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Old 08-13-2015, 11:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
Shoo Thoughts
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Default Poems Mr. Charlie Likes

Snappy title, no?

I'll kick things off with some Zen poems, only because that's what I've been reading a lot of lately. I love Zen poems. Sometimes a single line will transmit the essense of zen or illuminate the zen way of life better than entire books dedicated to the matter. But enough waffle, enjoy (or not):

To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops.
Shaken from a crane's bill.

- Dogen

The wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen;
Birds sing, the mountains grow dark -
This is the wondrous power of Buddhism

- Ryokan

Nothing in the cry
of the cicadas suggests they
are about to die

- Basho

Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain.
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds.

- Han-shan

Completely freed from yes and no;
great emptiness charged within;
no questions, no answers;
like a fish, like a fool.

- Roshi

The sound of the water
says what I think.

- Chuang Tzu

If there is beauty, there must be ugliness;
If there is right, there must be wrong.
Wisdom and ignorance are complementary,
And illusion and enlightenment cannot be separated.
This is an old truth, don't think it was discovered recently.
"I want this, I want that"
Is nothing but foolishness.
I'll tell you a secret -
"All things are impermanent!”

- Ryokan

Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its business. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.

- Mary Oliver
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest;
Every year the green ivy grows longer
No news of the affairs of men,
Only the occasional song of a woodcutter.
The sun shines and I mend my robe;
The moon shines and I read Buddhist poems.
I have nothing to report my friends.
If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after
so many things.

- Ryokan

Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
When you can understand this,
then we can begin to speak of poetry!

- Ryokan

Last edited by Mr. Charlie; 08-16-2015 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Consumed with anger,
The world is an ugly place.
Bathed in happiness,
The world is a wonderful place.
But, aha! the same world.

- Taitetsu Unno

The old pond,
a frog jumps in -

- Basho

In stubborn stupidity, I live on alone
befriended by trees and herbs.
Too lazy to learn right from wrong,
I laugh at myself, ignoring others.
Lifting my bony shanks, I cross the stream,
a sack in my hand, blessed by spring weather.
Living thus, I want for nothing,
at peace with all the world.

- Ryokan

That the self advances and confirms the ten thousand things
is called delusion;
That the ten thousand things advance and confirm the self
is called enlightenment.

- Dogen

One is all; all are one.
When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust
is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow.

- Sent-Ts'an

One stroke has made me forget all my precious knowledge,
No artifical discipline is at all needed;
In every movement I uphold the ancient way,
And never fall into the rut of mere quietism;
Wherever I walk no traces are left,
And my senses are not fettered by rules of conduct;
Everywhere those who have attained to the truth,
All declare this to be of the highest order.

- Kyogen

Mind set free in the dharma-realm,
I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law,
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless,
A single hair's enough to stir the sea.

- Shutaku

What's heaped too


- Cid Corman

Asking without knowing.
Answering, still not understanding.
The moon is cold, the wind is high--
On the ancient cliff, frigid juniper.
How delightful: on the road,
He met a man who had attained the Path.
And didn't use speech or silence to reply.
His hand grasps the white jade whip.
And smashes the black dragon's pearl.
If he hadn't smashed it,
He would have increased its flaws.

- Hsueh-tou

Long seeking it through others,
I was far from reaching it.
Now I go by myself;
I meet it everywhere.
It is just I myself,
And I am not itself.
Understanding this way,
I can be as I am.

- Tung-Shan

Autumn's colours dropping from branches in masses of falling leaves.
Cold clouds bringing rain into the crannies of the mountains:
Everyone was born with the same sort of eyes--
Why do mine keep seeing things as a Zen koan?

- Muso

The flower invites the butterfly with no-mind;
The butterfly visits the flower with no-mind.
The flower opens, the butterfly comes;
The butterfly comes, the flower opens.
I don't know others,
Others don't know me.
By not-knowing we follow nature's course.

- Ryokan

Good and evil have no self nature;
Holy and unholy are empty names;
In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet;
Spring comes, grass grows by itself.

- Seung Sahn

Your finger points to the moon,
but the finger is blind until the moon appears.
What connection has moon and finger?
Are they separate objects or bound?
This is a question for beginners
wrapped in seas of ignorance.
Yet one who looks beyond metaphor
knows there is no finger; there is no moon.

- Ryokan

Last edited by Mr. Charlie; 08-13-2015 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Mystical poems are beautiful too, and few write them better than the 13th century, Sufi mystic poet, Jalal ad-Din Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.

- Rumi

Sit, be still, and listen,
because you're drunk
and we're at
the edge of the roof.

- Rumi

Two there are who are never satisfied -
the lover of the world
and the lover of knowledge.

- Rumi

I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside.

- Rumi

And you?
When will you
begin that long journey
into yourself?

- Rumi

You think because you understand 'one'
you must also understand 'two',
because one and one make two.
But you must also understand 'and'.

- Rumi

Put your thoughts to sleep,
do not let them cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart.
Let go of thinking.

- Rumi
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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One of my faves, the classic 'Xinxin Ming', written by the Third Chinese Zen Patriarch, Jianzhi Sengcan:

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Old 08-16-2015, 03:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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More Zen poetry:

The winds that blow -
ask them, which leaf of the tree
will be next to go!

- Soseki

If you break open the cherry tree
Where are the blossoms?
But in springtime
how they bloom!

- Ikkyu

The one with nothing,
Walks the Way, without philosophy,
Without grasping, not avoiding, not seeking.
The Great Obstacle is our understanding of Enlightment;
From birth, we carry with us all we need.

