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Words for the Path

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Autumn Clouds
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Kannon
Lotus Sutra

Meditative Buddha Shakyamuni


Autumn Clouds



I don't write for days on end. Then when I do, dozens of poems usually come out. Kind of like having to empty a full bladder. The face I had before not only scared children, but frightened me as well; most definetly not
my original face.

I will keep drinking tea, being somewhat addicted. Besides I can't stand coffee anymore. I probably shouldn't drink the tea either but I do love it so. So many different varieties, subtle flavors, and marvelous smells. It always helps to calm my more troublesome thoughts.

Do you suppose if I did drink the ink it would make my thoughts indelible? Perhaps writing with tea might also have interesting results. What kind of haiku might be produced with a cup of Irish breakfast? I have nothing new in this book at the moment, but there is one new poem in Vol. 3 "Autumn Clouds," that I will share with you. Anytime my wife gives me a new book I like to place a new verse in it before I finish the last book.

 

1. Autumn clouds,
Raindrops on the lake,
Scattering the gnats,
Along the shore.

 

In the last few days I have been hard at work (or is that enjoying myself immensely) on the newest volume of poems. This newest volume "Autumn Clouds" is lovingly dedicated to my wife Nita, who puts up with me despite my numerous eccentricities. The 8 cats will have to find their own poetry to amuse themselves
-T.S.




AUTUMN CLOUDS

 

1. Autumn clouds;
Raindrops on the lake,
Scattering the gnats,
Along the shoreline.

 

2. This old monk,
Trails a long shadow;
My patience expired,
Cutting the darkness with a brush.

 

3. Secretly,
I harvest my thoughts;
Chaff to the winds,
Stones to the belly.

 

4. The monk remains,
First day's rain on his robes.
The wooden moktok,
Calling his name.

 

5. Just a few fallen petals,
From the plum blossoms,
Do not last long,
Under my unseeing sandals.

 

6. Today is the day,
The squirrel sees me,
Donning my robes,
And laughs.

 

7. Lighting the candles;
Buddha's shadow is emptiness.
I wait,
And nothing arrives.

 

8. Painting flowering branches,
Is beyond me.
Not so clever,
These writer's hands.

 

9. Even this old snapping turtle,
Can be unburdened,
When somewhere outside,
The Spring moon appears.

 

10. By the temple doorway,
The Spring breeze blows,
Swaying the lanterns,
This night after Gotan E.

 

11. I am simply oblivious,
To the pond frogs,
Near the old well;
Visiting the bamboo grove.

 

12. This fat old crow,
Taught by a Blossoming Gnat,
Can be moved to tears,
And disappear.

 

13. At Thousand Swallow Temple,
Mother and father sparrow build a nest;
Where were they,
When the gate sign was posted?

 

14. Poor old Jizo,
Under the oak trees,
So long forgotten;
He never forgets.

 

15. A butterfly,
On the flower pot,
Hears my chanting,
And grimaces.

 

16. In the morning mist,
The butterfly sits,
Wings too heavy with dew,
To leave the temple grounds.

 

17. Today is no burden,
Despite the Spring rain.
Even my shivering,
Is nothing.

 

18. The cats surround us.
Good company,
As we sit with tea,
Watching the crescent moon.

 

19. Too soon the leaves fall,
In the moonlit garden.
I rescue a small one,
And give it to Amida.

 

20. Paulownia leaves,
Cover the temple.
Birds rest,
On the bare branches.

 

21. Tell me, when you go,
Which one of you went;
The old scarecrow,
Or the fat child?

 

22. In the fir tree,
A smug raven,
Eyeing my every move;
How can he see me when I am not here?

 

23. Now that I'm dead,
Spring finally begins.
A very neat trick,
As the first snow falls.

 

24. A little nap,
While it rains outside.
The flowers in the tokonoma,
Don't seem to mind.

 

25. Only temporary,
This memory of
Rose blossom shadows,
And a nearby wren's song.

 

There's the start of the new book.
Hope you find something to lighten
your evening or to produce
a small chuckle.
Gassho and relaxed metta,
Tasogare Shinju, Nita, and the 8 furies

 




26. This world of delusions,
Beyond my opening eyes,
Fades before a single dewdrop,
Clinging to the window.

 

27. A single bamboo shoot,
Dances in the wind,
Singing it's thin song;
Spring is like this.

 

28. Nearly frost bitten,
Before I arrived
From the empty field,
Into the warm temple.

 

29. This old city priest,
Is not napping,
But watching an ant
Climb his own mountain.

 

30. In my hidden hell,
"I" still resides;
As for Tasogare Shinju,
Life is beautiful.

 

31. So pleasantly cool,
The shade beneath the willow.
My robes drenched in sweat,
Clinging like bad karma.

 

32. Draining my cup,
After a long nap,
My chanting is fresh again;
Renewed and renewed.

 

33. For the moment
The tree swallows dart about,
As I walk alone
After sunset.

 

34. The moonlight through the shoji,
Spilling across the tatami;
How can I sleep,
And not disturb the scene?

 

35. For the first time truly listening,
To the squirrel's chatter.
Could it be
That he chants nembutsu too?

 

36. Grandfather frog,
Leave the temple.
From the begining
Your song was sour.

 

37. Sometimes,
Over the reeds,
At the waters edge,
Swallow dance.

 

38. The great stone Buddha,
Sleeping under the shading firs,
Free of moss,
Smiles up at me.

 

39. In praise of Miroku,
These plum blossoms
Have appeared today;
I bow to their natural wisdom.





40. Gone forever,
Yesterday and today too.
Afternoon tea,
Much the same.

 

41. Living here at the temple,
Time has little meaning;
When the tea kettle is cold,
Now that is something.

 

42. The nesting tree swallows,
Show natural metta,
Ignoring our flowers,
Bringing grasses from the lakeshore.

 

43. The sleeves of my black robe,
Sweep the table;
What a joy,
To have noticed it.

 

44. This young temple,
Is still collecting smells,
Taking them into the wood,
Of the butsudan and shrines.

 

45. Our ornamental fig,
Lept into it's new home;
Fresh black earth,
And swallow songs.

 

46. As an offering,
I showed the garden flowers,
The full face of the moon;
The myriad Buddhas smile.

 

47. I must look somber,
In my black robes,
Walking among the flowers,
In the garden.

 

48. Perfectly tranquil;
Yet here I am,
In my black robes,
Scurrying about.

 

49. To keep me company,
The sound of the taiko,
As I light incense,
In the temple.

 

50. It is so much harder,
To pay attention,
When a small white moth,
Flits across the butsudan.

 

Greetings all;
I am finally back on track. Nearly caught up with answering personal mail after vacation. Anyone I haven't responded to yet, I haven't forgotten you. I am getting to things slowly but surely. In the meantime I am taking a relaxing break to send out a few more poems.
Gassho
and much late Summer
metta,
T.S.

 





51. Concealing myself in the shade,
Watching the blue-green waters,
Of the still lake;
Pepper plant budding.

 

52. Gusting breezes,
Enter my study,
Through the open porch doors;
Papa tree swallow eats some seeds.

 

53. A rare cup of coffee,
As I relax,
Writing haiku,
And delighting in bird songs.

 

54. My daytime worries,
Fade before Kannon's shrine,
Shinran and Rennyo beside her;
Completing the circle.

 

55. White chrysanthemums,
And light purple wild blooms,
Frame the butsudan,
With their natural beauty.

 

56. Leaving the lonely shadows;
Morning mist rising,
A soft breeze blowing,
I am no visitor.

 

57. Near the firs by the lake,
Leaving the temple,
I look at our garden,
The face of Amida.

 

58. As I gaze upon Monju,
No thoughts.
The moon,
I round and full.

 

59. Other than this old scarecrow,
No one else in the temple;
The hour is late,
No night sounds.

 

60. New leaves,
Shout in the wind,
Taking me away,
From samsara.

 

61. I can see this evening,
Under the eaves,
Two sparrows,
Calling to each other.

 

62. My eyes open all night,
I spend the time,
Visualizing Amida walking
In flower fields in the Pure Land.

 

63. Frozen in my ignorance,
I forget to sweep,
Watching some children,
Skip stones on the lake.

 

64. Flowing away,
From my bondage,
My final message:
"All is purified."

 

65. A floating cloud,
Crosses my path,
Playfully shouting,
Raindrops.

 




67. Writing on and on,
White clouds passing overhead,
One's mind,
Trails off . . .

 

68. A peaceful slumber,
Cannot replace,
The heart of an old priest,
Entering the Pure Land.

 

69. Dharma mind,
Is not polished,
Or unpolished,
It simply is.

 

70. Come to my place,
On the shore of samsara.
A peaceful stillness
And a fresh pot of tea.

 

71. Sake and tea,
Best of friends,
For monkeys and monks;
How small the world.

 

72. Such sadness,
As the old self dies.
Lighting a fire,
I dry my wet sandals.

 

73. Returning to my past,
My future appeared;
Catching three fish,
On a slender line.

 

74. My old knees,
Ache with the night.
Still I can bend,
For the grace of Amida.

 

