AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

29 November 2016

Look.


One short pause between
The leaky road here and
The never-leaking Way there:
If it rains, let it rain!
If it storms, let it storm!

A Crazy Cloud, out in the open,
Blown about madly, as wild as they come!
Who knows where this cloud will go, where the wind will still?
The sun rises from the eastern sea, and shines over the land.

Forests and fields, rocks and weeds - my true companions.
The wild ways of the Crazy Cloud will never change.
People think I'm mad but I don't care:
If I'm a demon here on earth, there is no need to fear the hereafter.

Every day, priests minutely examine the Dharma
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and moon.

Monks these days study hard in order to turn
A fine phrase and win fame as talented poets.
At Crazy Cloud's hut there is no such talent, but he serves up the taste of truth
As he boils rice in a wobbly old cauldron.

Bliss and sorrow, love and hate, light and shadow, hot and cold, joy and anger, self and other.
The enjoyment of poetic beauty may well lead to hell.
But look what we find strewn all along our Path:
Plum blossoms and peach flowers!

Ten days in this temple and my mind is reeling!
Between my legs the red thread stretches and stretches.
If you come some other day and ask for me,
Better look in a fish stall, a sake shop, or a brothel.

Returning to the City from the Mountains

Crazy Cloud blown by who knows what wild wind.
In the mountains by day, in the city by night.
I shout katsu and wield the staff when I see fit,
Even Rinzai and Tokusan would be no match for me.

Ikkyu

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