September 2, 2014

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Poetry

Meanings are universal, but expressions are parochial; and even within one language a single meaning can be expressed in a variety of ways. We are indeed fortunate that deep poetic thoughts are multi-leveled and that a translator, working with the nuances of his native language, may select from any of these levels or supply an interpretation that differs slightly from another translator's version.

In the spirit of Zen, we welcome different interpretations of the poems on our website.

Subcategories

  • Poems from our clergy

    Zen Sweeping

    by Fa Jie Shakya

    Published Aug 07, 2014

    Zen Sweeping

    From The Zen Gardner   Sweep, and you raise dust. In the light of the sun’s shine, It settles on it’s own. Read more

    Selected Poems by Fa Guang

    by Fa Guang Shakya

    Published Mar 12, 2009

    Origins The Mind knows beyond farhere a blooming weedout there a fading star   Sitting Through It Thoughts of my hometown...how many worlds are there,shimmering in and out of the mind?   Tao Lesson We hear the wind whisper in languages foreignAnd study one cloud through a hall of mirrors.Sights and sounds understood by none.No nouns, no... Read more

    Time to Clean the House

    by Fa Guang, OHY

    Published Mar 12, 2009

    So little time, so much to do.Sweep unpleasant thingsUnder the rug of Time.Divide seconds into smaller parts.But clocks have no room For smaller "parts."No time, just a continuum.A verse with no rhyme,Coming from nowhere, going nowhere.Yet here is where I am,And there is where I was,Or perhaps where I will be.And... Read more

    Chan Teachings of Hsu Yun

    by Fa Lian of Greece

    Published Jun 20, 2006

    Chan Teachings of Hsu Yun

    Power Point shows The Chan Teachings of Hsu Yun, part four The Chan Teachings of Hsu Yun, part five Read more

    The Meanderer: the Woman and the Little Mirrors

    by Fa Lian Shakya of Greece

    Published Apr 11, 2005

    The Meanderer: the Woman and the Little Mirrors

     The Meanderer: the Woman and the Little Mirrors Read more

    Just Sitting - Black Mountain

    by Fa Lian Shakya of Greece

    Published Mar 15, 2005

    Just Sitting - Black Mountain

    Sitting on top of the waxen rock mountain - Looking nowhere, looking everywhere, Seeking rebirth. I'll know the place when I see it Even if clouds are hiding it most of the time. Life is like a dream in a dream and nightmare too ... The only Way... Read more

    Next Movement

    by Fa Lian Shakya of Greece

    Published Aug 24, 2003

    Next Movement

    Sitting in the dark Sitting on top of the stairs The little child is looking nowhere, Looking everywhere - Getting strength for the goal to overcome The dark with the light within. Time was slow and heavy was it future or past When waiting in the present? The scenery... Read more

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  • Poems from our readers and members
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    The Christmas of 2008

    by Paul B.

    Published Dec 16, 2008

    It is a special time of year: We give thanks for everything we have,And we give thanks for everything we don't.We remember everything we need,And we forget everything we don't.We ask for nothing,We give everything.We look deeply and see man's true nature,And now we know why:For it is in this season... Read more

    Passing

    by Paul B.

    Published Oct 10, 2008

    I STAND IN ABSOLUTE SILENCE AND LOOK TO THE WESTTHE MIGHTY MOHAWK RUNS WITH A FORCE LIKE LIFE ITSELFI LOOK AS FAR AS I CAN SEE UNTIL THE RIVER DISAPPEARSAND WHILE I CANNOT SEE IT ANY MORE I KNOW IN MY HEART IT RUNS WITH THE SAME MIGHTY FORCEMY BARE... Read more

    Sunset

    by Fa Jian

    Published Oct 24, 2007

    Spending valuable time aloneFacing West, sitting comfortablyIn the evening on the porchAnd watching the sun go down Being in the lovely companySurrounded by furry friendsWho are watching with meAnd experiencing the sun go down Tasting of some good wineEnjoying nature's tranquilityBeing at peace with everythingAnd being one with the sun going down. Read more

    I Only Journey this Path Once

    by Fa Jian

    Published Oct 23, 2007

    Some people cross our life for a season,because it is time to share, grow and learn.They bring experience of peace and joy.They say or teach something new and enriching, even if not felt right awayIt is real, but only for a season. Long relations teach lifetime lessons:Wisdom and maturity must be... Read more