75. My life,
Was almost impassable;
Can you hear me,
Smiling in the candlelight?

 

Enjoy these until the next time. I am off
to relax a bit before returning to the temple
for a bit to end the night.
Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju, Nita, and the 8 good kitties




76. Now I've done it,
This silly old priest
Is cultivating gnats,
And Spring blossoms
(for Kaika Buyo)

 

77. I never left footprints
Before today.
Now I am followed
Beyond the gate.

 

78. Master Dokyo Chozen,
Has two heads.
One sees a dog,
One sees a cat.

 

79. Never long enough,
The full moon nights,
Before another such,
passing like waves.

 

80. My new found youth,
I have a word for you.
In a moment,
I may know it.

 

81. The one,
Nothing could hold it,
From finding me,
And waiting quietly.

 

82. Am I sane?
An old priest doesn't care.
The monkeys know me
And heap abuse on my head.

 

83. Unraked piles of leaves,
No visitor kicks them aside.
I tread on them softly,
Seeking my broom.

 

84. In the darkened temple,
I hear the heartbeat of Amida,
Or is it this old priests?
Doesn't matter. Same, same.

 

85. Three fat frogs,
Ate Bodhidharma's rice;
Swelling up,
They exploded.

 

86. I recognize,
The coming storm.
The angry winds,
Erasing the gulls cries.

 

87. Midnight approaches,
Lantern light feeding shadows.
Near me,
Cherry and apple blossoms on the shrine.

 

88. It had to be,
That an old priest,
Searching for seeds,
Would find instead a tombstone.

 




89. In what cloud castle,
Did my thoughts dwell
Until I woke,
Shattering the heavans?

 

90. The little wren,
In the fir tree,
Watches me,
As I put ink to paper.

 

91. Nothing can be done,
To slow the day.
So this old priest,
Flaps his sleeves as he runs.

 

92. It can't be,
That nothing will get done today,
A cat tugging at my arm,
Dancing on my lap.

 

93. I no longer
Mistake shadows for me.
Standing still in the rain,
The birds and I know better.

 

94. With no one else here
In the temple,
I hum an old song,
While lighting the candles.

 

95. The rain still falls,
Despite my wishes;
The ducks on the lake,
Could care less.

 

96. Hobbling about,
Cane in hand,
I am unaware,
That my day has changed.

 

97. I do not plan to leave,
Or vanish from this world.
Rather I would pester my student,
And drink my tea.
(for Kaika Buyo)

 

98. Everything reminds me,
Like a karmic echo,
How imperfect I am,
Beside a single dewdrop.

 

99. I would not sleep,
When the moonlight like waves,
Creeps through the firs,
And into my window.

 

100. This old priest,
Scolded the cats in the temple;
Who, rotten trees,
Fell over and washed each other.

 

That's it until the weekend. Time to go off and write some more. I wrote a few new verses this evening but somehow I still feel like writing more.
Hope you enjoy a few of these.
Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju, Nita
and
the 8 rotten trees




126. This only, all of this,
No start or finish,
I leave to you
When I journey at last to the West.

 

127. The Patriarchs could not last
And I won't either;
Why is that?
Snow on the mountains.

 

128. Who cares,
Why Bodhidharma came to the East?
He did and here we are.
Enough is enough.

 

129. Forty eight this year
And still I shave my head each morning;
Understand?
Each day a holiday.

 

130. Just in time
To see myself rounding a corner,
Black robes trailing behind,
Pushing aside the clouds.

 

131. Holding Mt. Sumeru before me,
A gift to those who cannot see,
Walking upon the waters of samsara;
Can you not see?

 

132. Three doors open,
Three windows shut.
The monkeys shriek in delight,
Until my broom comes in sight.

 

133. Shaking my broom at the crows,
They scatter and call insults.
A black cat crosses the path,
Whistling.

 

134. The bell calls deeply,
As the dead crows gather,
In a black wave;
Their nembutsu humbles the moon.

 

135. Served with the sake,
My ego tastes bitter.
When the moon rises
The owls come out.

 

136. My stay here,
Is long and pleasant,
The swords long sheathed,
Brush and inkstone ready.

 

137. My stick is a snake,
Ready to bite;
Gray peaks shudder.
The student runs.




138. Hearing the mud frogs croak
A song of drunken Dharma.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Real Dharma pie.

 

139. Feeling spent,
Opening the shoji to view the moon.
Laying on my mat,
Should I be surprised?

 

140. On your way;
Where is your mind?
When the moon rises
Pull the monkey's tail.

 

141. Sick of broken handled brooms.
I'll wear out my sandals,
A fallen willow branch
To chase crows and monkeys.

 

142. Free to stand forgetting mind.
What have I seen
To make me thus?
Strangers and friends,
Self and nonself.

 

143. Everywhere,
That's where this old priest is;
Facing My. Sumeru,
Watching the sun rise.

 

144. My original face has no features.
Letting go,
They fled;
Today the rice harvest.

 

145. I swallow your anger,
An immense stone.
Softened by metta,
It makes a passable meal.

 

146. One old priest,
Returned from the far shore,
Sits in the temple,
Speaking to flies.

 

147. Thirty blows with a wet tea leaf.
Just one flattens my Master.
Passing his corpse,
I hear him giggle.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

148. Tea dust !
My fears crushed in my hand.
Mt. Sumeru trembles,
I may swallow it next.

 

149. One great shout,
Flattens the ocean waves;
What word was it?
Quiet, the tea is steeping.

 

150. Tea dust and a big Kwatz!
Karma hurtling downhill,
Mind headed uphill,
The Patriarchs hidden under my robes.

 

Thank's all of you again for your support. I shall keep on writing as long as I can think of something to put down on paper. It's usually just a matter of lack of time that keeps me from doing so. I am nearing halfway on this current volume, slowly but surly making progress of one sort or another. Who can say?
Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju, Nita
and
the 8 catnip fiends
(gotta love 'em)

 




151. Blind snow statue,
Blinking, clapping hands;
Stick passes through.
Kwatz echoes away.

 

152. Buddhas and Patriarchs
Laugh at my great leap,
Monkeys scream,
And the blackbirds shriek.

 

153. Kaika Buyo,
Your last word,
Spoken before you were born,
Where did it go?
(for Kaika Buyo)

 

154. Wind and no-wind,
Across the waveless waves.
My boat stands still,
Zen oar in the water.

 

155. This old monkey chaser,
Eats Dharma,
And breaths fire.
Call the Master with a bucket!

 

156. The crooked arrow,
Hit the Zen bull's-eye,
Howling across the moon;
Worlds reversed.

 

157. The old black squirrel
Throws acorns from the tree,
Striking your head, ouch!
What was he thinking ?

 

158. One sheet,
One blanket,
One bed;
How many of there are you?
Three pieces,
One whole,
Silly bed;
How many pieces of Kaika Buyo.
(for Kaika Buyo)

 

159. That monkey in the tree,
Has my face.
Tell him to keep it,
My original face will do just fine.

 

160. The old black squirrel,
Was hit by his own thrown nut.
Who knew,
There were boomerang nuts?

 

161. Out of my grasp the turtle's head.
In out, in out,
Coming and going,
No thought, circle complete.

 

162. When Buddha calls,
And a monkey answers,
I take up my stick,
Looking sternly at my student.

 

163. No final barrier
For the old black scarecrow,
Long gone,
In his wake.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)




164. Why did Bodhidharma
come to the East?
Ask the monkeys, they think
they know everything.

 

165. The perfect retreat,
Under a tree full of crows;
Shrieking Dharma loudly,
Impossible to escape.

 

166. My stick hits your mind,
Whack !
I never raised it.
How could that happen ?

 

167. Mt. Sumeru reduced to dust.
Now I've done it!
Where's that broom
I mislaid ?

 

168. Farewell ! Farewell !
I'm not going anywhere,
Just farewell.
Squirrel giggles, holding a teacup.

 

169. Those who would practice the Way,
Should realize they already were,
If they knew it or not.
So with the beginning or end,
The circle of Zen stands complete.

