Returning home from a day of begging;
Sage has covered my door.
Now, a bunch of leaves burns with the brushwood.
Silently, I read the poems of Han-shan,
Accompanied by the autumn wind rustling through the reeds.
I stretch out both feet and lie down.
What is there to fret over?
What is there to doubt?


Setting up a lamp and holding a brush, I wish to speak my heart.
From a distance I yearn for India, and traces of the founding ancestor.
Our Buddha's transmission of the robe commenced in this cold valley,
Solitary, not only in winter at Mount Song's Shaolin temple.


In the past, when I began to study Zen,
it was all a mistake.

Wandering through numberless
mountains and rivers,
I wanted to find
something to know.

(It’s all clear in hindsight.)

It is hard to understand it
because talk about “no-mind”
just brings more confusion.

The teacher has pointed out
the ancient mirror
and I see in it
the time before I was born of my parents.

Having learned this,
what do I have?

Release a crow into the night
and it flies
flecked with snow.

(I found this when I was looking at notes for my dharma talk from a year ago, and thought it would be worth sending us into the first week of the year with)

David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

(Thanks to Alex for sharing this poem)


Yesterday was short; today is longer. 
Though without edge or corners,
[the solstice] is good to examine.
I encourage you to look closely.
Stop asking for the sun in the sky.


Many paths lead from
The foot of the mountain
But at the peak
We all gaze at the
Single bright moon


The blue sky and bright day,
No more searching around!
"What is the Buddha?" you ask:
 With loot in your pocket, you declare yourself innocent.

Michio Mado

When I came back home on a rainy day,
A cleaning rag was waiting for me in the entrance hall.
“I’m a cleaning rag, ” it said, with a friendly look,
Though it hadn’t wanted to become one.
Until quite recently it had been a shirt.
It was as soft as my skin.
Maybe in America or somewhere
It had been a cotton flower,
Smiling in the sun and the wind.

Jane Hirshfield

You must try,
the voice said, to become colder.
I understood at once.
It's like the bodies of gods: cast in bronze,
braced in stone. Only something heartless
could bear the full weight.


 When alive, one keeps sitting without lying down:
 When dead, one lies down without sitting up.
一 In both cases, a set of stinking bones!
What has it to do with the great lesson of life?