Ts’ai-ken T’an // The Vegetable Root Discourses

If the mind is clear
A dark room has its blue sky
If the mind is somber
Broad daylight gives birth to
Demons and evil spiritsThe just man
Has no mind to seek happiness
Heaven therefore
Because of this mindlessness
Opens its inmost heart
The bad man busies himself
With avoiding misfortunes
Heaven therefore
Confounds him for this desireHow unsearchable are the ways of heaven
How useless the wisdom of men

The Tao is common property
It should be pointed out to all we meet
Learning is as ordinary as eating rice at home
According to the circumstances
It should be applied circumspectly

The Ancients left rice for mice
And did not light lamps
Out of pity for moths
These thoughts of theirs
Are the operation point of humanity
In life
Lacking this
A man is a mere earthman
A wooden body

The Zen sect says
When you are hungry — eat
When you are weary — sleep
Poetry aims at the description
In common language
Of beautiful scenery
The sublime is contained in the ordinary
The hardest in the easiest
What is self-conscious and ulterior
Is far from the truth
What is mindless
Is near

by Koji Tse


~ by phantastica on April 3, 2008.

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