath after breath breathes
Original Purity.
Breath after breath breathes
Original Purity.
Original Purity. 

007. Yangshan’s “It’s Not That There Is No Enlightenment”

Endless blue mountains,
     free of even a particle of dust.
Boundless rivers of tumbling torrents,
     ceaselessly flowing. 

Mihu’s monastic
gets dragged into Yangshan’s shit,
without getting sick. 
What is his enlightened trick?
He returns and then reports.

008. Nanyue Polishes A Brick

On the tips of ten thousand grasses, 
     each and every dewdrop contains the light of the moon.
Since the beginning of time,
     not a single droplet has been forgotten.
Although this is so,
     some may realize it, and some may not. 

This old body sits
alone for the time being.
The cold clock strikes six.
Thirty minutes later on,
the singing bowl tolls for thee.

009. Minister Peixiu Sees A Portrait

Seeing forms and hearing sounds intimately, 
     is whole body and mind seeing and hearing.
It’s not like reflections in a mirror, or echoes in the valley - 
     when you really see, you go blind,
     when you really hear, you go deaf.
Leave things as they are.
What kind of seeing is that?
Why search near and far
to answer questions like these?
Huangbo joined the workers.  

010. Qingyuan’s “Come Closer”

The bring shining sun
     lights up the sky.
The pure whispering wind
     covers the earth.

It is just like this: 
Bodhidharma is always
coming to his bliss.
Don’t try to keep this in mind.
Qingyuan brings all this out. 

011. Zhaozhou’s “Losing The Mind In Confusion”

When thoughts disappear,
     the thinker disappears.
When the mind is at peace,
     the whole universe is at peace.

This is a confusing word. 
The Third Ancestor?
He is a confusing man.
Sit down. Stand up. Disappear.

012. Dongshan’s “Going Beyond Buddha”

It cannot be described;
     it cannot be pictured.
The beauty of this garden
     is invisible to even the greatest sages.
The magnitude of this dwelling is so vast,
     no teaching can stain it. 

Sitting and saying:
you can’t stain what’s not sustained.
Saying and showing
the wisdom that is not taught.
Knowing beyond the Buddha.

013. Touzi’s Moon

The light illuminates in accordance
     with causes and circumstances, time and season.
In its fineness, it enters the spaceless,
     in its boundlessness, it reaches everywhere.

Swallow Touzi’s moon.
Spring, summer, fall, and winter,
it’s never too soon
to spit these old numbers out:
three and four, seven and eight. 

014. Yangshan’s “Dharma Positions” 

Though clouds may come
     and clouds may go.
The pure wind that carries them,
     only I can know.

Sagan’s billions and billions
continue to dance. 
This should not be our concern.
Gassho and be done with it. 

015. Xuansha’s “One Bright Pearl”

The question came from the cave of demons
     the master answered with a mud ball.
Beyond telling, absolutely beyond telling - 
     ultimately, we can only nod to ourselves.

The pearl of great price.
Repeating repetition
is a demon’s vice.
Repeating repetition
as Jesus and Xuansha nod. 

016. Changsha’s “Returning To Mountains, Rivers, And The Great Earth”

There is no place to hide
     the true self.
When the universe disintegrates,
     “it” remains indestructible.
The gigantic body 
     ultimately has no abode.

For the time-being
Heidegger’s Being And Time
asks about beings.
Both Germany and Japan
answer with myriad things. 

017. Xiangyan’s Great Enlightenment

Hearing sounds with the whole body and mind,
     seeing forms with the whole body and mind,
     one understands them intimately.

How was it? It was.
Be Zen being Zen without
explaining the cause. 
As a hermit monastic
I sit beside Xiangyan’s grave.

018. Nanquan And The Land Deity

In whole body and mind seeing and hearing, 
     there is intimacy. 
In this continuum no trace of the self remains,
     and this tracelessness continues endlessly.

The land deity.
That bowl of rice offering.
This intimacy. 
Practice coming and going
tracelessly right on the spot. 

019. “Ordinary Mind Is The Way”

The enlightened and the deluded all live in its presence.
Move toward it, and the sickness is increased.
Describe it,
and you miss it entirely.

Ordinary mind
full of present emptiness.
There’s nothing to find
here, so stop describing it
by remaining nostril deep.

020. Changsha’s “Stop Illusory Thinking”

Bright day, blue sky - 
     in a dream he tries to explain his dream.
See! The myriad forms arising and vanishing,
     all abiding in their own dharma place,
     constantly reveal the buddha nature.

Sit still all day long
and chop the earthworm in two.
Sing the dragon song
and stop the buddha in you.
Du should not have responded.

021. Panshan’s “Cut A Fine Piece”

If you speak of gain and loss,
     you are a person of gain and loss.
Don’t you see? The tall one is a tall buddha,
     the short one is a short buddha. 

Be intimacy.
Wisdom wisely seeks wisdom
beyond secrecy.
Beneath, between, and behind,
nothing gained nor lost is found.

022. Puhua’s Bell Song

Although his eyes see forms, it’s as if he were blind;
     although his ears hear sounds, it’s as if he were deaf.
Don’t you know? Only the deaf, dumb, and blind
     know how to compound medicine and feed the hungry.

Oranges singing
on the top of the apples.
Banana sitting
on the bottom of the bowl.
Linji's fruitless offering.

023. Yangshan’s “High and Low”

Each and every thing abiding in its own dharma state
     completely fulfills its virtues.
Each and every thing is related to everything else
     in function and position.

Plowing the rice field.
Watering old Guishan’s seeds. 
The high and low yields
nothing extraordinary.
Ordinary mindlessness.

024. Dasui’s “Great Kalpa Fire”

Dripping with mud and foul smelling,
     the old puppet dances to the jerks and pulls.
Like a bright mirror on its stand,
     the reflection is true to the form.

Sitting and shitting
the annihilating fire.
Shitting and setting
the daily record crooked.
Cucumbers grow in the mud. 

025. The Master’s Portrait

The transmission of the Way
     is not to be found in following after others.
If you want to know the truth of the universe,
     see that the reality of ignorance is no other than buddha nature,
     and the illusory form is itself the pure Dharmakāya.

The silent discourse.
The hidden activity. 
Serving the main course
by showing and by saying
next to nothing here at all. 

026. The National Teacher’s “Pure Dharma Body”

In our frantic search for the “gold,”
     discrimination mind dominates and we miss the truth.
This is the cause of the endless cycle of birth and death,
     yet the deluded take it for the body of reality.

Immovable sounds
are heard in the silent forms.
No conflict is found
inside of the golden head. 
The birds nest on top of it. 

027. Linji’s Enlightenment

Huangbo’s kindness was excessive;
     Gao’an’s mouth was too extravagant.
Still, the mist opened and revealed in a cloudless sky
     the autumn moon, alone.

Huangbo hits and hits
and hits nothing essential. 
This dead tree stump sits
ceaselessly practicing still. 
Linji strikes the final blow. 

028. “Dragon Howling In A Withered Tree”

Letting out the hook,
  just to fish out the dragons.
The mysterious devices outside of convention
  are only for those who wish to know the self.

Stop mystifying
facts with deadening poems.
The dragon’s howling
roars in this withering tree
of life for the time being.

029. Daowu Won’t Say

In arriving, not an atom is added - 
thus life is called the unborn.
In departing, not a particle is lost,
thus death is called the unextinguished.

Life is intimate.
Death is intimate.
He taps and he hits
every possible coffin.
Daowu passes, and remains. 

030. Caochan’s “No Change”

In arriving, nothing is added - 
in departing, nothing is lost.
Ultimately, how is it?
Coming and going is always right here.

Going and coming.
Not staying and not leaving.
Laughing and crying.
All of this happens right here.
Caochan has no change to spare.

031. Deshan’s Thirty Blows

Your coming and going
always takes place right where you are.
Your laughing and crying
are always the voice of the dharma body.

Neither achievement
nor enlightenment is sought.
What old Deshan meant
is found while facing a wall.
Nothing more nor less is hit.

032. Taiyuan Fans Himself

Autumn’s wind blows
and falling leaves fill the air.
When they fall, they always come to rest
no place but here.

Self left on the shelf.
Nostrils keep on breathing as
the wind fans itself.
It’s as stale as it is fresh.
The autumn leaves are falling.

033. Caoshan’s “Falling And Rising”

Do not be distressed by wrong,
do not delight in right.
For the ancient buddhas, all things are like
flowers and blossoms.
Poeny flowers, are red,
plum blossoms are white.

Nothing here to lack.
Having left their house and home,
monks do not bow back.
Emperors pay their respect,
falling and rising at once.

034. The World-Honored One’s “Intimate Speech”

One had intimate speech,
the other did not conceal it.
The World-Honored One held up a flower,
Mahākāśyapa smiled.
No gaps.

Private irony
and public utility.
This intimacy
is hidden and is open
to all who know how to smile.

035. Touzi’s “Harmonizing The Ten Bodies”

Each and every one - all real,
each and every thing - all complete.
Where there is no affirmation and no negation,
there it stands alone, revealed.

The sitting platform
always stands with folded hands
revealing true form.
Touzi’s ten bodies are one
and two: sacred and profane. 

036. Deshan’s “Assembly on Vulture Peak”

The spiritual potential of the thousand sages
is not easily attained.
Dragon daughters and sons, do not be irresolute - 
ten thousand miles of pure wind,
only you can know it.

The same old refrain:
“...once asked by a monastic...” 
The more that things change,
the more they remain the same.
Is this the family secret?

037. Yuezhou’s “Path To Nirvāṇa”

Vast and boundless, nothing is hidden,
and all the way to heaven is heaven itself.
The rains have passed,
and the summer river runs deep and fast.
Looking to the left, looking to the right - 
there are no seams, no flaws.

In boundless style
the Vulture Peak blossom blinks. 
Nirvāṇa smiles
as Bodhidharma’s eyes both
open and close without lids. 

038. Xuefeng’s “Turning The Dharma Wheel”

Xuefeng is clearly a thief who steals in broad daylight,
but Xuansha steals the thief’s horse and pursues him.
It finally just comes down to two monastics playing
with mud balls.
After all, sweet is just sweet, bitter is just bitter.

Xuefeng likes to steal
from Xuansha, as they both
turn the dharma wheel
with all the burning buddhas,
throwing fire back and forth.

039. Jingqing’s “Buddhadharma At The New Year”

One raises it up,
the other pushes it down.
In their loss of virtue,
both are completely free.

There is no virtue
either to lose or to gain.
But there is virtue
to gain by losing virtue
like Jingqing and Mingjiao. 

040. Sansheng’s Blindness

The staff transforms into a dragon
and swallows the universe.
When the host is reverent, the guest becomes pompous.
The underlying meaning - what is it?

The bowl from Tibet
is singing for blind Baoshou.
The bowl from Tibet
is sitting on its zafu.
The mallet is struck by it.

041. Shitou’s “Ask The Pillar”

There is no place to search for the truth - 
though it’s right beneath your feet, it can’t be found.
Look at springtime - when the snow has melted,
the scars of the landscape are no longer hidden. 

Answer the pillar
when it asks: What do you say?
Say: Ask the pillar.
If you do not understand,
then you do not understand. 

