Judgments bought me an urn of stone,
impermanence filled it with ashes.
From a ledge on the edge of this world
I poured out into the impersonal wind.
Shadows of clouds swept over the cliffs,
a lone flute’s sound fell into the void.
If you want to change, if you want to serve,
bow down at the feet of all you’ve slurred.
Crack open that cold rock jar and weep,
let your heart speak, let your tears be
solvent to that hard crust of pride,
revealing a love which can’t be
resisted and won’t be denied!
is what receives;
what receives, gives.
is a cunning thief.
A word to the wise:
have nothing to steal.
What care have I for others’ words,
judgments, or expectations?
There are so many ways this life can play,
it confounds the gods’ imagination!
In the morning I bathe in a clear cool stream.
The remains of the day — too full to say!
At night I rock amidst the stars,
a lover in the arms of the beloved.
Nothing is waiting to be affirmed,
yet nothing arises to be refused.
Free of distraction, I’m unbound
by all of those petty man-made rules.
Behold, I sport amidst the flashing forms
of light and shadow, sound and utter silence!
Yelp of a baby fresh from the womb,
heartbeat identical to the throb of infinity —
throughout all creation its secret remains
hidden, yet it is never out of view.
In realms of darkness it abides as light.
In realms of light it abides as darkness.
Primordial peace, ocean of grace, essence
inexhaustible – who can describe it?
When I offer these words to the fire, the smoke
will rise and wreath this sacred mountain,
just as this mountain now wreathes me.
For each and every one of us there is
a true way – no need to imitate anyone else.
The easy path for each goes in the same
direction one’s heart unswervingly follows –
what’s truly most appealing to us
requires no stress and strain at all!
Effort can obscure the way,
yet so can effort’s lack.
When in doubt, just walk on.
Nothing real can long be hidden.
If we ourselves are the destination,
why worry our minds about delays?
There is a string of lovely pearls
the adepts have called “life after life”.
Each one is a unique miracle, draped
like radiant suns around the throat
of a blissful Buddha, appearing
in the imaginatively creative
form of our own self.
Likewise, life after life,
our own perfect way
shines bright before us.
Each traveler journeys
at their own perfect speed,
neither hurrying nor tarrying.
Whatever way we go is right for us —
without the slightest deviation, each path
in time returns the one who walks it home.
Visions of luminous grandeur
that thrilled my heart today are now
fast consumed by tonight’s chilling mists.
Stinging airborne water curtains obscure
the once-bright stage, leaving this
cold-soaked audience of one
to soberly sit and ponder
the play of changes —
yet like a lunatic
I rock back and forth,
arms hugging my sides to
keep from freezing, unaccountable
laughter echoing through rock canyons
like a flock of partying peacocks, drunk and
calling, destined for a sober-less night of love.
Memories dissolve like cowering
mists pierced through and through by
Manjusri’s sword of morning sunlight.
Still, I am not naive enough to imagine
they won’t return to climb the spine
of my sentiment and linger here
at dusk, tenacious shades
I’ll bear to the cave of my heart,
there to be tenderly consigned to a fire
I’ve lit for them to disappear in once again.
Only then will the clarity of moonlight reveal
the hidden secret memory can’t bear:
I have no past, I never did –
this skull is a bowl
Every place is my favorite place
along this mountain stream.
When every place is perfect,
how can there be any regrets?
Wherever I am
is the right place to be –
what could be easier than that?
When I enter the stream,
I become the stream.
When I become the stream,
I forget the stream.
Water forgets itself in me.
I forget myself in water.
Water needn’t search for itself
when all there is, is water.
I’m not here to explain —
I’m here to praise.
Sometimes an explanation
can be a form of praise.
Just so, I offer
the following explanation:
there is nothing to explain.
There have been enough
explanations, not enough praise.
Our amazing feat of embodiment
needs no explanation.
The very act of appearing at all
is reason enough for praise!
Whatever can be gained
can also be lost.
Come spring, a thousand streams
cascade down sloping mountains.
In the fall, ten thousand trees
shed fading golden leaves.
After all, whichever way we turn,
what has been gained, what lost?
What do we long for most of all,
when autumn leaves begin to fall?
Like salty tears wept into the sea,
one dream melts into the next –
nothing remains hidden,
though nothing is revealed.
Awake in the dream, writing
in the air, I feed the wind
whatever still stings.
What clings is where
the real practice is, that is
if I honestly want the truth.
It won’t be found in the myths
of personal continuity, those stories
requiring an allegiance to phantoms,
as if to add some density to shadows,
all the while postponing, resisting
the presence waiting patiently
to reveal itself as the truth
nobody wants to hear.
Open your mouth
and try to say it,
see if your tongue
cause for anything,
all is one with its effect.
With each step a fresh wind rises
as I tread alone through dusk-pink sky,
every direction home, every path the way.
For untold years I’ve sung these songs
of moon and water, mist and snow,
yet if you ask me what I know,
I’ll laugh and walk away –
the moon is rising full tonight,
that’s all I’ll have to say.
Sitting at rest, both empty
and yet full, leaning gently back
against the slate cliff of this motherly
mountain, heart at peace in the Merciful,
I find myself all of a sudden smiling.
Within that smile is perched a wild bird
whose wings may contain the firmament,
an immensity within which all blooms,
blossoms, and inexorably returns.
Perhaps because I have been a dreamer,
and because I’m still asleep, I feel as if
I’m falling, falling into something else.
It’s something I have always been,
but along the way somehow forgot.
It is not a dream, nor is it any other
kind of life that I am falling into here.
Whatever it was that I once thought
I knew, how quickly it all fades away.
In the tender mercy of vanishing time,
what else can one do now but smile?
Imagine the ingenuity of mind,
reaching into itself to conjure up
some light with which to cast these
carnival masks and fleetingly familiar
shapes we playfully try on for fit, yet
behind each disguise is the waiting
surprise — there’s nobody there
but the air, Friends, there’s
nobody there but air.
A season of clouds and rain —
water beings emerge and dissolve,
while water in essence remains
itself, eternally the same.
Neither awake nor asleep,
water modifies itself as every
form with neither effort nor intent.
Devoid of any inherent distinction,
water flows, splashes, and divides,
yet persists at rest within its
own sufficient unity.
I am nothing but a jar of water —
once the container of time breaks open,
water will flood naturally back into itself.
Every water molecule will rejoice!