 

170. When I am inside,
I am outside.
When it rains I get wet,
Standing in the temple.

 

171. No match for empty mind,
The braying donkeys.
Give me a student,
With eyes open and dirty hands.

 

172. Right, center, left,
Tasogare Shinju stomping up and down.
No wind, no thunder,
Just flapping sandals.

 

173. Moon beams and tea dust,
Nothing permanent,
Permanently beautiful;
Shatter the iron monkey !

 

174. Each raindrop falls
Into my emptiness,
Echoing for countless years;
Mindlessly I smile.

 

175. My karma drags behind me,
Like heavy wet robes.
Tweaking my own nose,
I begin to wring out karma,
Drop by drop.

 

It seems a good night for haiku. The rain just swept in behind fierce winds, hiding the moon, and whistling across the lake. Now all I need is a fresh pot of tea to watch the night skies.
Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju, Nita, and the 8 little hair shedders




176. Stick in hand,
Careful of each step,
And now it comes,
The moment to fly.

 

177. Where is my Buddha mind
When I change hats ?
Then it comes to me;
New head.

 

178. One foot on the moon,
I open the door;
Who tipped the doorman,
When I went out ?

 

179. Remaining apart,
I saw the firs,
Wink at the moon.
What did you see last night ?

 

180. While sleeping,
Mind far above the far mountains,
Nirvana vanished;
Waking, I was gone too.

 

181. I write poems,
Drink my tea,
And split mountains with a shout;
Unthinking Zen.

 

182. What comes,
Nothing.
What goes,
I.

 

183. Magnificant idiocy,
Music in a cracked bowl.
Between my rice and the sky,
Who is the Master ?

 

184. Crushing sutras underfoot,
Another Zen brigand.
Oho,
They've found me out !

 

185. Plum blossoms blow
Into the rice paddies,
Turning heads,
To thoughts of Spring.

 

186. Today
Rain and visiting geese.
One, two, three,
The guests depart.

 

187. Not a sound
From the lakeshore.
Moving through the darkness,
A lone orange cat.

 

188. One old priest,
Watching the stars.
A view,
With no end.

 




189. That severed finger,
Pointing at an empty head.
When blood was spilled,
The lotus bloomed.

 

190. The Zen finger crawled away,
Pointing at the moon.
Tasogare Shinju laughed,
And ate an onion.

 

191. On the verge of seeing,
You suddenly went away,
Called to the West,
Instead of to tea.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

192. The evening bell,
The warm sun sets.
Did it really go
As I watched it ?

 

193. The clouds cannot tell me,
Where I am.
Full of themselves,
All they can do is rain.

 

194. A few crickets come to call
Outside the temple door.
A priest at ease
Calls this too practice.

 

195. The hard rain stops,
As dusk falls,
Leaving me with
The sight of angry clouds receeding.

 

196. At the waters edge,
So many years passed,
Until the sudden tsunami,
Helped me to depart.

 

197. Sitting alone,
Fir shadows advancing;
My mood brightens,
As a small gray squirrel passes.

 

198. Leaves falling,
In the cold rain,
As my mind sets sail,
Across the cloud ocean.

 

199. Not quite ready for sleep,
I watch the mountain shadows
Making mind tracks,
To calm an old priest.

 

200. No cooling Dharma wind,
Can still the frogs croaking,
Sitting on the lotus,
Searching for flies.

 

Hello all;
I thank you all for allowing me to share these poems with you. They have taken my mind off the flu I am fighting off and it's wonderful high temp that goes with it. Ever so briefly they have taken me to another place where peace of mind dwells and illness is nonexistant.
Thank you
all for that small gift
tonight.
Gassho and metta,
T.S., Nita
and the eight sleepy furbags





201. When the moonlight came,
I caught it for a moment.
The Way is indeed kind
To show me this.

 

202. I see myself,
On a Spring evening,
No longer chasing shadows.
Stopping to listen.

 

203. The lake is still
This night.
The birds are sleeping
As I leave the temple.

 

204. Red is green.
Blue is red.
No monkey has three eyes;
Light in the shadows.

 

205. Summer refuses to come.
Days pass, but only rain.
Far off,
Zen still travels.

 

206. Bringing in the firewood,
My prospects look good,
While the snowdrifts
Swallow you up.

 

207. Early morning.
A quiet visit and tea.
Sitting, we see,
The final blow fall.

 

208. Walking in the rain,
The stillness is deafening.
I am inclined to splash in puddles;
No one about.

 

209. Silent talk and that look,
Fixes a student in place.
Outside the gate
The moon rolls backwards.

 

210. Wind pierces stone,
Not entering the mind;
Among the gray clouds,
I once heard . . . . . .

 

211. No oars in the water,
The Zen boat is not there.
A single monk crosses the sea,
Never wetting his sandals.

 

212. Deep inside emptiness,
Waiting dragons sleep,
Great wisdom pearls
For their pillows.

 

213. Leaping out of the tree,
False teeth stuck to the branch,
Bodhidharma couldn't make the party;
An iron stick is dead but alive.




214. The seal of emptiness,
Freezes the full moon.
Frost motes dancing
Among the pines.

 

215. With a handful of Zen,
I climb mountains,
My lone passing,
Plainly visible.

 

216. Not yet sleepy,
I daydream of awakening dragons,
Charging through the mist;
Mind to mind
(to Kaika Buyo on her taking vows)

 

217. Having come so far,
I ring the chime
And depart,
On a horse with three legs.

 

218. No longer the same,
As the rest of the frogs,
I now
Speak to flies.

 

219. Who realizes this thought
Along the Path;
Silent shadows,
Clustered together?

 

220. To sit,
Among the monks,
What's the point;
There's no one there.

 

221. Icicles under the eaves,
On Thousand Swallow Temple;
In the shadows,
They grow longer.

 

222. In this floating world,
I am old and young;
For a stone mind,
Not so bad.

 

223. All that's left,
Of this early morning,
Is listening to silent Dharma,
Before the sun rises.

 

224. My thoughts,
Are as empty as my mind,
No cobwebs to catch them;
Nagarjuna's toenails.

 

225. Turning around,
The monkeys scatter;
More priests should walk backwards,
To know where they are going.

 

Hello all:
Well, I hope you are not disappointed after such a long wait. Here are a few more poems to share with you. Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju,
Nita
and the 8 cat critics

 




226. Finding a place to rest,
Though this body does not exist.
My mind dwells in emptiness,
While my feet get blisters.

 

227. Awaking late at night,
At that instant no thought,
Moonlight through the window;
Unaware of my body.

 

228. The world is silent
As I sit in meditation,
Beyond dog and cat,
Approaching the monkeys indirectly.

 

229. An early morning cup of tea,
Summer like Fall,
No sound but wind and swallows;
Such natural clarity.

 

230. Clouds drift aimlessly,
My empty mind goes nowhere.
Searching the hidden places
Would be a waste of time.

 

231. The moon reaches my eye,
Becomes my eye;
Silent as a stone,
Unmoving and incomprable.

 

232. Making morning tea.
Mara cannot stomach
A cup of happiness;
Gazing at the firs.

 

233. What do you practice,
Dog Dharma or cat Dharma?
Bark-meow/meow-bark;
What was that?

 

234. Is your front or your back
Studying the Dharma?
Yes ! Yes !
Where did the monkey put his coconut?

 

235. Past, present, future,
A ball of dung.
Just living a moment for others,
No thought for self,
And a million worlds of delusion shatter.

 

236. The Wheel rolls on
Leaving one old priest
Sitting on a pile of dust
Pouring from his mind.

 

237. Mind and body a cloud,
Winter lantern always lit;
A thousand peaks and valleys
Could not hold them.

 

238. Wisdom,
So early in the morning;
What a headache
From throwing rocks.




239. Late night sitting,
One old log;
So many bells
And not one ringing.

 

240. Two great pillars,
Sight and sound,
Merge with the Winter wind;
Frosty bamboo in the morning.

 

241. Strawberries along the fence
Don't need me to grow.
Turning my back,
It's a good day.

 

242. With sunset departed,
Sky transformed,
I sit outside the door,
Just as I was.

 

243. If you are not here
And I am not here,
Who wrote this
And who is reading it.

 

244. I have lost track
Of growing older.
Nothing here or there
Can upset my late night tea.

 

245. Waking stillness
Bathed in twilight.
What could I do
With so much racket?

 

246. Truth in many forms,
Is one.
With each being a Buddha,
How could it be otherwise?

 

247. The frogs are singing.
What a din.
When the bell finally rings,
The morning fog disperses.

 

248. The smile of Kannon
In a raindrop
Tells me
Of radiant clouds.

 

249. Flies fly,
Mind flies.
Which gets there sooner?
Which one is smarter?

 

250. Outside, cloud dragons duel,
Taking away my anger.
Inking my brush;
Red sunset.

 

251. Mist rising at dawn from the lake;
Filled with sleepy Zen.
I laugh at my mumblings.
Twists and turns.

 

252. The morning frog is back
Croaking "hello."
The world still turns
But we do not notice.

 

253. Endless beauty
As the rain falls.
So distant my mind,
As my robes grow sodden.

 

254. As free as a breeze,
As firm as a stone,
Mind and heart meet;
A chorus of beauty.

 

255. Standing nowhere,
And of no standing,
My horns hacked away;
I can finally smile.

 

256. Standing in my doorway,
I'll get where I am going,
Led by the bell
And my heart.

 

257. Beneath my window,
No right or wrong.
All the way to the sky,
Dharma motes.

 

258. Sitting zazen,
The flies perch on my robes,
Black against black;
Until the wind blows.

 

259. No longer to be seen,
My full teacup.
Draining the pot,
I finally see the wiseteria, oh no!

 

260. My orphaned mind
Had a sickly face.
Still it came to me
That it was not alone.

 

261. The last old scholar
Swallowed his own bile,
And died;
And returned as an octopus.

 

262. For a single breath,
The student sat idle.
When the Master spoke,
He coughed three times.

 

263. The geese by the lake
Know we well.
Where the sky touches the water
We spend each Spring.

 

266. So many times,
I have climbed these hills,
Robes marking me;
No mysteries here.

 

