Sangha of Poets

Dear Friends,

As we are reading Nhat Hanh’s poems for our June session, I thought I’d share a few poems by other Zen poets in the weeks ahead.

Here is one by Han-Shan, who lived during the T’ang Dynasty in China.   The translator is Burton Watson…

Be happy if there’s something to be happy about!
When the moment comes, do not lose it!
Though they say life lasts a hundred years,
Who has seen a full thirty thousand days?
You’re in this world no more than an instant,
So don’t sit there grumbling about money.
At the end of the Classic of Filial Piety
It tells you all about what funerals are like.

This one is  translated by Steve Ruppenthal…

Anger is fire in the mind
Burning up the forest of your merits and blessings.
If you want to walk in the path of the bodhisattvas,
Endure insults and guard your mind against anger.

Last, the following is translated by Gary Snyder…

In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn’t make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I’m back at Cold Mountain: 
I’ll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.


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