042. Jingqing’s Thirty Blows

When reason is exhausted
  and all considerations are forgotten,
it becomes clear that wherever you may go
there is always the frosty night’s moon.

It has always been
right here, and also right there.
Everywhere is seen
traveling its pilgrimage.
Moon over monastery. 

043. Guizong Cuts A Snake

Coarse, fine - 
heads and tails are on one coin.
The sword that kills is none other
than the sword that gives life.

Only a serpent
cuts snakes into two pieces.
Only the servant
of Guizong sees where he cuts
through the silent lecturer. 

044. Guishan’s “I Have Already Exhausted Myself For You”

Deaf, mute, and blind - 
already illuminating before it is said.
Manifesting the body as preaching,
saving all sentient beings.

Sitting and preaching
the word without any words.
Preaching and sitting
still after all of these years.
Expression. Enjoyment. Ease. 

045. Xuansha’s “The Three Vehicles And The Twelve Divisions Of Sūtras”

When the words and ideas that describe reality fall away,
all that remains
is reality itself.

The singing bowl’s mouth
opens wide to the heavens.
West, East, North, and South:
it sings in all directions
an unnecessary song.

046. Zhaozhou’s Four Gates

North of the capital,
     south of the capital,
The peaceful dwelling is not
     a place of yin and yang.

Zhaozhou’s residence
is a peaceful dwelling place.
The yang and yin dance
within this balancing point
to the point of exhaustion.

047. Guishan’s “Do Not Betray Others”

Pure jeweled eyes, virtuous arms -
formless and selfless, they enter the fray.
The great function works in all ways - 
these hands and eyes are the whole thing. 

Enough is always
enough: saying less is more. 
Enough is the Way
to be loyal to others.
Enough of this already.

048. Xuansha’s Blank Letter

If you can see reality outside of patterns,
and embody the truth that cannot be taught,
you enter the valley of the endless spring
riding the ox backward.

While he was teaching
Xuefeng received a letter.
While he was reading
this empty piece of paper,
Xuansha received Xuefeng.

049. Dongshan’s “Top Of The Mountain”

The Cold Mountain hermit
forgot the way he had come.
Deaf, dumb, and blind,
he found his resting place.

Zazen and kinhin
are indistinguishable.
Kinhin and zazen
distinguish themselves,
walking on Dongshan's mountain.

050. Shilou’s Shortcomings

Where can we put this gigantic body?
There is no place to put it.
Ultimately, how is it?
When clouds gather on the mountain,
thunder fills the valley.

Shilou’s shortcomings
are very long suffering.
He’s always showing
just how much he is at fault. 
Shilou bows and hits himself.

051. Niutou And The Fourth Ancestor

Realization of the source
is realization of the tributaries.
Realization of the tributaries
is realization of the source. 
Seeing the connecting link
is seeing the Way.

He once had a wife
whom he loved in his fashion.
Now he lives his life
without gain and without fame,
walking on Wang’s single road. 

052. Sansheng’s “Golden Fish”

The old mountain pond,
crystal clear through and through.
The solitary carp swimming by
flourishes its tail and stirs up the bottom.

Breathing through the pain
is a painless occurrence.
No loss and no gain
to single minded sitting. 
The fish is busy swimming.

053. Shitou’s “Great And Small Canon”

Breathing in, the whole universe is swallowed.
Breathing out, the ten thousand dharmas are
A hundred thousand scriptures
ceaselessly proclaiming the truth.

Nothing to transmit.
Empty words pointing nowhere. 
To humbly submit
this for consideration
is to take the forward step. 

054. Baizhang’s Second Visit To Mazu

The earthshaking thunderclap
still resounds in these mountains and valleys.
Baizhang’s impairment has nourished countless generations
of Zen practitioners throughout the world.

Mazu’s skillful whisk
swats at the blind words between
Baizhang’s flapping lips,
and shouts at the empty space
between Baizhang’s two deaf ears. 

055. Dongshan’s “Dharma Bodies”

The old master’s intimacy is indeed touching.
But until you know the skin of your own face,
you will never know it,
and yet, you cannot avoid it.

Practicing because
no one sees and no one knows.
If not, then the cause
of fragmentation remains.
The dharma body is one.

056. Guishan’s Gift

The great earth innocently
nurtures the flowers of spring.
Birds trust freely
the strength of the wind.
All of this derives from the power of giving,
as does the self, coming into being.

Bodhidharma is
the gift that keeps on giving. 
The giving is his,
along with the gift given:
he hits the sitting platform. 

057. Where Wisdom Cannot Reach

Before the kalpa of emptiness,
  one complete circle.
Even the yellow-faced old master never understood it.
How then, can we speak of transmitting it?

Silent sitting is
the doing of not doing. 
Pure purposelessness.
Wise enough to be clumsy?
There is no source to speak of.

058. Shishuang’s “Nothing Is Concealed”

When views and comparisons are at last set aside,
the forest of patterns is no longer hidden
and the myriad forms are clearly evident.

Nothing to reflect
on and on questions are asked.
With all due respect,
“this not turning back to look”
looks like no answer at all. 

059. Huineng Doesn’t Understand

The illiterate woodcutter from the south
still doesn’t understand.
It’s not that there is no such thing;
it’s just that it cannot be grasped. 

Knowing not knowing. 
This is don’t know mind showing. 
Showing not showing.
This is body-mind knowing
beyond the Buddhadharma. 

060. Xuansha’s Seamless Stupa

The seamless stupa fills all of space - 
nothing is hidden.
Vast and boundless, without edges - 
the truth is affirmed, generation after generation. 

How high should it be?
Looking up and looking down. 
Seven or eight feet:
the height of affirmation. 
This can also be looked at. 

061. Guishan’s “Exploring Spiritual Powers”

Unifying the myriad reflections,
one’s own light is without hindrance.
Opened up, the ground of being
ceaselessly meets itself.
Realizing wisdom, manifesting compassion - 
how many have this kind of spiritual power?

The teaching ended
when Guishan turned to the wall. 
Splendid miracle!
The water in the basin
is the tea within the bowl. 

062. Dongshan’s “Disclosing Mind, Disclosing Nature”

Though we may speak of it, it cannot be conveyed;
  try to picture it, yet it cannot be seen.
When the universe collapses, “it” is indestructible.

Gaining complete death
before one actually dies. 
With each passing breath
the living dead disclose it.
There is nothing to achieve. 

063. Baofu’s “Point Of Attainment”

The truth of the universe is intimately perfect
and inconceivably subtle.
How can it be spoken of in terms
of delusion and enlightenment?

The balancing point
points to nothing that’s attained. 
What then is the point?
The incense burns either way,
whether it’s offered or not. 

064. Nanquan’s “Content And Container”

It has been spoken for us - 
the time of light and dark, hand in hand.
North, south, east, west;
let us return to the deep river
in its journey to the great ocean.

This water bearer
pours out air through his nostrils.
The fatal error
is in mystifying this
as a poetic symbol.

065. Guizong’s “One-Flavor Zen”

The Great Way is vast and all-pervading - 
if you direct yourself toward it, you move away from it.
For the mind unified with the Way,
all striving ceases.

Time never arrives
too early neither too late. 
Time always survives
flavored discrimination
for the time-being it is. 

066. Yaoshan’s “Birth Of A Calf”

The light illuminates the whole universe - 
nothing is hidden.
Following the winding road, 
you ride the iron ox home.

There is no outside.
Enter in through the out gate.
There is no inside.
Exit out through the in gate. 
Light the lamp and burn the gate. 

067. Zhaozhou’s “Wash Your Bowls”

When the dharma has not yet filled our body and mind,
we think we’ve had enough.
When the dharma fills our body and mind,
we realize something is missing.

Just shut up and sit,
eat, wash your bowl, and repeat.
The true monastic
embodies Zhaozhou’s teaching
over again without end. 

068. Yangshan Plants His Hoe

Beyond stages, transcending expedient means,
mind to mind in accord.
When the mile-high weeds wither,
the boundless horizon appears.

Where have you come from,
and to where are you going?
With the total sum
of the dharma in his hoe,
Yangshan drags it through these weeds. 

069. Families Use It Daily

If the eye does not sleep,
all dreams cease of themselves.
If the mind does not discriminate,
all things are of one suchness.

No understanding
of what gets used every day?
Practice studying
the book that never changes:
the Way of reading I Ching.

070. Caoshan’s “Raising Livestock”

A white buffalo on open ground
is truly hard to come by.
If you can immediately understand,
you see it doesn’t come from outside.
If you cannot immediately understand,
you certainly will never recognize it.

It will always be
eighty percent in the end. 
In trying to seek
the extra twenty that’s left, 
you fail to nod to yourself. 

071. Cuiwei’s “Meaning”

The hazy moon’s light
barely illuminates the valley.
The warm spring breeze
greens the frozen riverbanks.
Evening’s frost
becomes the morning dew.

The exact meaning
of Bodhidharma’s coming
is this time-being. 
It is as tall as he is.
He is as short as it is.

072. Dongshan’s “Not-Buddha”

Although the highest peak of the sacred mountain
     has been ascended,
     you should realize that there are still 
     endless heavens beyond. 

the truth that’s too true to tell.
The eye that can see,
but is never itself seen,
skillfully apprehends it.

073. Mimoyan’s Pitchfork

Holding up the pitchfork, 
     he carries out the imperative. 
Where committing and negating emerge,
     even the tongues of sages fall to the ground.

What kind of demon
would even ask these questions?
Skillful possession
is the imperative means.
Turning the pitchfork around.

074. Zhaozhou Rotates The Canon

When you see the Great Canon,
     you go blind.
When you hear the Great Canon,
     you go deaf.
Eighty-six generations - 
     yet no one knows the Great Canon. 

Rotate the canon
greatly without announcement.
Zhaozhou’s donation
was just eighty six percent.
The old woman still complains.

075. Yantou’s “Sit Still”

If your mind does not stop chasing thoughts,
     how will you ever free yourself?
Morning mist hovering in the mouth of the valley
     causes many people to miss the source.

Rise with the three worlds.
All you need to do is sit.
Still, we want to hurl
words, as if this will bring Mount Lu
back to where it never left.

076. “No-Mind Is The Way”

The Great Way is not difficult;
     just avoid picking and choosing.
In one there are many;
     in two there is no duality.

No-Mind is the Way?
No mind is never the way
to what we can't say.
You are not anyone else.
Nothing is anything else.

077. Disclosing Is Not As Good As Practice

Practice without understanding
     is like eyes opened in the darkness.
Understanding without practice
     is like eyes close in the daylight.
When practice and understanding have merged
     eyes are open in the bright light of day. 

Better to practice
than it is to write ‘practice’,
even though practice
is ‘practicing’ all the same.
The 'practice' of 'practicing.'

078. Dongshan’s “Where Is The Fault?”

Looking into the ancient mirror,
     form and reflection see each other.
In an instant, it is seen that you are not it,
     but it is clearly you.

Take the fruit away.
Let the sky and the ground stay
where it is, and say:
The fault is in the saying!
Go ahead now, be at fault.

079. Yaoshan’s Discourse

The dharma of suchness,
     infinitely profound and minutely subtle.
In twenty-five hundred years of transmission,
     it has never passed from mouth to ear.

Poetic discourse
is the next to best response.
Yaoshan’s speechless source
walks back to the abbot’s room
without following him there.