When the inner Being awakens,
Nothing changes.
Our inner nature
Is the pure Buddha-nature.
All things come and go
Like clouds in the empty sky;
Greed, hatred, ignorance rise and fall
Like bubbles on the surface of a stream.

Good fortune, bad fortune, loss, gain
like rolling waves upon the surface of a serene sea.
For too long the dust-covered mirror has gone unwashed,
Clean it now, reflect the True Nature.

You fail to recognize the priceless jewel.
Living intimately within your heart.
It gives you everything;
The power to see, to hear, to think, to live.
It appears empty, yet it is not empty.

The jewel with no price can never be consumed
It grows with use, becomes greater when consumed.
All wisdom is contained within it, all good, all virtue.
Immediately everything melts
When one enters that place beyond thought and words.

It speaks in silence,
The heart understands the silence.
The invisible way is open, there is no gate.
If someone asks, what is your philosophy,
what is your understanding?
Reply, the pure prajna is beyond words.

The best student goes directly to the source.
The faith of the learned is uncertain.
Thought cannot remove the darkness of the mind
Washing in the invisible light is the only way.

One moon is reflected in many waters;
All the water-moons are from the one moon.
The clear light of the Dharma enters my mind,
separation, divisions, this and that, are all illusions.

The ultimate Truth is so simple
The thinking mind can not grasp it
When the mind becomes still
What is right in front of you becomes obvious
The simple Truth becomes known.

Walking his own way, working with singular purpose,
The Enlightened One walks in freedom.
He listens to the silent harmony that
Delights the heart and rules the world.
Only the innocent and discerning recognize his superior wisdom,
Otherwise, he passes unnoticed by this world.

After he passes, all say, that was him
Now that they are free from having to act or listen.
They can now pretend to walk the way
They can now imagine they understand.
Unchallenged, they are free to continue their endless folly.

- Hsuan Chueh

I was born with a divine jewel,
Long since filmed with dust.
This morning, wiped clean, it mirrors
Streams and mountains, without end.

- Ikuzanchu

We are like those who,
immersed in water,
stretch out their hands
begging for a drink.

- Seppo

If you want to do a certain thing
You first have to be a certain
Once you have become
that certain person
you will not care any more
about doing that certain thing.

- Dogen

Live in simple faith . . .
Just as this
Trusting cherry
Flowers, fades and falls.

- Issa

Misery only doth exist, none miserable,
No doer is there; naught save the deed is found.
Nirvâna is, but not the man who seeks it.
The Path exists, but not the traveller on it.

- Visuddhimagga
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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And here's some more mystical Sufi poetry, this time from Hafiz:

That Illumined
Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form
Had the charm to win my

Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word
Can make you know

- Hafiz

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything strange,
But the God who knows only four words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me, come dance".

- Hafiz

The small man
Builds cages for everyone

While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the

- Hafiz

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!

Someone should start wildly Laughing -

- Hafiz

Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you
An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear
Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those
Who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.

Come, join the honest company
Of the King’s beggars –
Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
And those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.

Come, join the courageous
Who have no choice
But to bet their entire world
That indeed,
Indeed, God is Real.

I will lead you into the Circle
Of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
Those playful royal rogues –
The ones you can trust for true guidance –
Who can aid you
In this Blessed Calamity of life.
- Hafiz,
Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle’s Center:

He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,

To show this dear world

That Everything,
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.

- Hafiz

We should make all spiritual talk simple today
God is trying sell you something but you dont want to buy

That is what your suffering is:
your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming

- Hafiz

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears

And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world

To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?

O the Beloved
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions ~
Like Hafiz.

- Hafiz

Last edited by Mr. Charlie; 08-16-2015 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So I'm guessing that your not a huge fan of Old Possums Book of Practical Cats?
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm not familair with it (I like the title though) but feel free to post some of its poems here.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Listen up, followers of the Way, laymen and those who read this thread simply because they're bored. Next up on our magical tour through the poetry of the Awakened, we will be visiting Han Shan and his sidekick, Shih Te.

Popularised by beat generation writers like Kerouac and Snyder, Han Shan and Shih Te are the laughing, ragged pair who left their poetry scribbled on cave walls, trees and monastery walls. These two rejected the ordered Buddhist monastic life, choosing instead to wander free in the mountains, shunned the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path in order to draw inspiration and wisdom from another source - the natural world.

More Taoist than Buddhist (which are but two paths to the same realisation), they employ more everyday language, great humour, and often insults, yet their message - encouraging awareness and a shift away from suffering to stillness and clarity - echoes that of all the great Zen poets. In short they offer us liberation.

Great build up, no?

Too bad I can't be bothered cutting and pasting poems tonight. But, ahh, I'll do three just to wet the appetite:

I’m free in this cave on T’ien-t’ai:
no seeker here will ever find me.
Han Shan’s my only friend.
Chewing magic mushrooms,
underneath tall pines,
we chatter back and forth
of ancient times, and new,
sighing to think of all the others,
each on his own way to hell.
Get your heads out, there’s still time!

- Shih Te

When I was young I studied books and swordsmanship
and rode off with a shout to the Capital.
There I heard the barbarians
had all been driven off already . . .
There was no place left for heroes.
So I came back to these crested peaks,
lay down to listen to the clear stream’s flow.
Young men dream of glory:
monkeys riding on the ox’s back.

- Shih Te

You want to learn to catch a mouse?
Don’t take a pampered cat for your teacher.
If you want to learn the nature of the world,
don’t study fine bound books.
The True Jewel’s in a coarse bag.
The Buddha Nature stops at huts.
The whole herd of folks who clutch
at the outsides of things
never seem to make that connection.

- Shih Te

More soon.
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