Morning Trip (46)

“The water that flows down the mountain does not think that it flows down the mountain.
The cloud that leaves the valley does not think that it leaves the valley.

A philosopher asked the Buddha to neither speak nor be silent.

It is known how difficult it is to shut the prison door? Words and speech disappear.

If mind is not – mind, who can we ask for advice?

The old monk who thinks he can calm the mind of another is
just mocking everyone around him, and he doesn’t even know it.

The sea is calm when the wind stops blowing.
Still, we search outside of ourselves.
One burst of laughter dissipates a thousand doubts.

I yearn for the soul
of marvelous truth.
Coming back to myself,
I walk beneath the shining moon.

Stars move with silent sounds.
The universe is calm, nothing
brings trouble.
Perfect tranquility: nothing
whatsoever is happening.

Everyday thought is the way.

Without walking for days,
one is suddenly at home.

When confronted by people, you can say yes or no.

Words are never perfect.
Even if people stop speculating,
we still have to use things
to point out the truth.

Wake up! Wake up! Don’t let anyone despise you for another moment.

I have a touching story to tell you. But please wait until this cloud passes.
Otherwise, even if I tell you the story perfectly, the distance between us will still be ten thousand miles.

Those who are enlightened
who see through
the eyes of great wisdom,
can see noon at midnight.

The deepest truths disclose themselves naturally,
don’t even ask the hermit on the hill.

Space is one, without a crack:
By what road does the scent of the cinnamon flowers
come to us at the end of the day?

This is Buddha’s examination.
Those who pass the test of emptiness
will be declared winners.

For your name to be on the list of winners, don’t leave blank pages.
– Tran Thai Tong
Koans from the Khoa Hu – Lessons in Emptiness

Morning Trip (48)

“A person may be very learned in all things, and his philosophical knowledge may be very profound. He has studied all the ancient lore of wisdom, and has even formulated his own system of metaphysics in which he has incorporated all the results of his erudition and speculation. But from the religious point of view he is yet far from enlightenment, for his study is like that of the artist who has painted a dragon and forgot to put the eyes in. His elaborate delineation and coloring in various hues of this huge mystic animal have miserably failed to produce the effect desired and attempted, for the eyes are blank and show no trace of the fiery animation which is possessed by the monster. The scholar has neglected the most important factor that is absolutely necessary in making up the complete knowledge of the universe. He thought that he knew everything under the sun when he exercised his intellectual power to its full extent and considered existence from all the possible standpoints which his understanding could grasp. But, as I stated before, the knowledge of an object is not complete unless its inner life or reason is felt; in other words, unless the duality of a knowing mind and a known object vanishes, and life is comprehended as it is and not in its intellectual mutilation.”
– Soyen Shaku

Morning Trip (47)

After a dream in which your love’s fullness
Was heaven and earth, I stood on nothing in darkness,
Neither finding nor falling, without hope nor dread,
Not knowing pleasure nor discontented.
In time, like the first beam arriving from
The first star, a ray from a seed of light came,
Whose source, coming nearer, (I could not say whether
It rose or descended, for there was no higher nor lower)
To a trumpet’s thin sweet highest note
Which grew to the pitch of pain, showed how its white
Light proceeded all from a blue crystal stone
Large as a child’s skull, shaped so, lucent as when
Daylight strikes sideways through a cat’s eyes;
Blue not blinding, its light did not shine but was;
And came, as the trumpet pierced through into silence,
To hover so close before my hands
That I might have held it, but that one does not handle
What one accepts as a miracle.
A great sapphire it was whose light and cradle
Held all things;there were the delights of skies, though
Its cloudless blue was different; of sea and meadow,
But their shapes not seen, The stone unheld was mine,
But yours the sense by which, without further sign
I recognized its visionary presence
By its clarity, its changless patience,
And the unuttered joy that it was,
As the world’s love before the world was.”
–W.S. Merwin

Morning Trip (45)

Scratches copyright

And it was at that age . . . Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
– Pablo Neruda
translated by Alastair Reid