To save life, it must be destroyed.
When utterly destroyed, one dwells for the first time in peace.
Taking up one blade of grass,
Use it as a 16-foot Golden Buddha.
Heat does not wait for the sun, to be hot.
Nor wind the moon, to be cool.
If you do not kill him,
You will be killed by him.
To be conscious of the original mind, the original nature –
Just this is the great disease of Zen.
Like a sword the cuts, but cannot cut itself;
Like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself.
Perceiving the sun in the midst of the rain;
Ladling out clear water from the depths of the fire.
Ride your horse along the edge of a sword;
Hide yourself in the middle of the flames.
You cannot get it by taking thought;
You cannot seek it by not taking thought.
It is like a tiger, but with many horns;
Like a cow, but it has not tail.
Draw water, and you think the mountains are moving;
Raise the sail, and you think the cliffs are on the run.
The blue hills are of themselves blue hills;
The white clouds are of themselves white clouds.
In the landscape of Spring, there is neither high nor low;
The flowering branches grow naturally, some long, some short.
Alive, I will not receive the Heavenly Halls;
Dead, I fear no Hell.
He holds the handle of the hoe, but his hands are empty;
He rides astride the water-buffalo, but he is walking.
Entering the forest, he moves not the grass;
Entering the water, he makes not a ripple.
If you meet an enlightened man in the street,
Do not greet him with words, nor with silence.
Meeting, they laugh and laugh –
The forest grove, the many fallen leaves!
We sleep with legs both outstretched,
Free of the true, free of the false.
For long years, a bird in a cage,
Today, flying along with the clouds.
A thoughtful and relaxing ambient setting for Zen poetry. The best historical information I have is that Zenrin-kushū (禪林句集, meaning “Anthology of Passages from the Forests of Zen”) is a collection of writings used in the Rinzai school of Zen. Initially it was a compilation of Zen writings by Tōyō Eichō (東陽榮朝, 1428–1504) a disciple of Kanzan Egen of the Myōshin-ji line of Rinzai school in Kyoto, Japan.
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