267. Stopping by the roadside,
Night sitting,
Red tinged clouds of late sunset
And the Lotus Sutra.

 

268. Two great friends,
One Nichiren, one Tendai;
Gone beyond the lines of sects,
To share cool breezes and tea.

 

269. Today I hear clearly
The voice of Master Dokyo Chozen;
That is his true memorial.
No charnel birds here.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

270. I seem to have ten fingers
Yet no mind.
When the snow piles deep
Grasp the phantom shovel.

 

271. When I disappear,
Beyond the moon,
No longer overtaken by darkness;
Goodbye world.

 

272. The river runs clear
Past the bamboo grove.
If I must die
Let it be here.

 

273. The sky turned upside down
Above the breath of the wind.
Sword in Hand
I cut the night.

 

274. Had I known
The rain was coming
I could have mourned
The passing of my dry head.

 

275. Falling in the wind,
The last of my hesitation,
As I followed my Master
Down the Path.

 

276. How could I think
Of endless chanting,
When the clouds parted,
To show true nature?

 

277. A road full of monkeys,
Like the one I used to be,
Heads in the clouds,
Unable to see or hear.

 

278. Tea beneath the full moon.
But just now
I amd drawn by the touch
Of an old familiar ghost.

 

279. Take nothing seriously
When you enter the temple.
Rather, sweep the floor,
Then fetch the mop.

 

280. I have no desire
Other than to have no desire.
When the cock crows
It's already too late.

 

281. My spirit
Is not my own.
Though I am Tasogare Shinju
I am not always myself.

 

282. The whiteness of snow
Has no merit.
Ice cannot flow
As the winds pass.

 

283. What great fool
Plays dice all day?
When three days ago
He died.

 

284. My mind is shattered,
Blown to the world's four quarters.
When the tea is poured
Which head will drink it?

 

285. It goes without saying
That I will never know up from down.
Somewhere in the center;
No expression Zen.

 

286. There is no doctrine
In the Buddha's smile.
Nor dogma
In the Bodhisattva's touch.

 

287. If you yawn loudly enough
You might wake up.
I laugh at your constant snoring.
What color are your thoughts?

 

288. That let the Katsu !
Out of the bag.
No amount of striving
Can ever put it back again.

 

289. How can I depart while sleeping?
While snoring it is a certainty!
Such a great racket
That it clears the Path.

 

290. Another cup of tea,
Will change nothing,
And everything.
Nothing is pure chance.

 

291. The moon flies by so swiftly.
I could leave it be
And yet such a simple happening
Leads me to silence.

 

292. Coming or going,
Let a spider be a spider,
And me a shabby priest,
Harvesting cobwebs with my broom.

 

293. Walking away from the clouds
Who knows where it will end ?
No sword can cut the sky
Nor sever my mind.

 

294. Looking straight at death
I offer tea.
If he drinks
Where does it go?

 

295. What are you saying,
"filthy and crowded?"
Get out of my mind
And carve your own tombstone.

 

296. Change has passed me on the wind.
By myself,
I walk through the moment,
Already ahead of myself.

 

297. What matter my 48 years?
Tasting of each days passing,
Buddha swallowing me,
As I swallow Buddha.

 

298. See, old fool!
I have put down my brush.
For perfection and harmony
Go look in hell.

 

299. One big Katsu!
And death passes.
Still I am dead
And finally have the wits to know it.

 

300. I never sat beneath the moon.
No moon appeared.
No I walked out to sit.
In the end it's all the same.

 

Well, it's off to work with me. Enjoy your evenning.
Gassho and metta,
Will I ever get it right?




301. Beneath an overcast sky,
Barely shown,
My mind is resting;
Name and all.

 

302. This dried out old turtle
Floats across the waters.
Now I see that all that basking
Was never really necessary.

 

303. No cuckoo cries for me
Despite the western wind.
I am not yet ready to pass
Like the dew on the flowers.

 

304. One foot on the other shore,
One in the water;
When will I go,
One way or the other?

 

305. No smell can penetrate
The falling snow.
I cannot say
Where we two are drifting.

 

306. When the lights go out,
My head on my pillow,
I hear the full moon
Swallowing the night sky.

 

307. My dream was so sad.
Now from all around
Another day begins.
Which was the true dream?

 

308. When the clouds come again
I will taste them all
Then spit them out.
The cuckoo brought a smart monkey.

 

311. That warty old toad,
My morning companion,
Hops down the path
While I gather dew.

 

312. Leaving my sweltering house
I dream of Fall winds
And gentle rains.
An eternity of waiting.

 

313. If you will
Share my tea.
What fun
To join the mayflies.

 

314. In the dragon's eye
The great moon.
When he winks
I take the leap.

 

315. I am still here.
No more back and forth.
The crysanthemum's passing
Tells me "hold on."

 

316. Looking eastward
I bow to the rising sun.
Looking westward
I sit with the new moon.

 

317. There is no rest
When the bells shatter a frosty night.
The chilly night air
Smells of the far shore.

 

318. Sleeping till noon
I have left nothing to chance.
Nothing to regret
As there is no time.

 

319. I cannot erase
What I was.
But I can sleep in the shade
Or sharpen my blade.

 

320. One dream
Before I go.
A Spring butterfly
In a mid-Winter sky.

 

321. One particular sound,
A sneeze under a full moon,
Takes me past
The wind of death.

 

322. The road my Master took
Is no place to tarry.
One cup of tea;
On my way I go.

 

323. If I were a tortise
I might live longer.
Yet when was a tortise
Ever enlightened?

 

324. In my Autumn stillness,
Layer upon layer
Of collapsing mind;
The faded sunset.

 

325. These still nights
The race to die comes closer.
A chill
Tells me I am right.

 

327. A lotus leaf
Is even more intriguing
As the new moon's light
Crosses its face.

 

328. Melting like Spring snow
The line between here and there.
When it is gone
Where will I stand?

 

329. When I reach the Pure Land
Will the grass be long or short?
If I set out now
Who can tell.

 

330. One last view
Of my old home.
A hint of Autumn on the wind
As I turn and follow the Way.

 

331. The first dew of Autumn
Greets us this morning.
Perhaps when it fades
We shall truly wake up.

 

332. When I set aside the brush
And pour my tea
I wonder
If you too feel Amida's smile?

 

333. When I become myself
What a joy to truly meet you.
Two blades of grass
And one spirit.

 

334. My snores always escape,
No longer needed.
Like them
Time passes and "I" is not missed.

 

335. The oak leaves
Are already falling.
Autumn must have arrived
While my mind was elsewhere.

 

336. Having done everything and nothing
I am content.
Was it my faded dreams
That brought me here?

 

337. I always forget
Where I am.
Perhaps in the end
I will just be here.

 

338. One of these days
I will find the road
Covered in wind blown leaves.
How delightful this paradise!

 

339. These last few moments
I watched the night sky.
The moon of my memory
Meeting its twin.

 

340. My daily doubts vanish
Like the koi beneath the Winter ice.
Though unseen
They are always nearby.

 

341. One lone willow
Knows well the seasons.
Since its first days
It has recorded time.

 

342. The never setting moon
Surpasses all illusions.
No mere phantasm
Above the Summer rainstorm.

 

343. I can blame no one
For my wretched self
Nor should I.
Farewell to Summer.

 

344. A most sudden death
Has struck me senseless.
Each day now
I decay more while smiling.

 

345. Riding on the wind
Or creeping on the ground
A slug is a slug
And so am I.

 

346. Between life and death
I Awoke from my sleep.
When first light came
I plainly saw tommorow .

 

347. Where was I
When the snows melted?
More than likely
Between the sun and the moon.

 

348. A change of mind
and new robes
Do wonders
In the Autumn.

 

349. Upon my departure
My only thought
Was of waves
And flowers on the beach.

 

350. Since all is Buddha
No need to sit
Beneath the Bodhi tree.
We've been there before.

 

351. If I borrow
A cup of moonlight
Would you share it
Before our final journey?

 

352. The door open or closed;
What a mistake?
My cup is upset
And the tea has escaped.

 

353. Where is that enlightened mind
That saw the tattered clouds
Flee from the face of the moon?
Chilling breeze. Wide awake.

