Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Two Poems by Ryokan

Too lazy to be ambitious
I let the world take care of itself;
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace
why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

My life may appear melancholy,
But traveling through this world
I have entrusted myself to Heaven.
In my sack, three quarts of rice;
By the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
If someone asks what is the mark of
enlightenment or illusion
I cannot say - wealth and honor are nothing but dust.
As the evening rain falls I sit in my hermitage
And stretch out both feet in answer.

( tr. John Stevens)


  1. Love these! Thanks for posting them!

  2. H, Justin!

    Happy Birthday! Hope you and yours are well and have much peace and joy today and every day!


  3. OK I give up. How did you know it was my birthday?

  4. "OK I give up. How did you know it was my birthday?"