080. Zhaozhou’s Buddha

This old buddha has a way of teaching:
     thirty blows of the stick without raising a hand.
Directing yourself toward it, you move away from it.
What person’s life is lacking? 

Stay right where you are.
There are blossoms all around.
Why go near and far?
Bloom where you have been planted
by pulling out all the roots.

081. Yunmen’s “Everyone’s Light”

When you point to the light,
     she shows you the dark.
When you point to the dark,
     she shows you the light.
When light and dark are both forgotten,
     the ten thousand hands and eyes spontaneously appear.

everywhere is everyone.
The comparison
between good thing and no thing
illuminates no shadow.

082. Dongshan’s “No Grass”

Passing through the forest of brambles,
     we enter clear ground.
Then, like the spring breeze,
     we must enter the scars of the burned-out fields.

Within the forest
is the autumnal clearing.
This always exists
in the seasonal sitting
on grass, leaves, snow, and fresh dew.

083. Yunyan Sweeps The Ground

Working hard or not working hard - 
     this is not a matter of yin and yang.
How could the first moon be anything other
     than the second moon?

Not working easy
is nothing more than hard work.
Sweeping uneasy
with the moon within our hands,
and the broom within the sky.

084. Yunyan’s “Not A Single Word”

Those who have realized the truth cannot say it - 
     they can only nod to themselves.
Those who say it have not yet realized it - 
     the truth cannot be communicated.

Unless you become
like Yunyan’s wordless child,
gaining the kingdom
will always be within reach,
but it won’t ever be grasped.

085. Shishuang’s “A Single Hair Pierces Innumerable Holes”

Difficult to express, even for an adept - 
     how many know how to beat the ancient drum?
Mountains and rivers are not seen in a mirror - 
     where one side is illuminated, the other side is dark. 

Your sandals wear out
walking ten thousand miles.
What is this about?
This distance is very far.
This discipline is so wide.

086. Yaoshan’s “This Buddha, That Buddha”

There are ten thousand dharmas
     in the valley of the dry bones.
If you don’t see it, you shrivel up and die;
     when you do see it, the dead trees come to life. 

Bathing the buddha
is bathing this and that one.
Buddha bathes buddha.
Sometimes the water is hot.
Sometimes the water is cold.

087. Nanquan’s “Nothing Special”

Rotating the heavens,
     revolving the sun and moon.
Each and every action
     contains the universe.

It’s nothing special:
sitting in front of a wall.
It’s nothing special:
patting the back of a wall
sitting monastic master.

088. Lingzhao’s “Bright And Clear”

The ten thousand things are the true dharma,
     the ten directions are one reality.
Don’t you know?
The Dharmakāya is not like anything. 

Our family business
is run in its own fashion.
It’s no one’s business
how we stock our own cupboard.
But it’s free for the taking.

089. Shishuang’s “This Side And That Side

This side, that side - 
heads and tails are two parts of the same coin.
A single moment of yes and no,
and heaven and earth are separated.

If he had walked back,
rather than just standing there,
he would have stepped back.
But, west is east, east is west:
there’s nothing to understand.

090. Jiashan Sees The Ferryman

Clouds vanish and the sun appears -
     the endless spring is revealed.
This is not a time of yin and yang.
Thus, no communication whatsoever is possible.
The truth is not like something. 

There is nothing less
than Chuanzi’s “something more.”
No more and no less
is required to erase
all traces of attainment.

091. Huangbo’s Single Staff

It supports you crossing the river on a moonless night,
     it eases your burden in ascending a mountain. 
This single staff, seven feet long - 
     once it’s understood, you can swallow the universe. 

Koans are not solved.
They are only realized
while these are resolved:
koan introspection, and
silent illumination.

092. Teaching And Not Teaching

It’s not that the truth is not there,
     but when you look for it, you go blind.
Clever talk - how can it compare to
     the sounds of the river valley,
     the form of the mountain?

When you meet yourself
remain where you always are.
When you greet yourself
refrain from all pleasantries.
This truth is pleasant enough.

093. Dongshan’s “Each Stitch”

When a sage realizes it,
     she becomes an ordinary person.
When an ordinary person realizes it,
     she is a sage.
Sage or ordinary, stitch after stitch,
     the gap is closed. 

Sew what? What’s the point?
Each stitch follows the other?
Dull and to the point:
because we sit within them,
robes still require mending.

094. Yunju’s “Place That Cannot Be Contained”

Seeing that which is creating and that which is 
          one understands them intimately.
If you wish to understand this for yourself, then look!
     The river flows in tumbling torrents into the great

Questions and answers
can’t contain unborn suchness.
Step back and be sure:
all that is and all that’s not
is the real intimacy.

095.  Buddha's "Teachings Of A Lifetime"

Facing one, upside down - 
     the differences between them are night and day.
Dividing the river,
     half is above the falls and half is below the falls.

Upside down, around,
on the ground, and in the sky:
one teaching is found.
The teaching of a lifetime
is the life of no teaching.

096. Puhua Knocks Over A Table

Let others search for the miraculous
     or judge crudeness or fineness.
I only know plum blossoms are white,
     azalea flowers are red.

One doner picks up
a table off of the ground.
Another doner
picks up another table.
They don't speak of this at all.

097. Shushan And The Stone Workers

Picking up what comes to hand,
     he knows how to use it skillfully.
Everywhere life is sufficient in its ways,
     no matter if one is not as clever as others.

It's up to Luoshan
to grow enough tortoise hair.
It's up to Shushan
to bow on the tortoise shell.
Slow and steady wins this race.

098. Dongshan's Illness

Rather than heal the body,
     heal the mind.
When the mind is at peace,
     the body is at ease.
When body and mind are both free,
     the dragon roars in the withered tree. 

It's not unaware
of the poison and the cure.
Dividers beware!
You won't hear the dragon roar
when all you see is sickness.

099. Layman Pangyun's Stringless Lute

The moon above the pines is full
     this cold spring night.
Music of the iron flute fills the air - 
     if you know its sound, we can listen together.

Pangyun is clumsy
enough to be so clumsy.
Mazu is skillful
enough to be so skillful
at walking away from him.

100. Yunmen's "Dharma Body"

Without a word,
     the four seasons manifest freely.
Without a voice,
     the ten thousand things reveal
     the true body of the Buddha. 

Dropping off drops off.
Dharma body mindlessness
is not unaware
as each breath follows each breath:
dropping off, and dropping off.

101. Nanyue's "It's Not Like Something"

Blue sky, bright sun - 
     there is no distinguishing east from west.
Yet acting in accord with the imperative
     still requires dispensing medicine when the sickness appears.

It's not like something.
It's not like nothing either.
Coming and going.
Going is always going.
Coming is always coming.

102. Baizhang And The Fox

Self and other are two parts of the same reality.
When the activity of the mind ceases,
     the ten thousand things return to the self,
     where they have always been.

Erase all traces
of the wild fox body,
then you will be face
to face with the dragon's brow:

103. Yangshan's Succession

Buddhas have not appeared in the world,
     nor is there anything to be given to the people.
There is just seeing into one's own heart and mind.
It is here that the eternal spring is manifest.

Yangshan's succession?
Walking around the dirt hole.
Dharma digestion
consists in eating white rice
and shitting brown excrement.

104. Deshan's Enlightenment

Within darkness there is light;
     within light there is darkness.
If you really see it,
     you will go blind.

The Theolog
was dressed in Deshan's clothing.
The strawy Summa
was left to burn as kindling.
The Dumb Ox? Not dumb enough.

105. The Hands And Eyes Of Great Compassion

All over the body, throughout the body - 
     it just can't be rationalized.
Deaf, dumb, and blind,
     virtuous arms and penetrating eyes
     have always been right here.

The True Dharma Eye
is a blind Bodhisattva.
It can't see nor lie,
but lies down on a pillow
and reaches back for nothing.

106. Tianhuang's "Essential Dharma Gate"

Within darkness there is light,
     but don't look for that light.
Within light there is darkness,
     but do not try to understand that darkness.

Great enlightenment?
The essential dharma gate:
no expectation.
Keep your mind as pure as this:
cook koans, serve poetry.

107. Yunmen's "Two Types of Sickness"

My unmoored canoe drifts freely,
     carried by the current.
With each bend of the river,
     finding wonder with the flow.

Discussing the cure
is a part of the disease.
Breathing is assured
when compounded medicine
is taken without talking.

108. Mazu's "Meaning Of The Ancestor's Coming From India"

The sky is clear, the sun is bright - 
     still, he flounders in darkness.
Pines are straight, brambles crooked - 
     all things abide in their own dharma place.
I am too tired.
I have a splitting headache.
I have retired
from attempting to answer
all these meaningless questions.

109. Xuefeng's "Size Of The World"

Gazing into the ancient mirror,
     form and reflection see each other.
You are clearly it,
     but it is not you.

Mirroring dharma
by uniting your eyebrows
with Bodhidharma.
Only then can you not be
unaware of his karma.

110. Guishan Tests His Students

Dying away, coming to life,
     one should arrive in the bright light of day.
When has the buddha principle ever been a principle?
Don't you know? Real emptiness is not empty.

Two mirrors reflect
the two mirrors reflecting
their own reflection.
Can you hear the old echo
of Dōgen Zenji's laughter?

111. Fayan's "Eye Of The Way"

Ten thousand kinds of clever talk and understanding;
     how can they compare with directly seeing the great reality?
Piercing the clouds, penetrating rock,
     never declining the real work.
How can the mountain torrent be held back?
It always finds its way to the great ocean.

Covering the well
of the ancient mariners.
All their show and tell?
Fodder, fodder, everywhere,
but too full to take a drink.

112. The Three Worlds Are Mind

On the summit of the great mystic peak
     the teaching of equanimity is realized.
Each thing perfect and complete.
     lacking nothing.
The three worlds, mind, and things
     are without separation.
Therefore, how can it be spoken of or understood?

It is spoken of
because it's not understood.
It is understood
because it's not spoken of.
The bamboo stick is a chair.

113. Baofu's Blocking Of The Eyes, Ears, And Mind

If they have an eye, I cover it up;
     if they don't have an eye, I uncover it.
The jet black darkness emits light - incredible!
     The whole universe is illuminated. 

One step at a time:
the dharma remains the same.
Have the ears to see
that the eyes hear everything.
One step forward, one step back.

114. Zhaozhou's Dog

Caught in the sea of affirmation and denial - 
     difficult, difficult.
"No" contains the many,
     "yes" has no duality.

No buddha nature
neither to have or have not.
Dogs bark at the moon,
and chase cats in the hot sun.
Their life is easy, easy.

115. Dagui's "No Buddha Nature"

Buddha nature, no buddha nature - 
     trapped between two iron mountains.
All over the world explanations and excuses.
Seeing the flaw he hides the jewel - 
     people everywhere search for it.

Know buddha nature
either to have or have not.
Sentient beings
walk their dogs and feed their cats.
It's not easy, not easy.

116. Nanyue's "Mirror Cast As A Buddha Image"

Few have really understood the monastic's questions,
     fewer still are able to grasp the master's answer.
The mirror faces form without subjectivity,
     the image devoid of reflections enlightens.

Answer a question
with questions about questions
without prejudice.
This is mirror as mirror.
This is buddha as buddha.

