buddhism

Ikkyu – A Fisherman

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Photo by flickr user Francesco Paroni Sterbini. Used under cc: All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Francesco Paroni Sterbini. Used under cc: All rights revert to originator.

A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

-Ikkyū, 15th c. Japan

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Ryōkan Taigu – Wild Roses

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Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.
Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.

Wild roses,
Plucked from fields
Full of croaking frogs:
Float them in  your wine
And enjoy every minute!

-Ryōkan Taigu, 18th c. Japan

A single drop of water

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Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator
Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator

甚生阿難三十年爲侍者、
祇爲多聞智慧被佛訶。
云、汝千日學慧、不如一日學道。
若不學道、滴水難消。

For thirty years the wise Ananda ministered to the Buddha’s personal needs;
but, because he was too fond of acquiring knowledge, the Buddha admonished him,
saying: ‘If you pursue knowledge for a thousand days that will avail you less than one day’s proper study of the Way.
If you do not study it, you will be unable to digest even a single drop of water!’

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China

That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha

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Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.

“The universal mind is no mind and is completely detached from form. Only study how to avoid seeking for or clinging to anything. If nothing is sought, the mind will remain in its unborn state. If nothing is clung to, the mind will not go through the process of destruction. That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha.”

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China

Good people shine from afar

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Photo by flickr user Thomas. cc: license. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Thomas. cc: license. All rights revert to originator.

“Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are concealed, like arrows shot by night. If a man by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of selfishness, will never be free from hatred. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!”

-The Dhammapada, XVII

What to do

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Hammer, by Flickr user Markus Wichmann; appearing here under Creative Commons license.
Hammer, by Flickr user Markus Wichmann; appearing here under Creative Commons license.

“Whenever you want to perform a bodily act, you should reflect on it: ‘This bodily act I want to perform — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful bodily act, with painful consequences, painful results?’ If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily act with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily act of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction… it would be a skillful bodily action with happy consequences, happy results, then any bodily act of that sort is fit for you to do.” MN 61

Dōgen on enlightenment

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Photo by flickr user Zach Dischner. All rights revert to originator. Creative Commons.
Photo by flickr user Zach Dischner. All rights revert to originator. Appears via Creative Commons public license.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
Although its light is wide and great,
The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky
Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.

-Dōgen, 12th c. Japan