 

354. What do I miss
When Summer is gone?
The leaf carpet
Still in the trees.

 

355. Holding onto the night;
Now then, it slips
Slowly away,
To find it's true self.

 

356. Even this quiet moment
Has its end.
No more returning
Save in tomorrow's dream.

 

357. In the window
This night
No moon.
Only darkness.

 

358. Under my umbrella,
Black on black,
I must look dead.
Which way to the teahouse?

 

359. Only me
Within the moon.
Only the moon
Within me.

 

360. To become silent,
Flowing like the void,
Far from the clouds,
From throwing rocks.




361. There is no shame
In eternity.
Not so soon forgotten
Springtime.

 

362. Ah, what a dream,
The winds of death,
Stilled
By the Autumn moon.

 

363. The sound of raindrops
On the shutters
Is much like
The beating of my heart.

 

364. Where my shadow went
Is not in question.
No more waiting
As the sun passes.

 

365. If a pear
Fell in my lap
During meditation
All reason would blur.

 

366. My wish filled mind,
Jumps like the frog's
Until I am filled,
With inner laughter.

 

367. Having played go with Death
Dream and reality meet.
When the snows finally come
Time enough for a long walk.

 

368. When all else fails
I just say farewell.
The old North wind
Will soon have me hopping.

 

369. A voice like a typhoon;
What fun I had with that.
A most brazen herald
Calling to the monkeys.

 

370. Emptiness is just another change.
The way it was cannot be.
I wish to see
The color of the wind.

 

371. In this fleeting life
Even the illusion of dew is an illusion.
There cannot be
A finer madness.

 

372. Lunacy beneath the moon
I doubly wonderful.
In my own way
I welcome such a song.

 

373. The heavy snows cannot
Hold my brush back.
No matter the season
Dreams come and go.

 

374. How can I write like this
With no ink
And no mind?
I cannot say.

 

375. The Autumn wood is still
Where I go
For walking meditation.
No bird calls. No shadows.

 

376. Here I sit wondering,
Another year older.
When the rains come
I laugh.

 

377. When ghosts come at night
Foul and hungry,
I do what I always do,
Make tea.

 

378. With a liking for quiet,
I love the night.
When the darkness comes
The temple is most peaceful.

 

379. Ahhh, what a blessing,
To wake each morning,
Less a fool
Than the day before.

 

380. Practice! Practice!
You idiot,
Don't you realize,
Tommorow is already here?

 

381. When I awoke
The battle was already old.
What a wonderful time
To be truely alive.

 

382. Ten thousand cherry blossoms;
The dream fades.
Even as a lone petal
Falls on my pillow.

 

383. Hungover with dreams
I sweep the cobwebs away.
Looking out the window;
Fat rain clouds.

 

384. Red leaves and sky.
Death and eternity.
A single cloud
On the horizon.

 

385. Bitter Winter,
Don't you know
There are no seasons;
So blow no more.

 

386. I could never mourn for myself
For there was no loss.
What never was
I just let go.

 

387. What memories,
Pale, lifeless, distorted,
Fled in the night;
Sitting by candlelight.

 

388. Each day is long
With eyes wide open.
In thanks I bow;
Spring and Autumn's dance.

 

389. Some things change,
Others never do.
Unchanging Dharma;
No mistakes there.

 

390. Holding self in their hands
The blind cannot learn.
There are no answers
For the golden ones.

 

391. One great Dharma.
A billion lies and delusions.
When the bell sounded
All were lost.

 

392. No idea can hold me
Despite a brilliant moment.
When allis forgotten,
Ah, what a morning.

 

393. Samadhi!
Where? When?
Up in the tree
An old crow smiles.

 

394. Licking Bodhidharma,
A million heavans appear.
Yet he is invisible,
So what was done here?

 

395. Gone, all gone
You roaring big mouth.
When will hell
finally throw you out?

 

396. No golden robe
Can give you value.
At days end
Moonlight shows brighter.

 

397. Secrets and corners,
No longer mysteries;
Beyond and deeper still
The true heart treasures.

 

398. My own poor words
Cannot be Spring or Fall.
What is truth
Dribbles away.

 

399. Eyes wide open
My dreams grow and fade.
Blossoms on the road
Make no sound.

 

400. Drink your wine
Saying nothing.
I have already finished.
Your turn.

 

401. No doubt old Dharma
Has somewhere to go.
I shall not keep it
Too long for myself.

 

402. Who can tell
When I offer a poem
What it means
Besides my heart?

 

403. So much rain and wind
Day after day.
How shameless of me
To have enjoyed it.

 

404. Freely giving Dharma,
Worms in a bucket.
Do you shiver
In the realization?

 

405. That old Patriarch
Sure emptied his bladder.
Do not follow
On his Path.

 

406. My old stick
Gives and takes with time.
Calming samadhi
With a sharp whack!

 

407. Mountain top and sky,
The depths of the sea,
All support the Dharma
While we sleep.

 

408. A blink and time is severed.
No time forever.
Not seeing past or future.
I see through myself.

 

409. Taming myself each day,
Reawakening wisdom,
I can get on with things
As I should.

 

410. Talking to myself again.
I hope I answer wisely.
If I get it hasf right
I'll be happy.

 

411. Morning is always morning
But not to worry.
In due course
Tea time arrives.

 

412. I might get up.
I might not.
But either way
I might die today.

 

413. What I must do
Is mine to do.
Perhaps much later
I will whisper something.

 

414. The incense is soothing
And never angry.
Both of us happy
To be calm and useful.

 

415. I may not do much
But what do I do?
In the early morning
I yawn well as I open the temple.

 

416. Strolling through the garden
I marvel at each leaf
And blade of grass.
People rush by me.

 

417. My mind is set
On each new day.
Snow, rain, or sun
I can only laugh.

 

418. Crazy monkeys
Grabbing for my fruit.
When the time comes
You would have had it anyway.

 

419. Puttering in the garden
While my neighbor does the same.
We are both happy
For whatever grows.

 

420. Moving through the day
With steady purpose.
At days end
A surprising sunset each night.

 

421. Those smiling eyes
Bespoke the wisdom gems within.
With your passing
That light still shines.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

422. With Buddha by my side
Each day is a treasure.
When I sit for tea
The peace is deafening.

 

423. Death cannot worry me
Nor cause me to fear.
Content in the Dharma
My health is assured.

 

424. We sit under the same moon;
Have you seen it?
It knocks at your window
Each night.

 

425. Some days
I am wiser than others.
A cool breeze
On my shaved head.

 

Enjoy and be well.
With more of Autumn Clouds to come....
Gassho and metta;
Tasogare Shinju, Nita, and the 7 cat leeches

 




426. What is good
Is not worrisome.
With great patience
It will all come about.

 

427. As much as I read
I must remember to turn the page.
Moving forward
Instead of sleeping.

 

428. Teaching with words
Is necessary.
Teaching with silence
Is perfection of wisdom.

 

429. I am happy
Just sitting,
Rather than moving about,
Gathering endless things.

 

430. Who stands here?
I don't know.
No real secrets
Just an invisible smile.

 

431. After sunset
I walked across the vast ocean
With no one aware
But my Master on the far shore.

 

432. If you Katsu the three Buddhas
They turn to dust.
Call their names
And they have gone nowhere.

 

433. I burn enlightenment in the fire
With the rest of the dead leaves.
Can you see and smell
Where it has gone?

 

434. No fierce struggle here
Just tea and Autumn treasures.
When seen from afar
The Buddhas must laugh.

 

435. Nothing is Mu
So why should I bother?
I have enough dung
On my sandals to clean off.

 

436. The day begins with rain.
Cat under the eaves
Shakes its paw.
Good day small teacher.

 

437. Sitting among the weeds
I can still see Mt. Sumeru
Beyond the mud flats
Where I must go.

 

438. One of my heads disappeared.
No dust on this old head.
Don't bother to bury the other.
It would talk you to death.




439. What a place to start
With the goal in sight.
Better get moving
And enjoy what comes.

 

440. Stopping in the garden
For midmorning tea.
No bitterness in taste,
Of tea, or mind with time.

 

441. My mind may be sharp
But sometimes my legs are lazy.
If I were still youthful
It might be worse.

 

442. I could never repay my teacher
For the lessons he gave.
Since he has departed
I continue to study as if he were here.

 

443. What is it
When I speak to you?
Echoes
Of echoes.

 

444. If a seagull flew
In my place
He would be
Quite insane.

 

445. Walk in the rain
You get wet.
Run in the rain
You get more wet.
Sit in the rain
You've seen it all.

 

446. Each day a new mistake
And I learn something.
Heart or mind
Which will speak louder?

 

447. For me Autumn is like Spring.
Everything is new again.
So many falling leaves
Make a beautiful garden.

 

448. Pebble.
Bird dropping.
Raindrop.
Circle.

 

449. Sitting still,
Is not always necessary,
As long as the mind
Is sitting still.

 

450. What merit I had
Fled in terror.
Yet by night
It came creeping back.

 

I hope you find some small worth in these poems for your own enjoyment.
Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju




Hello all;
Here's hoping one and all are well and happy. I have finished this volume within the last week and am well into the next. There are quite a few left in this volume to keep you all reading for some time yet.

