the stand of the mirror

  “The body is the Bodhi-tree, The mind is like the stand of a clear mirror. Wipe it clean from time to time, Never let dust and rubbish adhere to it”  

there is nowhere to hide the primal face

  “It can’t be described! It can’t be pictured! It can’t be sufficiently praised! Stop trying to grasp it with your head! There is nowhere to hide the primal face; Even when the world is destroyed, it is indestructible”  

‘Six Jewel Rivers’

Art by Shunman (1757-1820) 1780s Far right panel from the first edition of an untitled hexaptych of women juxtaposed to the “‘Six Jewel Rivers’” (mu tamagawa)

A Buddha

In Tokyo in the Meiji era there lived two prominent teachers of opposite characteristics. One, Unsho, an instructor in Shingon, kept Buddha’s precepts scrupulously. He never drank intoxicants, nor did he eat after eleven o’clock in the morning. The other teacher, Tanzan, a professor of philosophy at the Imperial University, never observed the precepts. Whenever…

The man’s happiest season

  “The spring flowers, the moon in autumn, The cool breezes of summer, the winter’s snow; If idle concerns do not cloud the mind, This is man’s happiest season.”  

What is the way?

Jōshū earnestly asked Nansen, “What is the Way?” Nansen answered, “The ordinary mind is the Way.” Jōshū asked, “Should I direct myself toward it or not?” Nansen said, “If you try to turn toward it, you go against it.” Jōshū asked, “If I do not try to turn toward it, how can I know that…

The cast off robe

haritate ya / kata ni tsuchi utsu / karakoromo   an acupuncuristpounding into my shoulder; the cast off robe Matsuo Bashò Art by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi,1888

Eating the Blame

Circumstances arose one day which delayed preparation of the dinner of a Soto Zen master, Fugai, and his followers. In haste the cook went to the garden with his curved knife and cut off the tops of green vegetables, chopped them together, and made soup, unaware that in his haste he had included a part…

Tao Te Ching 81

True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true. Wise men don’t need to prove their point men who need to prove their point aren’t wise. The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives to others, the wealthier her is. The Tao nourishes by not…

Tao Te Ching 80

If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content. They enjoy the labour of their hands and don’t waste time inventing labour-saving machines. Since they dearly love their homes, they aren’t interested in travel. There may be a few wagons and boats, but these don’t go anywhere. There may be an arsenal of…

Farmers celebrating the autumn moon

Farmers celebrating the autumn moon Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, and the recognized master of the Haiku. He made a living as a teacher, but renounced the social and urban life of the literary circles, and wandered throughout the country to gain inspiration for his writing….