Chinese Poetry, Chinese Texts, Poetry, The Masters

The Hsin Hsin Ming

The Hsin Hsin Ming, known as the Shinjinmei in Japan, is attributed to Master Sengcan (Kanchi Sosan in Japanese), the third ancestor in China. One of the earliest Zen teaching poems from China, the Hsin Hsin Ming emphasizes that the Great Way is not involved in the game of opposites, and that in order to… Continue reading The Hsin Hsin Ming

Hongzhi Zhengjue
Book Excerpts, The Masters, Zen

The Guidepost of Silent Illumination

Hongzhi Zhengjue was a 12th century philosopher and Zen master in China who authored a large number of philosophical texts as well as the seminal collection of koans, The Book of Serenity. Zhengjue’s emphasis and central teaching theme was ‘Shikantaza‘, the form of silent meditation (‘just sitting’) that is at the heart of Soto Zen… Continue reading The Guidepost of Silent Illumination

Chinese Poetry, Poetry, The Masters

Fu Ta-shih’s Poem: Empty Handed, I Hold a Hoe

The legendary inventor of the kyozo, the custom-made building for housing sutras, Fu Ta-shih (also known as Bodhisattva Shan-hui) was a 6th century Chinese poet and lay master. Below are two translations of one of his famous short poems or gathas.    Empty-handed, I hold a hoe. Walking on foot, I ride a buffalo. Passing… Continue reading Fu Ta-shih’s Poem: Empty Handed, I Hold a Hoe

Book Excerpts, Persian Poetry, Poetry

On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz

Fourteenth century poet Hafiz is one of Persia’s most celebrated poets. Not so much is known about him, and it’s thought that only a small portion of his prodigious work survives. At first glance, many of Hafiz’s poems read like heartbroken laments, penned at closing time after a rowdy night at the tavern. However, they… Continue reading On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz

Chinese Poetry, Poetry, The Masters

Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi

Within a tradition already rich with sublime poetry, the Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi stands out as one of the most profound and beautiful verses to come out of 9th century China. The poem is attributed to master Dongshan Liangjie (known as Tozan Ryokai in Japan), who was the founder of the Caodong tradition… Continue reading Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi

Koans, The Masters

Gutei’s Finger

‘Gutei’s Finger’ is the 3rd case or koan in the Mumonkan, The Gateless Barrier, a collection of koans compiled in the 13th century by Rinzai master Wumen Huikai (known as Mumon Ekai in Japan). The 48 koans in the collection are all sourced from well-known scenes and moments through the history of Zen that Master… Continue reading Gutei’s Finger

Koans, The Masters

The Koan of Baso’s Very Mind

Baso’s Very Mind is the 30th case or koan in the Mumonkan, The Gateless Barrier, a collection of koans compiled in the 13th century by Rinzai master Wumen Huikai (known as Mumon Ekai in Japan). The 48 koans in the collection are all sourced from well-known scenes and moments through the history of Zen that… Continue reading The Koan of Baso’s Very Mind