Autumn’s First Ch’an Stillness

There’s an ancient conversation that’s been going on for months

between the sun-reaching pines and dream-heavy clouds.

Tonight, I started eavesdropping and taking notes again.

There’s an ancient autumn festival dance that’s been going on for years,

with the fog-covered hills and thunder’s delightful children holding hands.

Tonight, they’re asking us all to join in.

There’s an ancient love affair that’s been going on for centuries

between forgotten valley trails, the ridgelines around them,

and poets stepping into the gray morning light in between.

Heaven-Human-Touching-Earth: the only menage a trois I’m interested in.

Then, there is the type of Zen

when you put even Zen down.

An emptying-out of all striving.

A burning or ripping-up of credentials.

A peeling-off old layers

that finally allows one to ‘Just Be’

inside one’s own skin.

This is what the old ones meant by a mountain dragon swimming in the river.

This is what the old ones meant by a land-walking golden-haired lion.

Moonlight on rooftops.

Cooling breeze through pines.

Jasmine tea steeped just right.

Though the world of red dust

still spins with 3,000 years

of the three poisons of heart-mind,

on a 7 x 5-ft. platform,

suspended in the dreaming trees,

there is - at least for a time - an oasis of peace.

Traveling Pure Land Body

There are multiple bodies within us.

The Desire-Body.

The Questing-Body.

The Pain-Body.

The Memory-Body.

The Dreambody.

There’s a Spring Body.

A Summer Body.

An Autumn Body.

A Winter Body.

Each body within The Body has a wisdom.

Each body within The Body has a teaching.

Sometimes, each one of the bodies

can be ‘on’ about their own things, ignoring all the others.

The dreambody dreaming; all-night, all-day.

The pain-body aching, slow uncoiling trauma moving on.

With enough stretching


lightening the load,

one can turn toward instructions waiting

encoded in the stardust inside one’s own bones.

Then, all the bodies within The Body align.

Like flint striking steel,

the Pure Land Body sparks…awake.

Just in time.


(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

sound: The Bridge of Chan-Chou IV / Folklore / Forrest Fang