I really like The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse, translated by Red Pine. Jitsudo Roshi turned me on him. I have an old and beautiful hand-bound copy published in 1962 (second edition) by Empty Bowl. Stonehouse, 1272-1352, was a zen monk, poet, whom abandoned the monastic life and the “red dust of society” to become a hermit in the Tien Mu Mountains. When he arrived in the mountains he met Master Kao-feng. The master asked his reason for coming and Stonehouse replied, “I’m looking for the Dharma.” The master said, “The Dharma isn’t that easy to find. Your’ve got to burn your fingers for incense!”. Stonehouse responded, “I see the master with my own eyes. How could the Dharma be hidden?” The master nodded his approval.
There are a few wonderful stories about Stonehouse who became greatly respected as a master, though he refuted all accolades. Stonehouse “passed-by all places where there’s a buddha and he passed-by all places where there was no buddha.” He lived freely, unencumbered, simply on his own labors, and breathed in the mountains, birds, rocks, clear streams, hunger, the clouds, storms, tigers and monkeys, taro, pine, moss and cliffs as Dharma. He realized the Dharma by not approaching it but by being approached by it.
The Dharma indeed seeks us. Quiet down and be one with it as it is. No recognition, no practice, no sutras, no Buddhas, no temples, no religions, no gurus…MU. Exactly like zazen, just sitting. Stonehouse abandoned it all, all the teachings and trappings of spiritual materialism and just lived. His just living was an expression of the, always- Dharma. Thank goodness he left us a book of poems!
I searched creation without success
then by chance found this forested ridge
my thatch hut cuts through heaven’s blue
a moss-slick trail through dense bamboo
others are moved by profit and fame
I grow old living for zen
pine trees and strange rocks remain unknown
to those who look for mind with mind.
Available on Amazon or Copper Canyon Press.
MONDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE
MONDAY, 7PM, DREAM KOAN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
TUESDAY, 6:30AM, ZAZEN AT THE TEAHOUSE
WEDNESDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
THURSDAY, 6:30AM: SADHANA AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
DOKUSAN WITH ISSAN SENSEI
FRIDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE
DOKUSAN WITH ZENHO SENSEI
Tuesday is a lunar eclipse, and auspicious time to recite the Samantabhadra Prayer. It is also a full moon and Election Day.
Here is Noah’s poem this week:
Yesterday, as I walked on the sidewalk
under golden leaves
I thought about perfection
And this impulse to always be in practice
And how I want to be like the gods slash okay not being like the gods (either one is fine)
And the moon has been calling to me as well
She peeks out from behind buildings and clouds yearn to touch her
And she had me climb the fire escape to my roof last night
Yesterday, I talked to my friend Ma’moon, who is from Lebanon, where the moon is considered masculine
But tonight the moon is a woman
And I am her child
And I am her lover
There is a car alarm wailing below
to the moon
Deep Peace & Great Love,
Issan and Zenho