117. Jinhua's Ancient Mirror

The great primordial mirror
     has no flaws, gaps, or impurities.
There is not a single spec of dust in the universe
     that is not the ancient mirror itself. 

It is as it is,
whether ancient or modern.
It was as it was,
either modern or ancient.
It shall be as it shall be.

118. Yangshan Can't Say It

The buffalo's head sprouts horns
     as he emerges from the weeds.
In a dream, he tries to speak
     of the valley of the timeless spring. 
Although he has bathed in the fragrant waters,
     I hit, saying "Not good enough.
     How will you impart strength to others?"

The great buffalo
needs to be taken care of
for the next three years.
As you continue to graze,
the buffalo sits zazen.

119. Zhaozhou's Cypress Tree

Nothing whatsoever to say.
The pine trees singing
     in spring's warm breeze.
The ten thousand hymns of forest and wind,
     fill the river valley.

Objects are objects.
They can be used for teaching.
Subjects are subjects.
There is no subject to learn.
Chop the tree down and burn it.

120. Priest Jin Asks About The Nature Of Life

Ranks and stages create subdivisions
     where there are none.
Spontaneously empty and at ease,
     who lacks the ability to eat and dress?

Confined by this life,
we are free to be still born
with strife and a knife:
we work within the office,
we cook within the kitchen.

121. Mayu Locks The Gate

Asking without knowing, 
     answering without understanding.
The moon is cold, the wind is high - 
     perched on a cliff's edge, a frozen pine.

Plow the weeds under
until the soil is seen.
Seeing and hearing,
and saying and showing is
what is known by one and all.

122. Fayan's Fire God

If you are not intimate with it, when it's revealed,
     you'll think about it for the rest of your life.
That which gains entry through the gate,
     is not the family treasure.

Fire seeks the self
until both burn up in flames.
Spread the remaining
ashes over the plowed dirt.
Water the weeds with these words.

123. Mayu's "Nature Of The Wind"

Words cannot convey the action,
     letters cannot embody the truth.
How can they compare
     with old Mayu just fanning himself?

Mayu fans himself
because the wind keeps him cool.
Mayu fans no self
because the wind keeps him cool.
Please do not mystify this.

124. Monastic Shen's Fish And Net

 When a fish swims, water is muddied;
     when a deer passes, its tracks remain.
No one falling on the ground can rise
     without using the ground.

Senior monastics
know a skilled practitioner
when they both see one. 
Shen knows the splendor before
Ming swims on the ocean floor

125. Caoshan's Dharmakāya

When the teacher sees the student,
     the student sees the teacher.
For the student to meet the teacher,
     he must be the teacher.
Isn't this the teacher meeting herself?
isn't this the student meeting himself?

Vast as sky is blue.
Poor sky. Not as vast as you.
The donkey looks down
as the well keeps looking up,
drinking the donkey in turn.

126. Dadian Remains Silent

If your words do not leave the old clichés,
     how will you free yourself from the vines and entanglements?
The mist-covered mouth of the valley
     causes many to miss the source.

To remain silent
when asked about the essence.
This is the true point
of one's work and of one's play.
This is what the platform says.

127. Manjusri's "Three Three"

Holding up the adamantine sword, 
     freely killing and giving life.
Where positive and negative interfuse,
     every day is a good day.

Seeking solitude
in the midst of solitude.
There's nothing to seek
in the midst of this seeking. 
There is no one here to see.

128. Baizhang's "Gate Of Essential Nature"

Seeing forms and hearing sound intimately
     is the whole body and mind seeing and hearing. 
It's not like reflections in a mirror
     or echos in the valley. 

Baizhang plows the ground
until the sound of the drum
signals the noon meal.
Both he and the monastic
laugh at how hungry they are.

129. Yaoshan's "Nonthinking"

When the dharma wheel turns,
     it always goes in both directions. 
The still point is its hub, and from here, 
     all of our myriad activities emerge.
Rather than give solace to the body, 
     give solace to the mind. 
When both body and mind are at peace,
     all things appear as they are: 
     perfect, complete, and lacking nothing.

Steadfast composure.
Nonthinking nothing at all.
The way to ensure
that thinking and not thinking
is dissolved is to just sit.

130. Yangshan's Karmic Consciousness

Vast and boundless, open and free - 
     there are no gaps. 
Who are the sentient beings?
Who are the buddhas?

The all embracing
karmic consciousness at work
and at play all day.
There is nothing to embrace.
When an old man sits down, crack!

131. Anguo's "The Master's Flesh Is Still Warm"

Parent and child become each other,
     they become each other.
Before spring has arrived,
     the fragrance of blossoms fills the valley.

The Lying Dragon
lies down, but he never lies.
He dies and his flesh
remains as warm as a corpse.
This is his body of truth.

132. Boshui's "Sound Itself Is No Sound"

The Buddha gave an intimate discourse,
     Mahākāśyapa did not conceal it.
Flowers open in a night of falling rain,
     valley streams at dawn fill with spring fragrance.

The sound of one hand
clenching a fist and hitting
the sound of one hand
clapping is so deafening.
This is very sound wisdom.

133. The Woman Of Daishan

Before the question is asked,
     you have already arrived.
Before taking a step,
     you are already home.

Letting the mildew
grow on my groveling lips.
It's time to begin
at the beginning again.
Where is the path to Mount Dai?

134. Guishan's "Is It The Weather Or The Person That Is Cold?"

Rain and thunder, with news of the world,
     thaw the frozen river.
The path to the great ocean,
     is naturally opened.

Straight as an arrow,
the blue owl flies by night.
The gate is narrow,
the great path flows straight away,
like the fowl of the air. 

135. Zhaozhou's Brick And Jewel

Don't be fatheaded!
     The limits of the knowable are unknowable.
How much rain does it take
     before the great ocean is full?

The high irony
of asking and answering
questions about it.
Words like 'brick' and words like 'jewel'
make the sick drool like scholars.

136. Zhaozhou Asks About The Great Death

A frozen tree blossoms
     in the dead of winter.
Rising autumn mist reveals
     a collage of red and gold. 

Torment the hermit
with questions within answers.
The old man just sits
with answers within questions.
Going, staying, night and day.

137. Xuefeng's "Not A Snowflake Remains"

Buddhahood is not a principle;
     the absolute is not empty.
Ultimate reality exists right here,
     in the midst of chaos. 

Chaos is order
without any prediction.
The snow falls and melts.
The gate opens and closes.
Huike offers up his arm.

138.  Zhaozhou's Brightness And Darkness

The forest of patterns is clearly apparent;
     the myriad forms are evident.
Too much talking can impair virtue;
     silence is certainly effective.

Aged experience
tolerates bamboozling.
Walking to his room
is Nanquan's way of slapping
his student's student's students.

139. Yangshan's "Entering Nirvāṇa"

"Thus I have heard" through "I believe"
     are words that describe reality.
Stop chasing after thoughts and ideas,
     and see into the adamantine wisdom directly. 

Reciting sutras
in response to questioning
is appropriate
according to the moment
that intimately appears.

140. Dayi's "No Mind"

When thoughts disappear, the thinker disappears,
     and all things manifest as they are.
In this reality, all intentional efforts vanish.
In this world of suchness, nothing is excluded. 

To know you don't know
misses the mark completely.
Since there is no mark
either to miss or dismiss,
it's best to rest mindlessly.   

141. The World-Honored One Ascents The Teaching Seat

A single path of spiritual light - 
     from the beginning nothing is hidden.
Subtly communicated without effort - 
     at once, the spring breeze opens a thousand blossoms.

Striking the mallet
with the ancient singing bowl.
The sounds of silence
ring out in every language
that has ever been spoken.

142. Yangshan's Discourse

No thing ever falls short
     of its own completeness.
It always manages to cover the ground
     upon which it stands. 

The dharma body
teaches the dharma discourse.
Some speak with pillows.
Others talk using sword blades.
What's ever ready to hand.

143. Touzi's Clarification Of The Ancestors' Intention

Winding river, endless mountains - 
     the dark forest breathing mist.
There is no road into the sacred place.
It's just that, the deeper you go,
     the more wondrous it becomes. 

When Furong covered
his ears he heard everything.
At that point it is
subtle variations on
an old intentional theme.

144. Xuansha's "Twenty Blows Of The Stick"

Born of the same lineage, they share the knowledge;
     dying of different lineages, they are separate and distinct.
If the waves of Caoxi were all the same,
     ordinary people would get mired in the mud.

Two monks were walking
past the steps of the master.
One monk turned his head
to the other monk and said:
"Xuansha deserves twenty blows."

145. Deshan's "Neither Asking Nor Not Asking"

Fundamentally it's not a matter
     of interpretation or knowledge.
Summed up, it's not worth a single word.
When the myriad mental activities cease,
     truth is miraculously manifested.
All you need to do
is to bow and to get hit.
Why ask a question?
Hits of this kind embody
questioning and answering.

146. The Sixth Ancestor's "Your Mind Is Moving"

Wind, flag, mind - 
     bah, humbug!
If you wish to attain intimacy,
     just close the gap.

The temple flags are
winding within all the waves.
The monastics are
discussing without knowing
how dualistic it is.

147. Linji's "True Person Of No Rank"

It is at once you,
     yet you are not it.
It must be understood in this way,
     if you are to merge with suchness. 

The only person
who is enlightened is not
concerned with all this
concern with enlightenment.
There is nothing to look at.

148. Dongshan's "Teachings Of The Insentient"

The teaching of the insentient:
     if you try to grasp it, you will miss it - 
     it has no form.
If you try to let it go, you cannot separate from it - 
     it is not formless.
Subtle and wondrously inconceivable,
     the muse constantly reveals the mysterious teachings
     of the ten thousand things.

There is no logic
that codifies all that is.
The only logic
that clarifies no logic
is found in the garden hoe.

149. Xuefeng's Rice Field

The buildings and the grounds
     protect the dharma and bring peace to all.
The saṃgha in the ten directions
     grows in wisdom and compassion.
How this comes to us,
     is a gift we should not miss.

Less is always more,
unless more needs to be said.
'Look' is all you need.
But at least listing what we
look at stops all the chatter.

150. Mazu's "Raising The Eyebrows And Blinking The Eyes"

Among the myraid forms,
     a single body is revealed.
In the single body,
     the myraid forms are contained.

Bodhidharma's eye
brows rise and fall with each blink
made by the saṃgha.
Blinking is not right or wrong
as long as his eye remains.

151. Yaoshan's "Precious Treasure Of The Way"

The monastic had the precious treasure but didn't know it.
Yaoshan lifted it up for him to see.
The forest of brambles clearly revealed,
     the ten thousand forms, self-evident. 

The Way is the most
precious treasure that there is.
That there are treasures
within this treasure flatters
the only Way that matters.

152. The National Teacher's Stone Lion

The mountain monastic's fault -
     inexhaustible, truly inexhaustible. 
I think of Annie Oakley:
     two silver dollars from the hip,
     with a single bullet.

Hear the stone lion
roaring his own turning word.
If you can't hear it,
then that is your own concern.
"It is my fault" won't help you.

153. Layman Pangyun's "Power-Attaining Phrase"

When you see it, it's not that it's not there,
     but if you dawdle too long, you'll go blind.
Stepping off the hundred-foot pole,
     there is work to do,
     songs to sing, dances to be danced.
Linger, and you miss the opportunity.
Act too soon, and you'll break your neck.  

