Monday, March 04, 2024

In Place 45


Food and drink, free for the labor,
are the proper business
of humans; she strives to make
gratitude her main possession

She grows more vegetables than she needs and puts herself in a position to give some away, thus paying her debt of gratitude.

The Buddhist path itself is understood as something that brings gratitude and joy.
-- Paula Arai, Women Living Zen 151

Sunday, March 03, 2024

In Place 44


Plant vegetables; this provides
exercise and sharpens observation
as well as making food and tea
available to you and others

We cultivate ourselves indoors and we cultivate ourselves outdoors, hoe in hand.

A couple of beds inside the fence, of kale, chard and potatoes mostly, keep the old woman busy in her tiny kitchen. As she waters the garden, small birds dart through the spray to catch a drop.

We empty our minds in the hall for creating buddhas, where some naturally open their flower of awakening in this monastic garden in the hills.
-- Hongzhi, quoted by Dogen in Eihei Koroku, 250 (tr. Leighton and Okamura)

Saturday, March 02, 2024

In Place 43


Inspired by her stairs,
the old woman undertakes
to clear more stream bed;
instant rock garden

Between the stones she has tucked comfrey, mint, and mosses. In drought, she waters the stones, hopefully keeping the “garden” alive till winter.

Plans and events seldom agree
Who can step back doesn't worry
We blossom and fade like flowers
We gather and part like clouds

—Shiwu (Stonehouse, tr. Red Pine)

Friday, March 01, 2024

In Place 42


In summer she, grunting, hauls
large stones from the dry wash
up to the hut to make steps
for those who keep to a path

Back by the stone bridge, mind returns.
Where now the things that troubled me?

— Han Shan (tr. Red Pine)


Thursday, February 29, 2024

In Place 41


Year round, here, she can make
yard tea; always something green:
fir needles, blackberry leaves, nettles --
easier in high summer

Hiding from the westering sun, she hangs shades from the eaves.

Yunyan was boiling some tea. Daowu asked who he was making it for. Yunyan answered, "nobody special."
-- Soto Zen Ancestors in China, Mitchell, 72.