 

501. The heart Buddha of Light,
Knows no barrier
Stronger than my ignorance,
Which gently brushes aside.

 

502. All my gates
Were swept away
In a moment
Of innocent non-thought.

 

503. Sitting still
Or shouting Katsu!
An empty headed fool
Is born every minute.

 

504. Blind,
Deaf,
Dumb!
Surely he must be enlightened.

 

505. Who is blind
That holds a grain of sand?
No need to ask
It's use in practice.

 

506. What is Buddha,
When clouds cover the sun,
Or rain obscures the moon?
New and old/old and new.

 

507. My echo is free
If you care to listen.
That way
I won't have to repeat myself.

 

508. When my Master died,
It was just like him,
To be silent,
In the midst of his last word.

 

509. There are no laws
For the swimming fish
But a single old bowl
Can hold them both.

 

510. Facing my mind
I can laugh at the outcome.
One empty,
One echoing.

 

511. Serene waves of nothingness
Washing on no shore.
Hand in hand
Neither of us hears the surf crash.

 

512. One old Master
Ate all the tigers.
Yet in the end
He produced no hairballs.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

513. Yes! Oh yes!
I understand what happened.
The priest blew off his head
With a volley of laughter.

 

514. When three hands are one
I shall cease prodding
With my finger.
Until then the Buddha naps.

 




515. Master winked with
An eye that thundered,
And shook the earth,
As he cooked the rice.

 

516. That old ferry
Remains tied to the wharf.
Cut the rope
And push off.

 

517. I brought out my treasure
With no hands
Under the full moon.
All right in no time.

 

518. No eye in the water
When the dragon sleeps.
No use to watch for him.
No meaning in his absence.

 

519. What Dharma teaching
Comes from an old turtle?
Nothing here
But turtle soup.

 

520. The lotus flower
Grew out of the old turtle's shell.
So his kindness
Went before him.

 

521. What has come to me
Is my difference.
So from my standpoint
My insanity makes sense.

 

522. Today!
It must always be today!
Fill up the toilet
And run for cover.

 

523. Always running about,
No footprints in the snow,
No moss,
Between old Master's toes.

 

524. I heard what you said.
Not worth a sigh.
Might as well
Throw crumbs to the birds.

 

525. A handfull of tigers whiskers
Is quite impressive.
Yet why bother
When you have a set of your own?

 

May you find something enjoyable on this early Tuesday morning.
Gassho and metta -T.S.




It's been quite awhile hasn't it? Things here have been hectic to say the least. Everything from an electrical transformer fire that left us without power for days to serious kitty illnesses and deaths (as well as introduction of two new kitties to our horde, now numbering ten). Mitted seal point Ragdoll Cecil at five years old and black an white 12 week old kitten Bertie Jr. have come to live with us. Passing away quietly at the vets was 7 year old Burton. Our garden is up and running with multitudinous flowers, strawberries, lettuce, and tomatoes this year.

in honor of dear Burton....

 

551. "Give me a clue," said the student.
"Water in the kettle, rain on the roof,"
Replied the stern old Master.
"Life or death. Don't try to deny it."

 

552. Alas! But so what ?
Master is gone
But his bed is still slept in.
Nobody closed the gate.

 

553. The man of might
Wavers in the rain
Yet never falls in the mud.
Stout legs, no mind.

 

554. You are never spechless
When your lantern flickers.
That's your problem.
Too many flies in your bowl.

 

555. Leaving the trailing clouds,
That old Risu swallowed the universe.
Don't lose heart
When he spits you back out.

 

556. An old glue pot
Saved me a lot of blows.
Likked by a single wheel
Running over my head.

 

557. Moving without moving,
Neither standing or sitting,
Sun and moon rise and set
In effortless silence.

 

558. It appears to not appear,
That smile of the old sensei.
Big stick,
No brain.

 

559. Young rebels in the lecture hall
Stop throwing your food!
When you see the sword
You won't recognize it.

 

560. Old Risu
Has two pet monkeys.
Each day he wakes them
And knocks them down.

 

561. Stricking a discordant note
The old priest felled many tigers.
In a silence beyond silence
Another deceased old fox coughed.

 

562. One moment or an eternity
I am just like that.
With no lips to speak
I can truely say, "good morning."

 

563. Spring can no longer catch me
Here under Autumn's blanket.
One by one the golden leaves
Settle on my robes.

 

564. Do you have water in the bucket or not?
Or did the clouds open
And fill it for you?
One more frog in the pond.

 

565. Just enough rice.
Just enough tea.
No matter what you do
You can't eat what I ate.

 

566. That's it!
Using a blunted sword
To stir the cooking pot.
No answer would suffice.

 

567. You greased your wheel
You old rascal.
No sticking in the mud
For that cart.
(for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

568. Yank your head
Out of the brine.
You'll never be
A pickled radish that way.

 

569. Don't take this dead fellow away.
He can still teach something.
He can go up and down.
Three great steps. Over the cliff!

 

570. Cool breeze through the bamboo.
Birds flying south at snow fall.
Between the rocks you can laugh
And scoop frogs from the pond.

 

571. Old Risu in the Buddha hall
Dropped his nuts again.
When the Autumn comes
Don't trip over the new oaks.

 

572. Under my nose
I've shaved the tiger's whiskers.
Now you can only
Hear his purr.

 

573. If all the earth is medicine
And Zenzai holds a blade of grass,
A cow must be very healthy.
Someone let the cat out.

 

574. No trace of Risu here
But his stink lingers.
Words cannot reach him
As he turns the corner.

 

575. Even an old toad
Can ring the bell.
Or strike the drum.
What is the temple coming to?

 

576. Nothing stands before you
Yet my shadow blocks your movement.
The jewel in your pocket
Is covered with lint.

 

577. Every day,
Shady clouds and gentle rain,
Round and round;
Wash, rinse, dry.

 

578. Crazy old Risu
Banged his staff on the turtle's shell.
"No legs, no head,
Nobody home."

 

579. Nothing under the covers.
Risu's nose smells the opening.
The jewels are scattered.
Sweep them up like only you can.

 

580. Two fingers
Cast into the wind
Smashed the lazy student.
What a great ruckus.

 

581. No dog has Buddha nature
Unless it becomes a cat.
Then it's roar
Spans the aeons.

 

582. Unlock this
You old monkey baiter.
Three hands
On the well rope.

 

583. Swept under the rug
With the rest of the dust.
Old Risu had a sackfull
Of powdered mind.

 

584. A turtle points at the moon
With its head.
All wrong! All wrong!
What can I say?

 

585. Up a tree
With the monkeys
It's easy to see
How they got there.

 

586. Old Risu's bamboo mind
Smiles at thunderstorms
And laughs at eclipses.
What time is it now?

 

587. Leaping into the void,
Shattering the moon,
The little gnat
Comes to land in the circle.
(for Hokawa)

 

588. The ghost of a flower
Sent the sangha scattering.
Each one
Scratching in the dust for a petal.

 

589. You know what's coming
And how.
Yet in the end
Shadows in the courtyard.

 

590. In his one robe
Old Risu sits alone.
When you approach
The moonlight spills from his eyes.

 

591. Bowing when you dropped the anchor,
That was a sight.
What comes next
Can never be accomplished.

 

592. That old cat of Nansen's
Jumped back into the bag
When so many were frightened by his shadow.
No need to tie it off.

 

593. You all jump up
When the bell rings
But where are you going?
At noon it's still dark out.

 

594. Have you ever seen old Risu?
Too fast, too slow,
Uh oh!
If not, what do you see?

 

595. A student asked, "what is the Way?"
Risu replied, "Duck Zen is popular."
"No such thing," said the student.
"Just so," chuckled Risu.

 

596. Master Yunmen's dry turd
Really sticks in his throat.
When it hits bottom
All hell breaks loose.

 




597. The unknow cancels out why.
So what are you doing here,
A stones throw away
From the night sky?

 

598. Traveling from place to place.
After all where am I?
So busy chasing shadows
I forget to grasp the moonbeams.

 

599. My words are always detached
The moment they exit my mouth.
Funny I never noticed before.
Cut off the tounge and the head still screams.

 

600. Master came by carrying an urn.
His student pointed to it and said, "Buddha!"
"Buddha!"
Master smiled and replied, "wrong Buddha."

 

601. One monk went uphill.
One monk went downhill.
Meeting in the middle
They tripped on their tounges.

 

602. Nothing to be said
While sipping tea.
The hour is late
And your head nods in sleep.

 

603. Dust clouds on the road at sunset;
Even handed, moon-faced,
His mouth firmly shut
Old Risu takes a vacation.

 

604. Nirvana cannot speak
So don't try to speak to it.
When the tide comes in
Make the most of it.

 

605. I cannot swim in the wind,
So I walk straight ahead,
Head held under my arm,
The better to see the ground.

 

606. Seeing the mountains
Is not seeing the mountains.
When the moon comes up
The clouds break their silence.

 

607. No rice on the stove.
Enough already!
Passed on to the outhouse
Where does it go then?

 

608. What is your name
When your mind is gone?
Tell me, who is that,
Hiding like a robber?

 

609. Ummon's golden wind
My foot.
Speak of it if you will
Just don't choke on the decaying leaves.

 

610. My Autumn
Runs in fits and starts.
A cool breeze
But I still need to eat and drink.

 

611. Escaping from the four corners of the world
Old Risu never walked a step.
He may not know the time
But he knows what he's about.

