Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage


Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage
by Sekito Kisen

I've built a grass hut where there's nothing of value.
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.

When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
Now it's been lived in—covered by weeds.

The person in the hut lives here calmly,
not stuck to inside, outside, or in-between.

Places worldly people live, he doesn't live.
Realms worldly people love, he doesn't love.

Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten feet square, an old man illumines forms and their nature.

A Mahayana bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
The middling or lowly can't help wondering;

Will this hut perish or not?
Perishable or not, the original master is present,

Not dwelling south or north, east or west.
Firmly based on steadiness, it can't be surpassed.

A shining window below the green pines—
jade palaces or vermilion towers can't compare with it.

Just sitting with head covered all things are at rest.
Thus, this mountain monk doesn't understand at all.

Living here he no longer works to get free.
Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests?

Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
The vast inconceivable source can't be faced or turned away from.

Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instructions,
bind grasses to build a hut, and don't give up.

Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.

Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
are only to free you from obstructions.

If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
don't separate from this skin bag here and now.


  a vaporous silence, as
  compared to a sharp and alert stillness
  ... teeming with knowing ...
  with an indescribable wisdom ...

Who would proudly arrange seats?
  There are no others ...
  And who would not go mad
  forgetting, and ... remembering?

Change, as all things do, ...
  a castle of sand, but still
  a castle ... and still sand
  ... from rocks, barely cool ...

Who would stray from the ocean,
  never to return?
Probability indicates that return is likely
  ... no, wait ... inevitable ...

But, what joy of knowing a hundred thousand forms
  unlike the ocean ...

A squirrel crosses the road, looking
  both ways, and flicking its tail in an undulating
  fashion, sweeping subtle particles to & fro,
  creating swirls of warm & warmer air above
  the asphalt ... and hops into the dry and rustling weeds ...

The wooden table of now,
  and vibrations of a brushed steel spoon
  against glazed pottery,
  and the slurping of soup ...

Are the most and least at the same time,
  precious and fleeting,
  and the soft light casting shadows ... worth noting ...
  ... creating a small echo in the conceptual mind ...

Who would write this down?

— Lucy L.


— Kim Mosley


— Kim Mosley

My Life as a Duck


My Life as a Duck

Walking, walking, walking ...
  my little wet feet splat on the surface of the ground as it goes from muddy to dry and back ... my tail wiggles as I waddle curiously on dry land,
  and I note how this small back & forth movement seems kin to the soft up & down on the water ...

Moving, moving, moving ...
  my bouncy little mind splats and taps on the sensations of subjects that flit in and out of view ... my facial muscles move and limbs twitch involuntarily in response to the ebb & the flow ... and I note, curiously, the joy of this ride,
  and its perplexing relationship to the space in between its movements ...

What is happening between each squelch in the mud?

  Hmm ... something about water ...
and a drop realizing it is in the ocean, and it is also the ocean ... ?
Can a feather on a duck realize it's true nature?

— Lucy L.