    Progression of Sitting

    by Fa Liang

    Published Oct 23, 2007

    The phone ringsand I sit The dog barksand I sit I remember deadlinesappointmentspast due noticesobligationsdeclined invitationsand I sit I feel angersadnessfearjoyapathyecstasyand still I sit The wind blowsthe flower bloomsthe rain fallsand I sit I know nothingI am nothingand yet,I am everything and I sit. Read more

    Conquering Evil

    by Fa Jian

    Published Oct 10, 2007

    Evil seeks its victim among the weak.A robber does not attack a fortress.A thief does not steal when watched.A liar does not slander the truth well known. Offer robbery a strong fortress that cannot be conquered;Give thievery a watching eye that cannot be escaped;Make the truth well known that cannot be... Read more

    Painting Buddha

    by Pawel Kowalik

    Published Feb 06, 2006

    Deep, crystal abyss brightened by a light is a million doors from the other side, but here are none. No questions asked. Liberated from myself, all of what is left of me floats across eternity, And Rocked by the Waves Of the Universal Rythm Drifts Away Into A New Existence. Read more

    Summer Rain

    by Fa Che

    Published Jul 13, 2005

    It would seem that once the leavesfall from the tree, lay upon the ground,and become covered by rain,that this would be enough. One leaf in particular turning orangeand brown, with small holes in it,drifted down onto the placeof meditation in the woods. No longer does the practicefill the wooded hillsideand no longer... Read more

    Or not . . .

    by G. Lucas

    Published Jun 13, 2005

    I once was a dreamer, lost in the waves of the ocean which battered me, and threw me around, here, there, everywhere. Somewhere in this dream, by an act of grace, or not, I began to wake up. And then I realized something utterly profound, or not. There was no dreamer... Read more

    Night on the Great River

    by Fa Xin Shakya

    Published Jun 07, 2004

    Night on the Great River

    After a Zen poem by Meng Hao-Ren photo by Yao Feng of Corinth   When you were buying ripe cherimoyas from a man on a donkey, in Nerja, it was still the middle of the night here. I would awaken, unable to breathe - not for lack of air,... Read more

    Haiku by Jerry Earley

    by Jerry Earley

    Published Jun 23, 2003

    Hummingbirds hoveras bumblebees give teachingto happy Ch'an monks - Jerry Earley, 2003               Read more

    Haiku by Zheng Hui

    by Zheng Hui

    Published Jun 16, 2003

    Chipmunk Road Eleven chipmunksGreeted me as I walked byIn my hiking shoes! Time and tide will waitWhen I am walking softlyOn a quiet road. - Zheng Hui, 2003         Read more

    on a New York line

    by Yao Feng of Tasmania

    Published Sep 25, 2002

    A haiku written about an Australian firefighter to his twin brother in one of the World Trade Center towers. on a New York linesaying last goodbyesto a recorded message Read more

    Poems by Yin Ming Shakya

    by Yin Ming Shakya

    Published Jul 11, 2002

    Sesshin Snapshots Early morning hush, candles flicker Lights glint from Buddha figures and Pictures of ancestors Incense smoke curls In currents and eddies Subtly coloring the air As we prepare to meet ourselves In the silence of shared breath At dawn The nightingale sings A chorus of flowers... Read more

    Rain's grace

    by Petko (of Bulgaria)

    Published Apr 22, 2002

    The rain falls gracefully.Countless drops, separated,but together.I am on my way! The bubbles emergeand disappear on the surfaceof the puddles. Read more

    From Duality to Unity

    by Yao Feng (of the Tropics)

    Published Apr 08, 2002

    In the stillness and silence of what I call my place,I thought I was alone. So, I sang, and I danced, and I talked...I thought I was alone. Then I laughed, and I cried, and I prayed, and I implored...I thought I was alone. Then, I realized,... Read more

    Opposite End

    by Fa Hu

    Published Sep 18, 2001

    As a little girlI'd go to the parkwearing hand-me-downs and hope.I'd run to the see sawsbut there was no one to lift no one to share it withno friend for the opposite end. I'd stroll to the swingssway back and forthonly daring to wishfor just one friendonly onejust someone for... Read more

    A Poem

    by Yao Feng of Tasmania

    Published Jun 13, 2001

    The view from my house in the Mount Wellington Range, Hobart, Tasmania   The walls of cool mist,dance with the morning sun.Far off the birds sing and call,riding the early morning breeze.Soon the mountains are crisp and clearin the newness of dawn.All thoughts of this world, vanish in nature's breast. All is one with... Read more

