--a poem written to myself, with the accompanying challenge of reading it every morning for a year.


--dedicated to the soul-clarifying work of

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam (The Sky Priestess)


"Yu literally means 'to play,' 'to enjoy oneself in a leisurely fashion,' or 'to go on a journey.' Zen inherits this term from Taoism and suggests free and easy wandering is the way we should experience the world."--William Scott Wilson, The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea

Go through this world of illusion

in free and easy wandering.

--from the Kannon-kyo, Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra


I used to doubt the astrologers.

After a year of listening to the stars, now I pay heed.


I used to doubt oracles.

Having witnessed the free-flowing dance

of thunder, sky, water, wind, mountain, lake,

The Book of Changes is now a daily companion.


I used to keep a strong scaffolding in place.

It separated Pure Land from Zen

Zen from Dao

Dharma quarantined from the way of mountain spirits.

Hell, like a Pure Hell separated from Paradise,

I quarantined the Dharma from the rest of my life.


With a sudden glance in the middle of a storm,

the bottom dropped out

the scaffolding fell

along with my mind

and all of these nectars poured into the same vat.


Human speech falls short on this one;

another poem that is not a poem.


It is about the moment you realize

you have been a stranger to yourself, 

and, thus, to everyone else.


It is about the moment you realize

there is no outside to your inside.


It is about the moment you realize,

if you let go

your breathing and summer breezes will become enjoined allies.


I only share it with you

to break the trance of constructed worlds;

to inform you that, just like me,

those shackles you wear

have a lock

whose key

is resting

in your




Student: How will it be when Maitreya, the Future Buddha, comes?

Master Taewŏn: Truly, it will be just like this.

--from Garden Chrysanthemums and First Mountain Snow:

Zen Questions and Answers from Korea, trans. Hongjin Park

(c) 2018 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

image: "Brocken Spectre," Tanzawa Mountains, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Shigeru Rokujuu

To learn more about Kanagawa, Japan-based electronic musician Sugai Ken, visit his On The Quakefish Bandcamp page.