Friday, October 20, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Ryokan (1758 – 1831)


Soto Zen Buddhist monk who lived in Niigata, Japan, as a hermit and a poet.
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Ryokan
It's a pity, a gentleman in refined retirement composing poetry:
He models his work on the classic verse of China.
And his poems are elegant, full of fine phrases.
But if you don't write of things deep in your own heart,
What's the use of churning out so many words?
Ryokan quotes
Late at night, listening to the winter rain
Recalling my youth —
Was it only a dream? Was I really young once?
Ryokan
Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
When you know that my poems are not poems,
Then we can speak of poetry.




Ryokan quotes
The thief
left it behind.
The moon
at my window.
Ryokan
The village has disappeared in the evening mist
And the path is hard to follow.
Walking through the pines,
I return to my lonely hut.
Ryokan quotes
I have nothing to report, my friends.
If you want to find the meaning,
Stop chasing after so many things.
Ryokan
Cling to truth and it turns into falsehood. Understand falsehood and it turns into truth. Truth and falsehood are two sides of the same coin. Neither accept one nor reject the other.
Ryokan quotes
The water of the valley stream
Never shouts at the tainted world: “Purify yourself!”
But naturally, as it is,
Shows how it is done.
Ryokan
Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places?
Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own hearts.
Ryokan
When you encounter those who are wicked, unrighteous, foolish, dim-witted, deformed, vicious, chronically ill, lonely, unfortunate, or disabled, you should think: “How can I save them?” And even if there is nothing you can do, at least you must not indulge in feelings of arrogance, superiority, derision, scorn, or abhorrence, but should immediately manifest sympathy and compassion. If you fail to do so, you should feel ashamed and deeply reproach yourself: “How far I have strayed from the Way! How can I betray the old sages? I take these words as an admonition to myself.”
Ryokan
In the scenery of spring,
nothing is better, nothing worse;
The flowering branches are
of themselves, some short, some long.




Ryokan quotes
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.
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