 

612. Strike a tree-
You get leaves on your head.
Strike a student
And who feels it?

 

613. Enlightened mind sits under a rock
At the bottom of a frozen lake.
Your rubber hammer
Will never get you there.

 

614. Passive or active
I can say something or nothing.
In the middle
The fish are frying.

 

615. If old Risu winked at the moon
Should you laugh or cry?
Mountain or molehill
This is really the end.

 

616. Swallowing the go piece
Risu ended the game.
When it comes out again
What color will it be?

 

617. Landmarks point the way
But go nowhere.
In a very long time
You might perceive the echo.

 

618. When the dead just sit
Their stench slays many.
Nothing disturbs them
As they do their grisly deeds.

 

619. The toilet paper Buddha
Was a blessing.
A very good thing
Tozan didn't use it up.

 

620. Great faith lept out of the rice bowl
And down old Risu's throat.
Unable to dislodge it
He glowed in the dark.

 

621. Risu's bitter karma tea
Was difficult to swallow.
All others may be enlightened
Yet he just sits drinking tea.

 

622. A breath of pine
Made the day complete.
With a great flapping of robes
Risu danced in the roadway.

 

623. Flawless snow
Driven by the wind
Lands on my head
And melts in disappointment.

 

624. Yes! Yes! Yes!
No! No! No!
The old priest
Is perfectly alright.

 

625. When the old Master forgot everything
His students were concerned.
Raising an eyebrow in their direction
They all ran away.

 

626. Old Risu's head
Was always transparent.
Moonlight passed right through
Into the garden.

 

627. In another kalpa or two
You may become as
Disheveled and horrid
As your old Sensei.
(for Hokawa)

 

628. If it is true
That the universe is a grain of rice,
Do you wash it first
Or eat it as it is?

 

629. Always at the ready
Old Risu slept all day.
Coming out at night
Just so.

 

630. Analyze THIS
And you are alive again.
How foolish can you be
When death calls.

 

631. The moon never sets
And the horizon never ends
If you throw everything away
And keep walking.

 

632. When the duck flew north
He knew his way.
When the duck flew south
He knew his way.

 

633. If you make tea
Make mind tea.
In that way
The tang is ever sublime.

 

634. Mayfly in the winds,
Too many thoughts of life.
Flying farther from your birth.
No time to die.

 

635. The gate lies open,
Rain on one side,
Night on the other.
The road goes straight both ways.

 

636. No thought, by wire,
Found and foundling.
One switch.
Moon comes on.

 

637. One joyous shout.
People pointing with laughter.
Mind to mind.
Snow for brains.

 

638. Purple rain.
Robes heavy, swish, swish.
Spirit of Autumn.
Holding one heart.

 

639. In the Autumn stillness,
Under rain clouds,
Old Risu sits
Illumined by lightning.

 

640. Perfect evenning.
Red sunset.
Green leaves.
Quiet lake.

 

641. One thing or another
Something has to happen.
For a long time
Bandit at the crossroads.

 

642. Late Autumn sky
Knows my mind.
It keeps its opinions
To itself.

 

643. Only one temple.
Only one priest.
Perfectly in harmony.
Thunder under the eaves.

 

644. Setting sail or swimming
The ocean's vastness
Is the same.
Flying before the moon.

 

645. Waves,
Blue, gray, green.
White sea foam
Lands on the far shore.

 

646. A lone swallow
In the maple tree
Leaps from the branch
Into the moonlight.
(on Dokyo Chozen's passing)

 

647. I must be getting senile.
My first student a priest.
How did that happen?
Rice and tea matters.
(for Hokawa)

 

648. Not so fast!
Shaking my rake at the leaves.
How can I disturb them?
They've done nothing to disturb me.

 

649. Auspiscious day.
One, one,one.
Buddha must be smiling.
Rice and pickles.
(1/1/01 New Year's Day)

 

650. Ciccada songs flowering
As twilight steals across the sky.
Chores interupted
To follow their chanting.

 

651. Someday
May you sit here under the temple eaves,
To watch our Autumn,
While I brew green tea.
(for Hokawa)

 

652. One moonless night
Autumn knocks on the door.
Please answer
It may not come again.

 

653. New Years Day.
What a mess!
All coming to a head.
Slack jawed student
Crack!

 

654. Dusting the butsudan.
Smell of incense
In the wood.
Fond memories.

 

655. Raindrops on the window,
Dharma conclave,
Speaking louder
Than my thoughts.

 

656. The sound of Autumn
As I sit
Becomes clearer each day.
Early evening January.

 

657. Snowflakes drift past
As I prepare your vows.
I too froze
At one with each snowflake.
(for Hokawa)

 

658. Another new year.
Where is it headed?
This old temple
What would it say?

 

659. Fading from the world
Step by step.
Clouds cover my path
And keep me company.

 

660. All this night
Spring rain in Autumn.
Cloud moon
Smiling.

 

661. Such serenity
As the Winter storm
Duels overhead
Sounding like the ocean.

 

662. Cloud mind wakes
As the moon rises.
What vacancy
Will I scoot into next?

 

663. Making tea
Taking in the pink sunset.
Another year gone
And still it is amazing.

 

664. This small temple
Passes the Winter
In warm silence.
Unless its priest is about.

 

665. Myself itself
Has gone missing this Autumn.
Somewhere in the mists
It cries out in vain.

 

(On Seizei is Utterly Destitute)
666. When the monkeys came for tea
The mirror showed their end.
When the fist fight comes
Nothing else to do.

 

667. The Patriarch's moon
Dared to show its face.
Round and round the temple
Dancing leaves.

 

668. Lotus petals
Flown east and south.
Such new growth
In mid-Winter.

 

669. Unending Autumn
Each day when I rise.
I pray that others
May see it as I do.

 

670. The moon
Seemed to settle
On old Risu's head
As he stood on the horizon.

 

671. Here at home
I contend with the Thousand Swallows,
The weather,
And myself.

 

672. The old mountains
Or old Risu
Which is older?
Who can say?

 

673. With death
Not waiting at the door
I can start to finish
What I have started.

 

674. A mu dance
Every day of the year.
I wonder
If anyone will notice.

 

675. Here sits old Risu
Already dead
And waiting for death.
Teapot boiling.

 

676. Up and down
The mountain that is no mountain.
Time to make tea
Just in case....

 

677. The alarm goes off.
Already too late.
What you are today
You have always been.

 

678. This years crop of serpents
Thicker than bamboo groves
Crowd the doorway
Afraid to hear the morning bell.

 

679. Bringing in the new year.
Who took out the old?
Life and death there
And limitless time to ....

 

680. Life and death
Crowd the temple to bursting.
What a way to go.
Daylight/moonlight.

 

681. Nut brown.
Old Risu brown.
What you eat
Body and mind.

 

682. Mu to you.
Mu to me.
Mu to mu.
Earthquake, tidal wave.

 

683. Why don't you get lost?
Then when you come back
Leave yourself behind.
Morning fog rolls away.

 

684. When the light goes out
What will you be?
When the moon rises
Where will you be?

 

685. Don't be blinded
By your own light.
Carry it in a bag.
Don't lose it, don't gaze at it.

 

686. The unseen breeze
Cannot be grasped.
When you travel far
See what should be seen.

 

687. Don't jump in the bath with me.
Get your own tub.
When the water is hot
Then your dirt will vanish.

 

688. What is it?
Mu in an empty barrel.
When it rolls downhill
Will you catch it?

 

689. Words bound into sentences
Hung you from the temple rafters.
When you come down
Learn to untie knots.

 

690. Now that you are lost in the dark
All the gates are open.
Hurry
As the sun and moon rise.

 

691. Master Dokyo Chozen knew nothing.
He passed on nothing.
Which ultimatly did not produce me.
Drink a cup of tea Dharma.

 

692. Master Dokyo Chozen
Used to teach smiling Dharma.
Drink a cup of tea Dharma
Brings me back to him.

 

693. No cheating my teacher in his own house.
So now I cheat myself.
Drink a cup of tea Dharma;
Three lumps please.

 

694. If you have a cup of tea
And I have a cup of tea
What have we done?
For me nothing special.
How about you?

 

695. What a sad sight
Weeds in your teapot.
Thank you but
I'll finish my own rice instead.

 

696. If you want to go
Where all the Buddhas came from;
No way.
Creep, creep, creep.

 

697. "Where is the living Patriarch,"
Shouted the student.
"Under your foot,"
Said old Risu tossing orange peels.

 

698. Some one asked old Risu,
"What time is it?"
He replied, "windy day.
Hail strikes the bamboo."

 

699. Someone asked,
"What sort of Dharma do you teach sensei?"
Old Risu said quietly,
""Drink a cup of tea."

 

700. Master Dokyo Chozen asked,
"Tell me about this."
His student replied,
"The rice is overcooked."

 

702. Shakyamuni's body
North, South, East, West.
What is it
When it is up and down?

 

703. When someone visits
Old Risu always knows them.
Speaking of old women
What would you say?

 

704. Only one vehicle
Goes from here to there
And back again.
One ox cart

 

705. The naked tree
Told me a good story.
So terribly funny
I laughed to death.

 

706. Clearing the courtyard
With a single laugh
Old Risu fell down.
A student asked,
"What is the matter?"
"Exactly," said the sensei.

 

707. "What is the meaning of
Bodhidharma's coming from the West?"
Old Risu replied,
Stop looking at me like that!"

 

708. A student once said,
"I don't understand."
Old Risu winked and said,
"Frog in the flour bin."

 

709. Before you take a rest
Unpack your chest.
"What does that mean," asked a student?
Old Risu replied, "you wouldn't understand."

