August 22, 2014

Daigu Ryokan: Zen Simplicity

Sitting at my table watching sunbeams track across the floor. Drinking a mug of steamy beverage and reading Daigu Ryokan's poetry.

The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away,
and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the way.

Ryokan lived from 1758-1831 and has been referred to as "The Zen/Monk poet of Japan" as well as "The Great Fool". As a young man he rebelled against going into business and politics like his father.

How can I possibly sleep 
This moonlit evening? 
Come, my friends, 
Let’s sing and dance 
All night long.

Ryokan became a Zen monk and eventually lived 20 years in a tiny, one-window forest hut surrounded by stands of bamboo. He drew his water from a nearby spring. He invited guests, but only if they "were not averse to solitude".

Don't say my hut has nothing of offer
come and I will share with you 
the cool breeze that fills my window.

Today I will let the light, the clouds, the wind and the butterflies guide me. There are no negative energies here. Only this moment.

There is a bamboo grove in front of my hut
Every day I see it a thousand times
yet never tire of it.


  1. He sounds like someone I would want to be chums with :)

  2. Well, that was a lovely breath of cool air! Frances.

  3. Inspiring poetry indeed. Beautiful photo too...



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