Bailing was bailing
Pangyun out from under his
praising by walking
silently away from all
power-attaining phrases. 

154. Nanquan's Sickle

Don't be deluded by the words
     "the Great Way."
Realize that it is nothing other
     than what you do from morning till night. 

Working is the Way
to whatever 'Nanquan' is.
The tools of this trade,
when skillfully used, help to 
chase away monastic words.

155. Lingyun's Peach Blossoms

The mountain form is the body of truth;
     only the ear can see it.
The valley sounds are the voice of the teachings;
     only the eye can hear them.

Seeing peach blossoms
reaching realization.
Watching a poem
fully bloom in the garden.
Don't flood this soil with words.

156. Changqing's Clarification Of Understanding

When reason is exhausted and words and ideas forgotten,
     what is it that remains for comparison?
When the fruit is truly ripe,
     it leaves the tree of its own accord. 

Thinking about it
only muddies the waters.
requires nothing beyond
rolling up a bamboo screen.

157.  Guishan Laughs Twice

Before the mouth is opened or a phrase uttered,
     it is revealed.
Fields, mountains, and the great earth,
     all taken by a great laugh.
Nothing remains.

The one-eyed dragon
laughs every time Guishan does.
And he laughs again
and again and again as
he falls upon his own sword.

158. Yunmen's "Each And Every Particle Samadhi"

The rain falls and the earth gets wet,
     clouds part and the sun appears.
The valley of the everlasting spring
     is not a place of this and that. 

Every particle
contains every particle.
Boiling the rice
in order to make water
for each and every dharma.

159. Nanyang's Ten Bodies

Unifying the myriad reflections,
     one's own light is quiescently radiant.
Opened up, the ground of being
     is always meeting itself.

Suzong gives Nanyang
an empty jar of water.
Each droplet stands up
because they all understand
that emptiness quenches thirst.

160. Prince Nalakuvara's Original Body

The original body is always in accord with the myriad things,
     yet it is unborn and unextinguished.
The ignorant wear out their cushions seeking it,
     polishing a tile trying to make a mirror. 

Throwing the staff down
on the ground is a skillful
Way of addressing
Let gravity take its course.

161. The Mill Worker's Staff

If you want to understand the past,
     look at the present.
If you want to understand the future,
     look at the present. 

Workers always work:
in the past, in the present,
and in the future.
Buddhas bear witness to it.
Shishi's mill staff declares it.

162. Yunmen's "One Hundred Grasses"

Among the myriad things there is one:
     in the one there are the myriad things.
Can this be called one thing,
     or is it to be called many things?

Turning on the lawn
mower and cutting the grass
takes care of the tips.
Cutting one tip is cutting
enough to cover them all.

163. Xuansha Builds A Seamless Monument

The field of longevity fills all of space,
     the seamless monument towers beyond the eye's reach.
Breaking a jewel, each fragment is precious;
     cutting sandalwood, each piece is equally fragrant. 

Two monks are walking
together into a bar.
One monk steps aside
as the other yells out "Ouch!"
What a seemly monument!

164. Linji's "Host And Guest"

Study carefully the exchanging
     of the points of action.
Thrusting and parrying,
     guest and host are holding a single staff.

Let it be resolved
that this monastic debate
within Linji's hall
solves each and every koan
found in The True Dharma Eye.

165. The World-Honored One Did Not Speak A Word

Without falling into speech or silence,
     he completely brings up the true imperative.
The clear solstice moon
     settles its frosty disk among distant pines.

The World-Honored One
gives one last sermon before
entering his rest
by not giving a sermon.
His refusal speaks volumes.

166. Yunmen's "Where Are They?"

In arriving, there is no abode;
     in departing, there is no destination.
Ultimately, how is it?
     Here I have been all the time! 

Birth and death are right
here in the midst of this life,
hiding in plain sight.
If you neither look for them
nor ignore them, there they are.

167. Linji's "Blind Ass"

Eyeball to eyeball,
     each confirms the other.
Passing from mouth to ear, it perishes;
     passing from ear to mouth, it is born anew. 

Linji's requim:
the true dharma eye is still
being entrusted
by the deaf, dumb, and blinding
ass of Sansheng's dharma heirs.

168. Yangshan's "Inconceivable, Clear, Bright Mind"

When the heavens collapse
     and the earth disintegrates,
     the inconceivable, clear, bright mind
     is not destroyed. 

No one understands
mountains, rivers, the great earth,
the sun and the moon
and all of the shining stars.
No such things to understand.

169. Mahākāśyapa And The Flagpole

Dragon sons and daughters are always born of dragon parents - 
     but how can it be explained?
The rains have passed,
     and the autumn river runs deep and fast.
There is such a thing
as too much affirming praise.
Better not to praise
anyone at any time.
Discriminating flagpoles.

170. An Outsider Questions The Buddha

The whole universe is the gate of liberation - 
     don't you see?
There is no place
     to put this gigantic body.

I am not asking
about what is or is not,
neither this nor that.
I am not even asking
about not asking at all.

171. Fayan's "Not Knowing"

The dragon howling in a dead tree
     clearly sees the Way.
In one, there are many things;
     in two, there is no duality. 

The intimate thing
is never known nor unknown.
Intimacy is
and is not experienced.
It neither is nor is not.

172. Dongshan's "Three Pounds Of Flax"

Seeing a gap opening up in the monastic's question,
     the old master moved quickly to stuff it with flax.
Those who accept words are lost;
     those who linger in phrases are deluded.

I was expecting
this old koan to appear
What can be said about it?
Three pounds of flax is enough.

173. The Emperor And The Buddha's Relics

The light shines throughout the whole universe,
     existing right here now.
When you truly see it,
     you will go blind.  

Better to resign
from imperial virtue,
than resigning to the brood
and nest of dualisms. 
The true Way of Wen is Zen.

174. Buddha's Begging Bowl

When the mist dissolves,
     the moon appears.
But the truth is and always has been
     perfect and clear.
Some see it, others do not. 

Buddha's begging bowl
is always full to the brim. 
Buddha's singing bowl
in all ways begs at the rim.
Feed the bowl. The mallet sings.

175.  Jianyan's "Matter Before The Seven Buddhas"

Outside the window, rain in the pine trees;
     on the riverbank, the willow dances with the wind.
The timeless message has always been present,
     but how many are there who have actually heard it?

Understanding it
is not a difficult thing.
Aspiration is
as natural as practice,
enlightenment, nirvana.

176.  Xuefeng's "Thirst And Starvation"

Born in the same way,
     they know the household's pantry well.
Dying in different ways,
     each travels in a separate direction.
Where will you find them? Look! Look!

The rice bucket is
full of reasoning water.
The water bucket
is full of practicing rice.
The Bodhidharma diet.

177. Fayan's "Single Body Revealed"

Although he may look like a mountain lion,
     it turns out he has no fangs or claws.
Obliterating, not obliterating - 
     dim-witted indeed.

Teaching from nowhere
to no one about nothing.
Dizang and Changqing
are the very same body,
straightening their own fly whisks. 

178. Linji Sees Huangbo Reading A Sutra

When the light has not yet penetrated fully,
     distant objects may appear close,
     close objects may appear distant.
Yet how many are there
     who are able to regain their way?

Better not to start.
But if you do, it's better
if you finish it.
If not, then your own practice
will carry on without you.

179. Shisuang's "When All The Doors Are Closed"

Boundless wind and moon, the eye within eyes - 
     inexhaustible heaven and earth, the light beyond light.
The willow dark, the flower bright,
     ten thousand houses,
     knock at any door - there is one who will respond. 

Questioning questions
is a trick of the Zen trade.
There are no answers
that will end this instance of
the via negativa.

180.  Yantou's "Original Permanence"

Each and every thing
     is in a constant state of becoming.
It is because change reaches everywhere
     that permanence is originally present.

The ground is moving
when traveling on a train.
The train is moving
when you're standing on the ground.
Don't be unaware of this.

181. Nanquan Kills A Cat

Entering into the monastics'
     entanglements the old master tried to cut open a trail for
Only Zhaozhou knew the path well - 
     sandals on his head, a pure spring breeze followed him

A monk named Zhaozhou
gets cut into two pieces.
Nanquan tells this tale
to his house cat who listens
and licks both of his straw paws.

182. Baizhang's Wild Geese

Mountains and rivers
     should not be seen in a mirror.
The voices of the wild geese still resound -
     do you hear them?

When you twist the beaks
of the wild geese as they
fly away, they squawk
word for word what Mazu said
in the talk he never gave.

183. Xuefeng Checks Out The Hermit

The wind blows, the grasses bend - 
     the more you direct yourself to it,
     the further away you move.
There's nothing that can be done about spring - 
     when it arrives, it's truly here. 

The old hermit said
a word of Zen to Xuefeng.
What was the result?
He remained true to his word:
he shaved his own head instead. 

184. Yunyan's Lion

The white clouds are rootless,
     the summer breeze has no color.
Filling the canopy of sky, limitless, and trackless,
     supporting the burden of the earth, powerful. 

Lions and tigers
and bears and bodhisattvas
play with each other
around the poker table.
A friend in need? Friends, indeed.

185. Nanquan's "Storehouse Of The Mani Jewel"

It illuminates itself,
     the solitary light of the mani jewel.
No! It illuminates the ten thousand things - 
     see, there are no shadows.
Seeing, not seeing - bah!
Riding backward on the ox,
     distant mountains endlessly unfold.

The cursed abstractions
"mani jewel" and "the storehouse"
are used skillfully
in order to draw within,
and then to reject without.

186. Heshan Beats The Drum

If you are unable to leap free of old habits,
     how will you be able to get out of what binds you?
The morning mist that fills the valley
     makes many people miss the river.

To have an insight
is to incite the idea
of enlightenment.
What is it to truly pass?
To beat this drum to a pulp.

187. Jinfeng's Rice Cake

If you wish to understand it all,
     then look at September, look at October.
The golden wind, heavy with autumn's fragrance,
     enters the mouth of the valley. 

Painting a picture
on a single grain of rice.
Hanging this painting
on a wall within the hall.
Eat the rice cake, don't roll it.

188. Guizong Holds Up A Fist

Holding up a fist, he swallows all of space and time - 
     this is the spring that is neither yin nor yang.
Buddhas and ancestors vanish like a dream - 
     not a single trace of their passing remains.

When you meet someone
who is neither true nor false,
punch them in the face
with one fist then another.
This is the intimate Way.

189. Qingxi's "When A Thief Breaks In"

Distinguishing enlightenment, dismantling delusion - 
     the bandit leads the sheriff's brigade.
Accomplishment, before it is exhausted,
     is just an extra thumb.  

What is the reward
for years and years of study?
Many sentences
lead to the following word:
"Too much study dulls the mind."

190. Manu's "Meaning Of The Ancestor's Coming"

In speaking the dharma, there is neither speaking or teaching;
     in hearing the dharma, there is neither hearing nor
Since there is no speaking or teach, hearing or attainment,
     why are there so many complicated koans and teachings? 

Bodhidharma comes
from India constantly
with every question.
Is there more to it than this?
The monastic went closer.

