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 » 10 Poems by Master Hsu Yun, Series 3
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Poems by Zen Master Hsu Yun: Series III


A Time of Regulation

What luck! The chance to practice the Supreme Dharma of Emptiness
Without fear of being invaded by the foolish affairs of outside life!

Set the time of sitting! Make it just as long as it takes one fragrant incense stick to burn down.
In that time we can thread the basic principles of Buddhism into a lovely string of pearls.
One by one those marvelous concepts came from the West
To encircle our hearts here in this Eastern Land.

Here in this Temple we touch these sacred pearls
And sing their praises like the sound of ocean waves.



Looking out at the Evening View on Mount Gu after the Rain

The mountain begins to awaken, sluggish after such a drunken rain.
A little cold light filters down to this place I'm sitting in.
The unruly fog pulls itself together to clothe the trees in white;
While the setting sun splashes red onto the distant hills.

I hear the wood cutter whistle as he collects his twigs
And the fisherman sing as he pulls in his hooks
And the temple bell ring from way beyond the clouds.
The cranes, startled, flap into flight.


Ten Thousand Buddha Mountain - Red Flower Grotto

This place used to be called Red Flower Grotto.
Now it's called Ten Thousand Buddha Mountain.
Visitors come here to play chess
And listen to the pouring rain safe inside their plaited huts.

The beauty of a thousand peaks still fills this grotto.
Streams flow into it and pools turn nine times as they form.
In the countryside nearby, tigers prowl.
Above, the pines jut into the sky just as they did in the days of Han.

The Spirit Dragon flies around through the dark rain.
But only white ghostly visions dance through the Chan gate of Awakening.
The Sangha gather beyond the boundary of the blue sky.
The Sangha spend their leisure with the white clouds.

Entrance to the Way

So many people enter the hall to practice.
How many of them carry that long sword
The sword of Heavenly Reliance?

Everything has to be hacked to pieces.
Saints, demons, everything!
Blood has to be splattered all over the mansions of heaven.

That's the Direct Teaching!
Pull down those golden locked gates to the Profound
That guard the Entrance to the Way.

Be fierce when you sit! Make your sitting a blade that hacks through the
wilderness of incomprehension.
Let your eye pierce the Emptiness!
Expose that True Face
The One that was yours before your mother gave birth.


Writing a Chant Poem on Fu Guo Dreaming of the Ocean

Poems express a person's feelings
And this can cause both profit or loss.
A teacher uses allegory to convey meaning.
And metaphor makes it easier to speak his truth.
So this moldy old man uses pen and ink for his explanations.

All my life I've been foolish and dull.
Sometimes I look at something and I think it's so wonderful.
And then I realize I was pointing out a fact
That was as obvious as the moon.

Only One Heart

Gaze into the Emptiness, the illusory changings of this world.
Enter the Emptiness. Others have. It's not so hard.
Is there any place that's unreachable when you make the effort?
Don't be left behind because you've confused yourself over this.

Here! Let me rap you on the head with my stick!
Shut up, foolish face! Stop talking a minute!
Don't be so quick to argue!
The mystery is so exquisite! It can't be discussed!

Yes, I recite the Buddha's name... or is the Buddha reciting mine?
What's the recitation for anyway?
There's only One Heart and It's in the Pure Land.
The Buddha is my own True Nature.

The Buddha and me! We're one, not two. So are you!
You're chanting to this? You are this!
Come, hold on to this reality! Don't be swept away into illusion.
History is an endless lie.

Let today be the day that the clouds and fog lift.
Don't let a wisp of them remain.
Let your body live here, but keep your spirit evanescent.
See that when it's free,
It can't be bogged down into those old familiar ruts.

Complimenting Layman Kuansheng for Holding his Own

The wily hare escapes to its rabbit hole
Then, needing food, it suddenly charges out.

That's the way we all dash forward to our fate.
Panicked by the hunter, we take cover,
Only to charge finally into his net.

A wise person stands back and observes it all.
A person of sense has to choose the proper strategy.

If he's going to charge, let him charge like the crane,
Dash into the clouds. No net there!
Yes, Sky Security. That's where he finds lasting freedom.

Spontaneous Lines requested by Layman Qu Wenliu

I want you to carry out high mountain plans,
To become independent and observe that heaven within.
Yes, as solid as a mountain!
If you want to Enlighten the Interior,
You can't penetrate it with just your nose.

You could comprehend the doctrines of the Three Vehicles
But wouldn't they rush headlong into one direction... that of Chan?
So take the force of this Chan! Move forward with it!
Get past the distinctions between yourself and everything else!
Get out of the track of years! Chant with your whole heart!
Kneel in one-pointed meditation!
And in an instant, you'll enter that mountain.


For Master Miao Ming

It seems we just met when we so hurriedly parted!
Throughout the whole morning, I had no words to say.
But from your pointed "direct mind" teaching
I pulled out that precious stalactite.
And then I saw that Empty Space you had cracked open!

I won't embellish. Doesn't need sauce. Doesn't need more flavor.
It doesn't need any effort of eyes, ears, nose or tongue.
It was that tip! That point of your brush!
And there was the disk of the moon and the world, bright and clean!

Going to See the Taoist Elder Zhenying at Mount Emei

Freed by his virtue, this old friend of mine
Trusts in the Way and delights in woods and streams.

While sitting in meditation
He journeys to the land of no more doubts.
While living in the discipline of poverty
He attains everything valuable under heaven.

He breathes and dissolves the barriers between distance and time.
He writes and his brush penetrates clouds and smoke.

With an impulsive laugh he dismisses doctrinal conundrums.
With habitual failure to distinguish shallow from deep

He achieves Chan.



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