"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.

Accepting an assignment to track for a year

the days this skin has been stretched

over the frame of these times,

I now pay heed.


I used to doubt oracles.

Having witnessed the coming together of elements --

the free-flowing dance of thunder, earth, sky, mountain, and 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.

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.


I only share it with you

to break the trance of constructed worlds

and to inform you

that those shackles you wear

have a lock whose key

is resting in your left hand.


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) 2017 / Saizan Owen / 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.