191. Shitou's "Not Attaining, Not Knowing"

Each and every thing, all real,
     each and every one, all complete.
Where attainment and knowing cannot reach,
     there it stands, alone, perfect, and complete.

It's fundamental:
the fundamental meaning
of Buddhadharma
is a fish swimming under
the frozen watering hole.

192. Changqing's "Seeing Form, Seeing Mind"

Better to master the mind than to master the body - 
     when the mind is at peace, the body is no longer troubled.
When body and mind have both fallen away,
     the ten thousand things have come home to the self.

Pointing at the moon
reflected in the water
while sailing Baofu's
boat under the evening sky.
A fish jumps over the stern.

193. Shishuang's "Transcendent Wisdom That Meets The Eye"

Wisdom has no teacher;
     meeting the eye is direct.
It is not like reflections in a mirror - 
     when one side is realized, the other side is dark.

There is nothing more
that meets the eye than the eye
that sees but never
is seen by myriad eyes
that see the myriad things.

194. Caoshan's "Myriad Things"

This body is composed of only real dharmas.
When dharmas appear there are just dharmas - 
     no self.
When dharmas disappear there is just disappearance - 
     no self.
Buddha said to take it this way.

The myriad things
are corpses that never stop
breathing the water.
Fill your nostrils with dharma
that's neither dead nor alive.

195. Zhaozhou's "Dao"

Old Zhaozhou is truly extraordinary.
He knows how to turn around
     and come out hopping and jumping. 
He wraps up everything
     and presses the old Buddha.
In their words and actions,
     they reveal their freedom and clarity.
Nanquan, heedless of the mud,
     knowingly offends.
Zhaozhou, eager to serve the master,
     hits him with a mud ball.

The 'Dao' does not name
anything or anyone.
It's always the same
word game that gets played each time
the Dao hits us inside out.

196. Longya's "Thief In An Empty Room"

When the mind is empty,
     the eyes are finally clear.
Shining through detachment and subtlety - 
     the root of creation.
The teachers get stuck
in the mud of their own words.
Sitting in silence
in an empty room gets it
close to almost being right.

197. Master Deng's "Voice Like Thunder"

When meeting a person of the Way,
     do not greet him with words or with silence.
Words cannot convey the truth, silence is only half - 
     how will you greet him?

Reclining Buddha:
pretending to be asleep
within the monk's hall,
pretending to be awake
within the old abbot's bed.

198. Dongshan And Shenshan Cross The River

A hazy autumn moon, solitary and full,
     falls as it may on the winding river ahead.
There are those who seek perfect clarity,
     yet, sweep as they may, they cannot empty the mind.

To make a mistake
or to not make a mistake.
It is either/or.
Don't make this crucial mistake:
denying this disjunction.

199. Dongshan's Essential Path

Wet with the morning dew,
     the tips of ten thousand grasses
     all contain the light of day. 

If you cannot see
the essential dharma path,
then you are looking
with blind discrimination.
Better to have no eye lids.

200. Ruiyan's "What Kind Of Moment Is Now?"

You and I are the same thing,
     yet I am not you and you are not me.
No coming, no going, no arising, no abiding - 
     as each dharma appears, each dharma is practiced.  

The moment is not
now, nor will it ever be.
Seeing past the past,
and looking past the future.
The present does not exist.

201. Bodhidharma's "Skin, Flesh, Bones, And Marrow"

Before a step is taken,
     you have already arrived.
Before a word is spoken,
     the truth has been expressed.

The very best thing
just is, without having to
say one single word,
and without having to take
a bow as the dharma leaves.

202. "No Zen Masters"

There's no abode that can contain this gigantic body;
     there is no place to conceal the wondrous mind of nirvana.
The subtleties cannot be passed on - 
     ultimately, we can only nod to ourselves. 

Zen is the only
Zen master that's ever lived.
What's there to master?
When I finish writing these
words, I stop and take a breath.

203. Xuansha's "Person Of Three Disabilities"

Before the question is even asked,
     there is only one piece.
After the question is asked,
     ten thousand pieces, all illuminated. 

The deaf, dumb, and blind
hear and speak and see clearly.
is merely another word
that makes everyone ashamed.

204. Qinglin's "Dead Snake On The Path"

Riding the winding river deep into the night,
     both banks dissolve in darkness.
Being found by the wonder of the flow,
     my way opens of its own. 

The poisonous snake
is always ready to strike
those who talk to much.
We must be very careful
not to upset the serpent.

205. Longya Passes The Meditation Brace

The dharma wheel turns in both directions - 
     if it doesn't go east, then it goes west.
If the waves of Caoxi were the same,
     people would drown on dry land.

It's the same old theme
with each and every question
about India.
All of the different answers
are merely variations.

206. The Essential Matter

Those who think that in the mundane
     nothing is sacred
     have not yet understood
     that in sacredness nothing is mundane.

No mind? No matter.
No matter? Then, never mind
what is essential.
It is a matter that is
open in less than plain sight.

207. Linji's "Not Studying Sutras, Not Studying Zen"

If you attach to the sacred and avert the secular,
     you are bobbing around in the sea of birth and death.
All desires exist because of mind - 
     where there is no mind, how can anything bind you?

To study the self
is to study the sutras.
To study sutras
is to study the selfless
sutras and the selfless self.

208. Yunmen's "End Of The Ninety-Day Training Period"

If you want to understand the past, 
     look at the present.
If you want to understand the future,
     look at the present.
Buddha said to take it this way. 

Autumnal fire
burns away the summer's cool
boredom period.
This kind of training is not
cheap only if you're not present.

209. Guishan's Water Buffalo

The summit of Heavenly Light Mountain [Tenkozan] is difficult to
Those who've seen it had to grope their way
     through boulders and clouds.
Night falls. Phoenicia to the north is dark,
     Ashokan to the south is shrouded in mist.
And yet, and yet - 
     the Great Way is not hidden from you. 

Great white buffalo?
Poet from the great white north?
What should it be called?
Either description is fine.
The contingency of names.

210. The National Teacher's "Original Body of Vairocana"

Raising your eyebrows to look, you won't see - 
     it has already passed by.
Stop looking under another's feet;
     look under your own. 

The original
body does not age at all,
but it smells real bad.
There's nothing original
to this water bag of bones.

211. Caoshan's "Love between Parent and Child"

Why must yin and yang be place in an 
          If you do, you will never have today.
When the wind blows, the grasses bend;
     when the rains come, the river fills. 

There is no between
that can be spoken about
when it comes to love.
Everything and everyone
lives in this intimacy.

212. Dizang Plants The Fields

Passing from mouth to ear,
    the teaching inevitably disintegrates.
When words and ideas are finally obliterated,
     the light spontaneously appears. 

Keep living the light
despite your proud opinions.
It's no respecter
of people, places, and things.
It still shines in the darkness.

213. The Bodhisattva Of No Miraculous Power

Present without thinking,
     its presence is inherently intimate.
Completed without interacting,
     its completion is inherently verified.

It's not difficult
to no the miraculous.
It's a miracle
that it is always practiced.
It is super-natural.

214. Fengxue's "Particle of Dust"

When illumination arrives, the darkness vanishes,
     when wisdom arises, confusion dies out.
Magnificent, outstanding, clear and at ease - 
     all of these are things on the road. 

All of the dharma
is found within this single
particle of dust.
All of the Whos in Whooville
sit zazen there without care.

215. Tiantong's Precise Instruction

Zen practitioners the world over
     are always rushing about, asking about
          transcendental matters.
Words flow and the gap opens - see how
     transparent it is?
     Even a knock on the head with a staff didn't
          settle it. 

There is nothing wrong
with responding to shitty
questions by grunting
out answers with precision:
sitting, shitting, and hitting.

216. Linji's "Have You Sold It All"?

Eloquent mouth and clever tongue diminish virtue;
     cutting off the ten directions gets a failing grade.
Opening up and kneading together,
     spring is met at every turn. 

Where have you come from,
and where are you going to?
This old Socratic
question is preceded by
an even older Zen one.

217. Linji's "One Blow"

If you don't leave the nest of ideas and cliché,
     how will you free yourself from the cage?
You meet it everywhere - 
     it is just you yourself, yet you are not it. 

With Linji's one blow
Guanxi's hunger vanished.
Words don't satisfy,
they merely prepare the place
setting for food we don't eat.

218. "Turtle Mountain Attains The Way"

Spontaneously illuminated,
     they myriad sounds and forms.
When the route has opened,
     flowers fall and the tree casts no shadow.
When looking, who doesn't see?
Seeing or not seeing,
     Turtle Mountain walks on water,
     the stone woman gives birth to a child in the night.

The turtle carries
Turtle Mountain on his shell
as he slowly sits
and clearly states that Xuefeng
is turtle, mountain, and Way.

219. Guishan Brings A Mirror

Where committing and negating merge
     there is no abiding place to be found.
How is it ultimately?
Everything under the sun bows at once. 

The broken mirror
reflects everything that is
in the universe.
The universe is broken.
The mirror is what it is.

220. Dongshan's Great Matter

Although the nature of adamantine wisdom
     is devoid of even a single speck of dust,
how can it compare to sitting alone beneath an empty
          watching autumn leaves fall, each in its own time. 

From a seemingly
innocent question to the
heart of the matter.
This is how it's always been
with awesome troublemakers.

221. Jiufeng's "One Who Transmits Words"

Summer pond, silent and wordless,
     naturally opens a path.
Even Sakyamuni didn't understand it - 
     how can any transmit it?

Call unto me, and
I will answer thee, and show
thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not - now
there is nothing left to write.

222. Longshan's Clay Oxen

These mountains and rivers are free of dust - 
     who can say that their eye is not truly open?
Following birdsongs deep into the forest,
     propelled by rivers, the ancient flow.
To be in the wilderness
     is a flower that opens in the world. 

Deep in this mountain
resides an old Zen hermit.
Listen and begin
at the beginning again,
riding a vegetable leaf.

223. Nanyue Examines Mazu

Years of struggle and anguish
     lost in the forest of brambles.
Now in the dawn of the first day,
     startled by the sound of the mourning dove.

The monastic did
just as he was instructed.
constantly occur within
these koanic instructions.

224. The National Teacher's Dharma Realms

Holding up the fly whisk,
     he freely kills and gives life.
Where absolute and relative interfuse,
     even the buddhas and ancestors beg for their lives.

There's no time to waste!
There is no time for thinking!
Take your time-being
and get the hell out of here!
"Dōgen Zenji swats at flies."

225. Dongshan's "Cold And Heat"

Is it the bowl that rolls around the pearl,
     or is it the pearl that rolls around the bowl?
Is it the weather that is cold,
     or is it the person who is cold?
Think neither cold nor heat -
     at that moment, where is the self to be found?

How can you avoid
the very thing that you are?
Whether the weather
is either fair or fowl,
it always is what it is.

226. Zaoshu's Dharma Path

Shining through arising and vanishing,
     the root of reality.
Setting the eyes before the body,
     you can see the gate.

The path without goal
is leading no one nowhere.
Travel by sitting
still without moving the eye
that sees but is never seen.

227. Priest Xixian's "I Am Watching"

Utterly devoid of abilities, the guide can't lead;
     lost in self-deception, the evil one can't find his way.
Take off the blinders, set down the pack, and see
     beyond god masks and devil masks, there is a Way.

