Genro

Friends of my childhood
Are all well known now.
They discuss philosophy;
They write essays and criticisms.
I am getting old;
I am good for nothing.
This evening the rain is my only companion.
I burn incense and lay myself in its fragrance;
I hear the wind passing the bamboo screen at my window.

Gary Snyder

There is no remedy for satisfying hunger other than a painted rice cake.

—Dōgen, November, 1242.

On a back wall down the hall

lit by a side glass door

is the scroll of Mu Ch’i’s great
sumi painting, “Persimmons”

The wind-weights hanging from the
axles hold it still.

The best in the world, I say,
of persimmons.

Perfect statement of emptiness
no other than form

the twig and the stalk still on,
the way they sell them in the
market even now.

The original’s in Kyoto at a
lovely Rinzai temple where they
show it once a year

this one’s a perfect copy from Benrido
I chose the mounting elements myself
with the advice of the mounter

I hang it every fall.

And now, to these overripe persimmons
from Mike and Barbara’s orchard.
Napkin in hand,
I bend over the sink
suck the sweet orange goop
that’s how I like it
gripping a little twig

those painted persimmons

sure cure hunger

Deborah Landau

So whatever’s the opposite of a Buddhist that’s what I am.

Kindhearted, yes, but knee deep in existential gloom,

except when the fog smokes the bridges like this—

like, instead of being afraid we might juice ourselves up,

eh, like, might get kissed again? Dwelling in bones I go straight

through life, a sublime abundance—cherries, dog’s breath, the sun, then

(ouch) & all of us snuffed out. Dear one, what is waiting for us tonight,

nostalgia? the homes of childhood? oblivion? How we hate to go—

*

Sundays I spend feeling sorry for myself I’ve got a

knack for it I’m morbid, make the worst of any season

exclamation point       yet levity’s a liquor of sorts,

lowers us through life toward the terminus soon

extinguished       darling, the comfort is slight,

tucked in bed we search each other for some alternative—

oh let’s marvel at the world, the stroke and colors of it

now, while breathing.

(from the New Yorker)

Dogen

Mountains and rivers intimately transmit the power of mountains and rivers.
From the outset the self has not had much ability.
Who cannot grasp which of these sides returns?
After fully questioning once, question it again.

Tesshu Yamaoka

Falling blossoms are scattering on the ground. 
No one ever tries to sweep them away.
Birds are singing the melody of Spring. 
Undisturbed, a guest still rests in his land of Dreams. 

Cijiao

Before the birth of mother and father,
One solid circle;
Even Shakyamuni didn’t understand it –
How could Kasyapa transmit it? 

Jane Hirshfield

1025 molecules
are enough
to call wood thrush or apple.

A hummingbird, fewer.
A wristwatch: 1024.

An alphabet’s molecules,
tasting of honey, iron, and salt,
cannot be counted—

as some strings, untouched,
sound when a near one is speaking.

So it was when love slipped inside us.
It looked out face to face in every direction.

Then it was inside the tree, the rock, the cloud.

Yunmen

If you don't pay attention,
You will miss it.
If you think about it, 
In what aeon will you realize it?