 

710. A new student asked old Risu,
"Tell me what to do next."
The sensei said,
"Join the frog in the flour bin."

 

711. Someone asked,
"Is there a Bodhisattva around here?"
Old Risu held a finger to his lips,
"Quiet! You'll wake yourself."

 

712. "What is this?
What is that.
All day long I hear you say.
What about night?"

 

713. "What happened when Shakyamuni
Stopped speaking?
Old Risu scratched his head and said,
"Plates fell off the shelf and broke."

 

714. Each Dharma is a turtle.
Inside or out,
Turtle, turtle!
Mu turtle.

 

715. Waves never strike a Bodhisattva.
Tell me about it.
You're all wet
If you go to the beach.

 

716. Full of rice and tea.
Now what do you do?
Weeds in the treasury
Geese in the courtyard.

 

717. Old Risu said
Pointing to the manure cart,
"That crap smells like a lotus."
No one could see the enlightened flies.

 

718. The old monkeys were strangled
By a boiling tea kettle.
By the direct route
It took them by surprise.

 

719. If a lion appears
On a lily pad
What is going on?
Frog's day off.

 

720. With a tombstone
Tucked under his arm
Master Dokyo Chozen
Never failed to do his laundry.

 

721. If you really want enlightenment
Go in the door marked 'outhouse.'
You meet the
Best kind of people in there.

 

722. If you find it
Don't tell me.
You can sit, or leave,
Have tea, or fill in the old outhouse.

 

723. Twenty-four hours a day
Washboard mind.
Hold it to your ear
And hear the lion's roar.

 

724. If you fail
To grab the Buddha's tail
Don't worry
He doesn't have one.

 

725. Monkeys who can juggle
Are entertaining
But my stout broom
Keeps them out of my hair.

 

Shaku Egan thanks for the note and the encouragement. No, I never have thought of printing my work, outside of the website anyway. If anyone ever wanted to publish them I might consider it. Yet is not really why I write. That is totally just for the bit of happiness and light the poems may bring to those who read them is more than enough for me.

Enjoy and be well;
Tasogare Shinju




Hello all;
It has been awhile. Lots to do and too little time to blame I am afraid. Now on a weeks vacation I am playing catch-up all the way around. I hope a few small verses might lighten the load laid on everyone by the events of the past few weeks.


726. Winter is here,
Snow and ice,
Yet Autumn reigns resplendant.
Tea kettle weather.


727. If Buddha gave you a cup
Of honey you would eat it.
Why then do you
Throw Buddha in the trash?


728. Strike the bell
And shatter worlds.
Get out the broom
And clean up the mess.


727b. Since you are blind, deaf, and dumb,
Kicking you is all that's left.
When a pig walks into the slaughterhouse
He should know what's coming.


728b. You don't know the way home
So here you are,
Bowl in hand,
Riceless as usual.


729. Show me a bowl of slop
The students are here.
Show me a clean, empty rice bowl,
The Master licks his fingers.


730. "A pile of dead frogs is
Out in the courtyard,"
Screamed old Risu.
The students ran outside.
"See, I told you so," he said to himself.


731. If an old frog
Faces the wall for thirty years
Then what?
He just gets older still.


732. Master Dokyo Chozen asked,
"How hungry are you?"
"Enough to eat all the rice
Topped with all the dead Buddhas,"
Answered old Risu.


733. "How can I go straight
And still speak to you?
Look now, see, see,
Too many Summers.
Not enough Autumns."


734. "Don't tell me 'Buddha',
Show me this," said old Risu,
Shaking his fist at his students.
Then opening his pal,
Turning he walked away.


735. If I ask you
What time it is;
Already gone.
What time is it?


736. "Your Buddha eye
Is in the frying pan.
Now what do you do?",
Old Risu answered for his students,
"Add the rice and vegetables."


737. One gain, one loss.
If you have a cat
Then what?


738. Purity or impurity,
Which fills the cup more completely?
If you have a vison
Get over it.

739. The monkey hangs
By his tail from a tree branch.
How long
Will you hang beside him?




739. The monkey hangs
By his tail from a tree branch.
How long
Will you hang beside him?


740. The Lamp Buddha
Must be very enlightened.
One wonders
What the dust Buddha is up to?


741. If you don't retreat
Or advance, where are you?
The butterfly
Has left the cacoon.


742. Don't ask your teacher
To tie your shoes for you.
Old Risu's joints say,
"Crack! Crack!"


743. If your cat gets dusty
What do you see?
Do what he says
Or go to hell.


744. You sweep the dust
From the floor just fine.
Why then
Don't you blow your nose?


745. When everything is in front of you
What do you see?
Don't tell me!
Go away! Do you see?


746. Monju stands for principal.
Fugen stands for practice.
Kannon stands for compassion.
Jizo stands for children.
Who is it that sits down?


747. Sky is below
Earth is above.
Both correct and both wrong.
rotten apples.


748. Monkey see.
Monkey drink.
Rice swells up.
Monkey explodes.


749. The toad shakes with his croaking
But inwardly he is still.
When a Dharma fly flies by
Eat like the croaker.


750. When you look behind yourself
What do you see?
When you arrived here
Did it look the same?


Enjoy and be well in mind and body.

Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju

 




776. You like bird's nest soup.
I like sushi and rice.
Who can say
Which old fool
Can even find the door.

 

777. How wonderful
The cushions are all occupied.
Yet with who or what
I will not venture to say.

 

778. The crest of the wave
Canot touch the wind
Anynore than
I can hold my thoughts in my hand.

 

779. The monkey leaps from branch to branch
But does he know?
In the end
His tail is showing.

 

780. The frog
With my face
Goes splash, splash, splash
A lot.

 

781. If you pass me on the forest path
You may think you see me
But you don't.
Leaves whistle in the wind.

 

782.If a soundless sound
Crossed the face of the moon
You would have no more
Than you have now.

 

783. Vanishing far away
My thoughts of thoughts,
Someplace,
With yesterdays wind.

 

784. My day starts anew.
Last glimpse of moon
Between the blinds.
Rising I stretch and yawn.

 

785. The old pond
Remebers me well,
Showing my face,
Changing each day.

 

786. When the fish swam away
From my wading feet,
A glimmer,
Of something.

 

787. Snow on my shoulders.
Where was I
As an hour passed
Watching wrens?

 

788. New butterfly
On a green leaf
Says something
As I pass.

 

789. Mr. Toad sits on a stump
Dreaming of Spring
when the flies
rise to meet him.

 

790. On this night,
Too many stars to count,
Illumine
One lone garden Buddha.



791. Cold morning sky
Greets my smile
with indifference.
Wind blows stiffly.

 

792. Having never left,
My butterfly is napping,
Never hearing
Winter's call.

793. Just like that
The paths end.
time to sit
And listen to the rain.

 

794. Black branches
Against the moon,
Rattle,
In the wind of night.

 

795. No longer
An old black scarecrow.
What winter was that
Before the Autumn mind?

 

796. Dokyo Chozen,
Dragging one dead toad
By it's lips,
Passed this way.
( for Rev. Dokyo Chozen)

 

797. A glimpse of the tea kettle
And I am ready,
Before the water boils,
To swallow the moon.

 

798. Not a single raindrop
Crosses the threshold
Yet their voices
Fill my night.

 

799. On this moonless night
Black grass
And gray trees
Seemingly sleep.

 

800. Each October
I can see mortality
And life
As the leaves dance.

 

801. Buddha
Isn't tea.
But our lives
Are like that.

 

802. When the tea is ready
Everyone is a friend.
thank you
For your gift in death.

 

803. Like all wind's moods
I feel a vague loss
On a day
That is too still.

 

804. An intimate garden,
A touch of moon,
A breath of wind,
And a cup of tea.

 

805. Where are you,
When thr rain sweeps down
Through the bamboo grove,
In the evenning?

 

806. Having passed a place,
One cannot see it
As one saw it;
And so it goes.

 

807. Leaves think nothing at all.
Their peaceful death
A compliment
To eternal; Autumn.

 

808. All in all
Today just is.
Hopefully
Night will follow suit.

 

809. On my journey,
Wind follows,
And leads,
All seasons.

 

810. Living practice.
Practive living.
The sun comes up.
The moon follows.

 

811. I have begun to begin.
No longer a chore.
Rice in the field.
Tea in the cup.

 

812. Just the right amount of sleep,
Ah!
Silent snowfall.
Low clouds.

 

813. One cup of tea.
What was that?
When I wake up
Perhaps I can be as calm.

 

814. My teacher
Left no shadow.
Thank goodness
For that.

 

815. Beneath the snow air
Shiver with the grass stems.
So bright this night
With a white carpet.

 

816. I have just come in.
A cup of tea
For my mind's sake.
Just the right moment.

 

817. The upset tea kettle
Called my name.
But I told it
To shut up.

 

818. Owl in the night.
Know it all!
One thing left
And that is nothing.

 

Well that's it folks. Hope you have enjoyed.
Be well. Be happy. And don't be silent.

Lots of hugs and smiles;
T.S.

little frog





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January 2001

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Master Tasogare Shinju during a journey to a Temple

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