What is it that is
watching the military
industry complex?
The answer to this question
cannot be answered in words.

228. Yunyan's "This Is it"

Deep in these mountains
     is an ancient pond.
Shallow or deep,
     its bottom has never been seen. 

I am, you are, he
she, and it is and also
not what you may think.
Buddhadharma as grammar.
This is it, there's nothing else.

229. Dizang's Broom

If you can understand the whisk,
     you will know the broom.
Then realize that the truth of the universe
     is not found in the broom, nor the whisk.

The whisk is a broom
used to sweep the groundless ground
that is around us.
Hold the whisk up in the air.
Hold the broom down to the ground.

230. Hearing The Sound Of The Wooden Fish

Needless creating toil,
     watching over the ox.
Beyond, there is a mysterious subtlety - 
     eyes are horizontal, nose is vertical.

An old piece of wood
is thrown into the fire.
An old wooden fish
swims within the burning flames.
Water cannot douse this blaze.

231. Yunmen's Entryway

When the moon is cold and the wind is high,
     I sit closer to the fireplace.
When the rains come,
     I open my umbrella.
If there is no fire, it's cold;
     when there is no umbrella, I get wet. 

Entering the Way
is so unspectacular.
It means refraining
from all discrimination.
Use the rain as your raincoat.

232. The Truth Of Words And Actions

Cease from following after sound and form,
     refrain from going beyond sound and form.
The spring breeze unknowingly rousts out the hibernating tree frogs - 
     cherry blossoms, wordlessly, open a path. 

S is true if and
only if P is the case.
If P is the case,
then S is nothing but a
way to pat P on the back.

233. Zhaozhou's Cup Of Tea

In the ordinary,
     nothing is sacred.
In sacredness,
     nothing is ordinary.

Have a cup of tea
before you begin to talk
again and again.
Drink the tea and read the tea
leaves at the very bottom.

234. Changsha Remains Silent

In a single consciousness, the whole of eternity;
     the whole of eternity, this very moment.
To see into this very moment is to realize
     no coming, no going, no abiding.

Remaining silent
should promote serious doubts
among the certain.
To where does the silence go
once it is truly spoken?

235. Thirteenth Daughter's Dharma

Fangs bared, claws unsheathed,
     the lion cub hasn't learned fear.
It's not a matter for hesitating over - 
     the mother lode is always right here.

This is a story
about the allusiveness
of the true dharma.
Even at the age of twelve,
the thirteenth daughter slips up.

236. Shaozhou's Reality

If you still don't understand,
     look at September, look at October.
Leaves of red and gold
     cover the mountain and fill the valley.

If you take one step
to the side and then one step
to the other side,
you remain immovable
within your many movements.

237. Qingyuan's Sacred Truths

Even if you try to set up stages,
     where would you rest the steps?
The clear luminous body of the mystic way
     has always been present.

Stages on Life's Way?
The Way can be found within
these Danish pages.
The aesthetic, ethical,
and religious are present.

238. Zhimen's Strength

Carpet of wildflowers among the tall pines;
     flowing streams, vast and endless.
If you wish to understand the ancients' teaching,
     you simply must go into the distant

The distant mountain
is swimming within the pools
of Zhimen's own eyes.
Wherever he climbs, it climbs.
When the staff falls down, it falls.

239. Zhaozhou's Raft

The sky is clear and the sun appears,
     rain falls and the earth is moistened.
Without extensive discussion, everything is clear
     as it is,
          yet how few are really able to see it.

Swimming in the raft
as the water rides upon
it's flowing surface.
Crawling into the water
as it falls over the Way.

240. Jinfeng's "The Way Of Going Beyond"

Although the highest peak of the sacred mountain
     has been ascended,
There is still a mysterious subtlety beyond - 
     eyes are horizontal, nose is vertical.

As you go beyond
going beyond, you remain
beyond all going,
all coming, all remaining,
and all slapping, all at once.

241. Xuansha Hears The Sound Of A Swallow

A jewel, shining bright - 
     there are absolutely no flaws.
Sacred and mundane, just as they are,
     intermingle freely. 

Does the swallow hear
the ear, or does the ear hear
the swallow? Yes? No?
Go to the zendo, sit, and
listen to Xuansha's song.

242. Daoist Wu's Painting

Unifying the myriad reflections,
     one's own light is without hindrance.
Opened up, the ground of being
     ceaselessly meets itself.
If you take it conceptually,
     you will miss it by ten thousand miles.
If you take it as blank consciousness,
     you're just a dead person breathing. 

To write poetry
about what clearly exists
without using words,
more or less. Let me digress:
the words do not change a thing.

243. Xiangyan's Person Up A Tree

Where affirmation and negation merge,
     there it is, alone and revealed.
On the solitary mystic peak,
     the blue mountains have not a speck of dust. 

If someone asks you
questions about the buddha,
kill the questioner
by killing the buddha who
hangs on a tree by his teeth.

244. Mayu's True Eye

The river runs through it,
     never having wet it.
The spring breeze passes through it,
     never having entered.
There is no place to put
     the great heart of compassion.

The finger that points
to the moon's reflection in
the swallow's bird bath
is the true eye, the true moon,
the true haiku's reflection.

245. Juzhi Holds Up One Finger

If you are not intimate with it,
     when it's revealed, you think it's something. 
When words and ideas are finally eradicated,
     the light first appears.
Finger or no finger, wet with the morning dew - 
     the tips of ten thousand grasses.

Better to have nine
fingers that point to one thing,
than to have your ten
fingers failing to point to
the myriad things that are.

246. Yangshan Chanting The Sutras

The talkative teacher can't open his mouth,
     the tricky student misses the point.
Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning - 
     hauling water and carrying firewood.

Father Louis heard
his Trappist brothers chanting
from his hermitage.
As he went outside to hear
clearly, swallows were chirping.

247. Ruiyan Calls "Master!"

Since there is neither self nor other,
     how can there be calling or answering?
The nature of adamantine wisdom
     is free of even a particle of dust.
Yet the great blue heron knows how to go its own way - 
     it comes and goes, leaving no traces.

Talking to yourself
is a sure sign of madness.
'Talking' and 'yourself'
are words within a language.
'Sanity' is another.

248. Shigong's Emptiness

From within the single body,
     myriad forms arise.
In one, there are many kinds;
     in many kinds, there is no duality.

Grasping emptiness
is neither necessary
nor fundamental.
You can do it if you like,
but why try to mystify?

249. Nanquan's "Dharma That Has Never Been Spoken"

Buddhas have not appeared in the world,
     nor is there a truth that can be given to the people.
There is only the yellow-voiced, cold cricket
     singing in a pile of autumn leaves.

You get to a point
where speaking about speaking
about the dharma
does more harm than it does good.
Ignorance is the best bliss.

250. Caoshan's Eyebrows And Eyes

See how the Great Bodhisattva
     enters the marketplace with empty hands.
Understand that although this is so,
     she has never abandoned the household.

Going straight ahead
does not mean that you should not
let the eyebrows speak
their mind to the eyes that hear
what the myriad things say.

251. Daowu's Place Of No Birth And No Death

In arriving there is no abode;
     in departing there is no destination.
Ultimately how is it?
     Here you are, where you have always been.

Old Daowu is skilled
enough to operate on
this leaky word play.
has nothing on this surgeon.

252. Fayan's "You Are Huichao"

In breaking in and breaking out,
     chick and hen do not know each other. 
Not knowing each other, 
     they naturally know how to work together. 

I am buddha, you
are buddha, he, she, and it
are buddhadharma.
Conjugate the verb "to be."
Rumi's way is best: "Kiss me."

253. Sakyamuni's Flower

Appearing without form,
     responding in accord with the imperative. 
The fragrance of the flower held up
     fills the universe existing right here now.

Twirling a flower.
Entrusting the true dharma
eye to eyes to eye.
The pedals of this story
are still floating off the stem.

254. Fayan's "Nonabiding Origin"

When you look at it, it has no form - 
     it fills heaven and earth.
Yet, in one there are many kinds;
     in two there is no duality. 

speculation engenders
discriminating clap trap.
The Aristotelian
"Being of beings" remains.

255. Linji Holds Up His Fly Whisk

He comes head-on - 
     do you see how Linji helps people?
Where the reward is great,
     the person must be valiant. 

"Holding Buddha's whisk,
Dōgen Zenji swats at flies.
He never misses.
Words are still buzzing over ..."
(Linji hits me as I write).

256. Changsha's "Original Person"

In arriving, there is no abode;
     in departing, there is no destination.
Ultimately, where does it all come down?
     Right here, where you have always been. 

The original
buddha becomes a person.
The original
person becomes a buddha.
Move along. Nothing to see.

257. Yunmen's "Hearing Sounds And Realizing Enlightenment"

Seeing sounds, the valley streams 
     expound the dharma.
Hearing forms, the mountain's body
     covers heaven and earth. 

To realize is
to truly know there is no
The sound of these singing keys
is enlightenment enough.

258. Nanquan Banishes The Bodhisattvas

A profound conversation beyond any one or two;
     demons and bodhisattvas speaking through the
          same mouth. 
What is the reality that exists beyond dualities?
Aside from the dust, where is wisdom and compassion
     to be found? 

It is about time
that all of this time-being
nonsense gets banished
to the Mountain of the North.
This is Ordo ab chao.

259. Bajiao's "Question And Answer"

Responsible for humanity, you can't defer.
     Much talk. Who knows that it leaks one's
Transcending patterns, leaving the clamor,
     spiritual work goes into action. 

The necessary
and sufficient conditons
logically contain
all that is and all that was
and all that will be. So what.

260. Suffering Cannot Reach It

When you truly see it, all things are one reality;
     if you do not, they are seperate and different. 
When you don't see it, all things are one reality; 
    if you do, they are seperate and different. 

The first noble truth
is all the error you need.
Everything else is
only a variation
on this way of spinning things.

261. Yunmen Composes A Verse

Ten thousand kinds of clever talk - 
     how can they be compared to the great reality?
From within the myriad forms,
     the single body is revealed. 

Attention without
attachment is the only
Way to use thinking
as a skillful means to stop,
look, listen, learn and shut up.

262. Caoshan's Bell Sound

Sitting in absolute silence,
     mind like still water.
The sound of the bell,
     and the six gates enter.

There is no mind state
without an identical
brain state, so he said.
Quine's old song hits the perfect
pitch for those who can hear it.

263. Layman Wang Holds Up His Brush

When the illusion of objects is dissolved,
     the light first appears.
When the self and things are both forgotten,
     the way is clear and unhindered.

White paint dripping down
the brush held above the head.
Painting the ceiling
without this happening is
impossible to perform.

264. Baoying's Barrier

Everywhere, confined in the thousand-foot barrier;
     everyone, vainly discussing it. 
Dawn has arrived, but it is still dark. 
Though the pure spring breeze blows,
     deep in the pit, it can't be felt.

Borrowing phrases
and then using them as if
they're ex nihilo.
Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker"
opens up "The Gates of Hell."

265. Shuilao's Enlightenment

Trampled to death by a horse,
     an heir has come to life. 
 A single glimpse of reality,
     and the whole universe comes alive. 

With every action
there is one that is equal
and yet opposite.
This is why Shuilao fell down
when Mazu pushed him so hard.