    Haiku by Chuan Kong Shakya

    by Chuan Kong Shakya

    Published Jun 13, 2000

    Even emptinessEmpties itself inside out;Our cups overflow! Withering flowersDie and live, live and die, ah;Seamless unfolding..... Looking deeper stillWithin; the ancient mirror,Gone, suddenly gone. Now this new bright faceShines in the emptiness;Thus! All is so clear. Reverence for lifeAnd the Bodhisattva vow -Oh these mosquitoes. No longer needed;An old abandoned raftSimply drifts away. Dripping ambrosia,Iridescent humming... Read more

    Vision of Dusk

    by Fa Xin

    Published Apr 10, 2000

    One morning born of anger, autumn frost is melted by heated hearts.My heart burns for indifferent days,when the sun set with no worries.A time where the starry midnight meetingknew not of dreams this gloomy or dark. Cut thru this greyscale vision of duskAnd bloom learning with eyes of change.This pessimist tongue that... Read more

    More Poems by Fa Ming

    by Fa Ming Shakya

    Published Jun 16, 1999

    Don't strive after anything. Don't seek to attain. The True Mind is there already. By letting go, relinquish the need to make Distinctions, Discriminations,Separations. When separations vanish Buddha-nature is known directly. Just ... Read more

    The Mask

    by Fa Ming (of the Garden State)

    Published Jun 14, 1999

    (writen in resonse to a friend) The mask is placed upon the face,yet envelopes all of me.For, with no disguise, how would your eyeshandle what they see? I am yesterday, tomorrow, today,I am all that will ever exist...the tears you fear, the noise you hear,a long awaited kiss. For you, I bend; to... Read more

    Poems by Yao Feng

    by Yao Feng (of the Islands)

    Published Mar 08, 1999

      Swallows Across the threshold of a late afternoonautumn light, a serpentine river of swallows,suspended by angels, swims over our heads,inviting us to cross the veil... Read more

    Poems by Yin Zhao Shakya

    by Yin Zhao Shakya

    Published Jun 08, 1998

    Placing the ego in my palmsA smile appears When I gaze between the eyesI become the moon When I stare at the heartbliss fills the body When hisssss tingles the throatI jump into the void When pleasure touches the lapMy hands dance with the rhythm When light fills the headI disappear Read more

    Poems by e.j.

    by e. j.

    Published Apr 07, 1998

    Clouds drifting bywrite all that need be saidWhite ink dissolving into blue paperReappeared as sunset rose Fall leaves and rainAgain remind me of this year's passing. Evening swallows turn as oneSky fish bound for a rendevous with nightOne, caught, flutters withinCarrying my heart in magical flight Floating before usBlack waves upon the breezeSwerve... Read more

    Nothing to gain

    by Than Nguyen

    Published Aug 28, 1997

    Nothing there to gain.Nothing there to lose.No center nor vastness.Accepting existence and non existenceIs the same as harmonizing within and without;The same as rejecting no evilness and no goodness.Leaving behind the terminology, one enters the true-self.Where is the universe?What is there to say? Read more

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  • Poetry of Hsu Yun

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series V

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Jun 16, 2009

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series V

    On Novices being robed for the first time. The Buddha grieves that we must face such hardship.He's so lovingly concerned for people like us. Don't let pretty flowers dazzle your young eyes.An empty room can't get dustyAnd even the lucky favorite is pursued by death. So don't be too arrogant or impatient,Take your... Read more

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series IV

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Jun 16, 2009

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series IV

    Returning to Mount Gu Meeting with Master Gu Yue (Master Ancient Moon) For thirty years I've traveled. At last I return to this village.One bamboo walking stick and I'm back to old Spring days spent here. As cold smoke encases fine mistSparse stands of bamboo surround this ethereal mystic. Suddenly things are strange... Read more

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series III

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Jun 16, 2009

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series III

    A Time of Regulation What luck! The chance to practice the Supreme Dharma of EmptinessWithout fear of being invaded by the foolish affairs of outside life! Set the time of sitting! Make it just as long as it takes one fragrant incense stick to burn down.In that time we can thread the... Read more

