years of hunger beneath gojo bridge


 

master’s

handiwork cannot

be measured but still priests wag

their tongues explaining the “Way” and

babbling about “Zen.” This old monk has

never cared for false piety and my

nose wrinkles at the dark smell

of incense before the

Buddha.

 

Crazy Cloud

speaks of Daito’s unsurpassed

brilliance but the clatter of royal carriages

about the temple gates drowns him out and no

one listens to tales of the Patriarch’s long

years of hunger and homelessness

beneath Gojo

Bridge.

 

Ikkyu

wikkyu

 

In order to deepen his Zen understanding, Daito Kokushi (also known as Shuho Myocho, 1281-1338), the founder of Daitoku-ji, passed a number of years hiding out among the beggars clustered about Kyoto’s Gojo Bridge.

where can the dust alight?

fabrice dozias

 

The Fifth Ancestor

Daimin Konin wanted to find

his successor. He asked the monks to write

a poem to express their understanding. Jinshu,

the headmonk, wrote the following poem

on the wall in the middle

of the night:

 

Our body is the bodhi tree,
our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully wipe then hour by hour,
and let no dust alight.

 

When Eno saw this

next day, he said to the monk

standing next to him, “I too have a poem.

Since I am illiterate, would you

write it down for me?”

 

There is no bodhi tree,
nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is void,
where can the dust alight?

 

When Konin saw this, he

knew the author had the understanding

he was looking for, and he recognized Eno as

his dharma heir and hence the

Sixth Ancestor.

 

Shunryu Suzuki

branching streams flow in the darkness