266. Guishan's "Why Have You Come Here?"

When forms and names appear, 
     floating mists obscure the clarity.
When you truly look, it has no form, it covers heaven and earth;
     when you really listen, it has no sound, it fills the universe.

"Why have you come here
when I asked you to come here?"
An ironic man
of thusness responds in turn:
"Why did you come when you asked?"

267. Baizhang's "No Means Of Livelihood"

When you find the mountain dragon's mani jewel,
     it will be clear that it is numberless.
Seeing this in that and that in this, 
     there is no doubt that it is all of one flavor.

Pay close attention
to the many if any
intimate details.
The devil is found in them.
His name is "Enlightenment."

268. Baizhang's "Fundamental Principles Of The Great Matter"

Laughing aloud from within the cloud-covered peaks,
     he holds it up with both hands.
No one has ever seen it.
If there were a single adept among them,
     the deception would have been exposed from the outset. 

What is the matter?
The Great Matter is nothing
more, and nothing less,
than plowing the rice field, and
then eating from the rice bowl.

269. Shoushan's Stick

In the middle of the night, there is light;
     within light, there is night.
The truth of this matter is not to be seen
     within the realm of yin and yang. 

"It is not a stick"
is a fine name for this shtick.
Only a blind man
sees this bit for what it is.
"I am here all week. Thank you."

270. Changsha's Liturgy

Though it fills the eyes,
     he doesn't see form.
Though it fills the ears,
     she doesn't hear sound. 
Mañjuśrī is always 
     covering his eyes,
Avalokiteśvara is always
     covering her ears.

Spoken dhāraṇīs
fall on deaf ears constantly.
Intimate mantras
are recited in silence
and are heard so naturally.

271. Huangbo's Sacred Labor

In going, pushed along by the winter wind;
     in returning, following after falling snowflakes.
With mystical power and wondrous activity,
     each step follows the other. 

This interaction
shifts in the blink of an eye.
Plowing a rice field
is both plowing a rice field
and being plowed under it.

272. Jinfeng's "Frost On Top Of Snow"

Holding up has a meaning so subtle and profound
     that it has never been communicated.
Aimlessly, the spring breeze, of itself,
     knows how to enter the scars of the burning.

Giving a koan?
An unspectacular act.
Nothing confusing.
The same old whisk, the silence,
the melted snow in the spring.

273. Yantou's Two Disapprovals 

If the student's understanding equals the teacher's, 
     the teaching is diminished by half. 
Only when the student has surpassed the teacher, 
     has the teaching been truly transmitted. 

There is no last word
of Zen. There is no first word
of Zen. There is no
such thing as Zen. 'Zen' is just
a word used in this waka.

274. Jinfeng Holds Up A Pillow

Holding up a pillow, setting up a pitfall,
     he is prepared to kill or give life.
Where affirmation and negation have merged,
     even sages are at a loss for words.

Being lost for words
is being found by wonder.
Irony alone
can use all of the lost words
to say a turning word here.

275. Guishan's "You Have To Find Out For Yourself"

Buddhas and ancestors have not appeared in the world, 
     nor is there any truth to be given to the people. 
They were just able to observe the heart of beings,
     and dispense medicine according to their ills. 

There is no guru,
no method, and no teacher.
There is only you,
yourself, and yours to help with
finding out what's going on.

276. Dongshan's "Deep Or Shallow"

Picking and choosing, 
     the seam opens into a gap.
Cutting off both sides - 
     no seams, no gaps. 

The water is wet.
It's deep and it is shallow.
It's hot and it's cold.
Be bold enough to walk on
it just like Chauncey Gardner.

277. Zhaozhou's "Carry It With You"

A bodyless person suffering a grave illness
     sweeps away tracks, leaving a trail. 
Only those who have thoroughly explored it
     can know the wonder of the ceaseless flow.

Check out of the game.
Travel through the dense forest
without any shame,
until you arrive hidden
at the site dead and alive.

278. Mazu's "Mind Is Buddha"

The truth fills the universe - 
     nothing is hidden. 
Yet if you are not intimate with it, when it's revealed, 
     you'll think about it for the rest of your life.

Don't think about it.
Be intimate with what is
right here as you sit
without waiting for any
person, any place, or thing.

279. Guishan's "Great Capacity, Great Function"

Everywhere, suffering and pain;
     everyone, vainly discussing the self. 
Though they are buddha, 
     it's all buried beneath years of conditioning. 

To be is to do
all that you can to undo
babbling about yourself.
Mind has a mind of its own.

280. Yunmen's Sixty Blows

Deep or shallow - whatever it may be - 
     it's all in your hands. 
Throughout the country,
     only a handful can appreciate this.
The universe is itself the Great Way, 
     and the philosopher's stone
     is your life itself. 

You bring your problems
with you wherever you go.
Just stay where you are.
Better sixty blows by one,
than one blow each by sixty.

281. Zhaozhou Sees Through Two Hermits

The fist contains the myriad things;
     the myriad things contain the fist.
When words and ideas fade,
     the light is evident.

Holding up a fist
in reclusive defiance
against your questions.
All that we will say is this:
"Just leave us the fuck alone!"

282. Xuansha Draws A Circle

Vertically, extending through the three times;
     horizontally, encompassing the ten directions. 
There are no gaps, no obstructions,
     no way in, no way out.
What kind of place is this?

Why would anyone
want to get out of this place?
Where is there to go?
Stand in the circumferenceless
circle and be everywhere.

283. Xuefeng's "Ancient Valley Stream"

The sun rises, but it's still dark;
     the mist has dissolved, but the valley is dim. 
Though Xuefeng and Zhaozhou are radiant, 
     it has all been lost in vain discussions. 
Yet even in the cave of demons, the pearl shines.
Some may realize it, some may not. 

Standing on the bridge
of broken dreams as the stream
runs underneath it.
This too is a broken dream.
Nothing more to be spoken.

284. Tianping's Three Wrongs

The way to the top of Heavenly Light Mountain
     is steep and difficult.
The path is strewn with boulders
     and the peak is covered in mist. 
And yet, each step on the way to the summit 
     is the summit itself. 

Three wrongs make a right.
Three rights do not make a wrong.
Three rights make a wrong.
Three wrongs do not make a right.
Three hundred and thirty three.

285. Shushan's "Nature Of The Dharma Body"

When it is necessary to even the uneven,
     even great adepts seem inept.
Even the buddhas and ancestors cannot hone it;
     every branch of coral supports the moon. 

Don't understand it.
Don't know about it at all.
Beyond all knowing.
Beyond all understanding.
Neither teacher nor student.

286. Jingqing's "Sound Of Rain"

If you call it the sound of rain,
     you have missed it. 
If you don't call it the sound of rain, 
     then what will you call it?
When clouds gather in the Rocky Mountains,
     rains fill the Catskill valley streams. 

The sound of silence
can be heard as the water
falls down on the ground.
When it rains this hard the rain
drops are used as a raincoat.

287. The Fire Dharma Of Xuefeng And Xuansha

They have said it all for us, 
     light and dark walking hand in hand.
In the depths of the night,
     let us together see mountains and valleys,
     all taken by the snow. 

When the pouring rain
douses the expounding flames
of the dharma wheel,
all of the turning buddhas
sit burning with the embers.

288. Zhaozhou's "Indestructible Nature"

Beyond being and nonbeing, the root of creation;
     outside of space and time, the gate appears. 
Knowing the ineffable - blue mountains fill the eyes.
What question could there be?

The nature of it
is not identical with
'The nature of it.'
And yet, 'The nature of it'
is naturally intimate.

289. Daowu's "Alive Or Dead"

In birth, not an atom is added;
     in death, not a particle is lost.
Therefore, life is call the unborn;
     death is called the unextinguished. 

"We live and we die."
This is an habitual
façon de parler.
To think otherwise leads to
a coffin and a funeral.

290. Xuefeng's Meeting

For someone to meet a teacher,
     he must be a teacher.
The teacher teaching someone, 
     is the teacher teaching herself. 

When have we not met?
With every waking moment
we meet and we greet
teachers and students alike.
Hermits live within plain site.

291. Zhaozhou's "Eye That Grasps The Universe"

In the depths of stillness, all words melt away - 
     clouds disperse and it vividly appears before you.
When seen, it is filled with wonder - 
     vast and without edges, nothing concealed. 

It is best to see,
rather than to seemingly
be intimate through
merely looking at what is
right before your very eyes.

292. Jiashan's "There Is Nothing In Front Of You"

To look for a form or search for a sound
     is to stumble down the wrong path.
Here the wisdom that cannot be taught
     alone reveals that which is enduring and real. 

The "Nothing nothings."
For many this is something.
More Heideggerese?
Please stop this philosophy,
at least for the time-being.

293. Nanquan's "Badgers And White Oxen"

I don't know much about history, 
     don't know much about philosophy.
I only know the cool breeze
     rising in my sleeves. 

Ontology is
only an abstract way to
avoid the Great Way.
It's greatness consists in this:
to be is to see all ways.

294. Xuefeng's "Mirror-Backed Monkeys"

Wonderful! Marvelous! The ancient mirror
     transmitted from buddha to buddha.
Seer and the seen, reflector and the reflected,
     are one reality, actualized in all things. 

Monkey mindfulness
gets mindlessly pointed out
by a monkey mind.
This mind is never resting.
This mind is always looking.

295. Yunmen's Treasure

A frosty autumn moon 
     floats golden on the pond.
Quiet night, the fish are cold,
     hook and bait, useless. 

You are the treasure.
It is not found by finding
the X on a map.
You are the treasured buddha
hall and monastery gate.

296. Fayan's "Sound And Form"

Going beyond sound and form
     is not a matter of this or that.
Mountains and rivers are not seen in a mirror - 
     where one side is illuminated and the other is dark. 

No need to answer
questions that are always asked?
Just know their meaning?
What's the meaning of meaning?
Must we mean what we're asking?

297. Longya's Stone Tortoise

East Mountain moves over water,
     the stone woman gives birth to a child in the night.
Outstanding, awesome - 
     the teachings of the insentient.
If you listen with the ear, you will never get it,
     when you hear with the eye, everything is clear and undisguised. 

It's stone tortoises
all the way down to the ground
without end or beginning.
Cosmology speaks clearly.

298. Baofu's "The Tathāgata's Expression"

The moon and the pointing finger
     are a single reality.
Aside from the painted cakes,
     there is no other way to satisfy hunger.

There's only one kind
of expression that's needed.
The stone tortoise pours
all of it into the tea
cup and serves it graciously.

299. Wuxie Turns His Head

Among the myriad forms, a single reality.
     Only when one sees it for oneself is it real. 
Silence, rather than clamor, is the way of the Zen school - 
     endless kinds of clever talk only describe it. 

Phrases are phases
that are used within our school
in order to show
how the turning of the page
is the turning of the head.

300. Linji's "Ordinary Or Sacred"

When affirmation and negation have merged,
     there is no way to speak of it.
The truth of ordinary and sacred, wherever it is encountered,
     is, after all, in your hands alone.

Hitting the pillar
is Linji's way of ending
binary thinking.
As this building collapses,
I sit within the ruins.

Dogen Zenji. The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Three Hundred Koans. Shambhala, 2009.