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series II

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Jun 16, 2009

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series II

    Chant of the Heart's Impression This is an exquisite truth:Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start. Eventually there's a difference between them.You don't borrow string when you've got a good strong rope. Every Dharma is known in the heart.After the rain, the mountain color intensifies. Once you become familiar with the... Read more

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series I

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Jun 16, 2009

    Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series I

    Meeting Tang Yousheng Twenty-one years old and from my village, yet!So bright and filled with fresh ideas.No wonder you gained such a high post in Tenchong.I seemed ancient when I came to Chan. We simmered tea and talked and talkedComing up with one great line after another.We hung up a lamp and... Read more

    Oxherding Poems by Hsu Yun

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Mar 13, 2009

    Oxherding Poems by Hsu Yun

    Illustrations by Fa Lian Shakya - Greece 1. Pushing Aside the Grass to Look for the Ox Wanting to break through to Emptiness with my white cudgelI cried out louder than the bellowing Ox, mooing through my senses.I followed mountain and stream searching for the Ox, seeking it everywhere.But I couldn't tell... Read more

    Spring Rain

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Mar 09, 2009

    Spring Rain

    Translated to Pinyin (from the English translation) by Fa Xian     Read more

    Searching For The Dharma

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Mar 05, 2009

    Searching For The Dharma

    With translations in many languages   You've traveled up ten thousand steps in search of the Dharma.So many long days in the archives, copying, copying.The gravity of the Tang and the profundity of the Sung make heavy baggage.Here! I've picked you a bunch of wildflowers.Their meaning is the samebut they're much easier... Read more

    An Exquisite Truth

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Mar 05, 2009

    An Exquisite Truth

    With translations in many languages This is an exquisite truth:Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.Inquiring about a differenceIs like asking to borrow string when you've got a good strong rope.Every Dharma is known in the heart.After a rain, the mountain colors intensify.Once you become familiar with the... Read more

    Going Beyond Desire

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Mar 05, 2009

    Going Beyond Desire

    With translations in many languages Striving to leave the wildernessYou become part of what's wild.Striving to cease graspingIs, itself, grasping.So how do you gain control and get beyond desire?Open those eyes... the ones that were born in your own skull.       Vuot qua moi uoc vong Dich Thuat Thanh Nguyen Sobrepasa el... Read more

    Heart Of The Buddha

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Feb 23, 2009

    Heart Of The Buddha

    With translations in many languages   No need to chase back and forth like the waves. The same water which ebbs is the same water that flows. No point turning back to get water When it's flowing around you in all directions The heart of the Buddha and the people of the world... Where is there any... Read more

    The Barking Dog

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Feb 23, 2009

    The Barking Dog

    With Translations is many languages   We went up across the ridge for the fun of it.Didn't need to pack any more wine.On the precipice, flowers opened, smiling.By the river, willows grew bright.In the drizzling rain the village smoke congealed, concealed.The wind was slight and the grass was cool.There in the woods'... Read more

    Bitter Rain

    by Master Hsu Yun

    Published Feb 23, 2009

    Bitter Rain

    With translations in many languages   Bitter rain soaks the pile of kindling twigs.The night so cold and still the lamp flame hardly moves.Clouds condense and drench our stone walled hut.Broken rushes clog the reed gate's way.The stream gurgles, a torrent in its bed.That's all we hear. Only rarely, comes a human... Read more

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  • Special selections

    A Single Thought

    by Peadar Graham

    Published Mar 21, 2014

    A single thought ...You notice it, you embellish it,It becomes a story, lost in it now,It’s an epic. Feature film length,2 minutes later, you can’t even remember it!! The power of nonsense is hypnotic,Full of wonder, intrigue, paranoia..Thoughts feeding of each other,Jumping, spinning, like sparks from a grinders wheel, When the... Read more

    Poetry Selections: Emily Dickinson

    by Emily Dickinson

    Published Jan 09, 2014

    Exultation is the going of an inland soul to the sea Past houses – past headlands– Into deep Eternity. ‘Tis little I – could care for pearls Who own the ample sea – Of Periods of seas – Unvisited of Shores Themselves the Verge... Read more

    Song of the Passionate Lover

    by a Yokut Native American

    Published Dec 29, 2013

    A poem from the Yokut Native American tribe residing in the Central Valley of California Come not near my songs,You who are not my lover,Lest from out that ambushLeaps my heart upon you! When my songs are glowingAs an almond thicketWith the bloom upon it,Lies my heart in ambushAll amid my singing;Come... Read more

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