Top of the Mountain:
The Lantern-Lit Mind
To illuminate The Way (道), study (調查) the wayfarers (詩人) of old.
Take up the Timeless Work (禅) of untangling the soul (雑草の庭).
Align heart-mind (心) with Nature's flow (自然流れ気).
Journey (巡礼) into the dark (潜在意識) to mine the hidden gold (仏心).
When the Lantern-Lit Mind abides in Silent Illumination (只管打坐),
the wayfarer's poems bear the mark of the Great Transformation (自然).
The Path Up The Mountain:
Pure Land Walking
When trumpeter Louis Armstrong
was asked to explain jazz, he said,
'If you have to ask what jazz is,
you'll never know.' If you have to ask
what Zen is, you'll never know.
--Gary Chofu Snyder, "Mountains Walking"
When you send your spirit up and out,
even from down in the lowlands
cicada song fills your ears
while fresh mountain air fills your lungs.
You don't have to move an inch to hear the water cascading over the falls.
This is one way of understanding mountains walking.
This is one way of understanding listening to the wind.
This is one way of understanding
how an imperfect human
can be an imperfect human one moment
and a wandering stone lantern in the next.
Soon, these old sit-bones will be lifted up off the ground
to leave this dirty old town for the forest's embrace.
East toward the Sun.
North toward the Moon.
Into the Silent Interior of shaded path and mountain lake.
Silence. Stillness. Three-day 'Dark Retreat.'
Little yamabushi chickadees
will be delivering long talks on the nature of Dharmakaya.
The spirit of the high hills will carve away what is no longer needed.
The craggy ridge-line path will polish smooth a soul's pile of rubble into small bits of gold.
This is one way of understanding rivers dreaming.
This is one way of understanding flowers blooming in the sky.
This is one way of understanding the way beyond suffering.
This is one way of understanding how a pilgrimage begins
days before a traveler departs in the middle of the night.
After Cosmic Seppuku #49
If you really knew what the first major wallop
of an authentic kensho-experience feels like,
you wouldn’t want anything to do with it.
You would run for the hills and stop this work with me
in an instant. I don’t know anyone who is ready
for it when it happens.
Final surrender to the Pure Land.
No more 'exertion alone'
when you finally see
you can't do it on your own.
(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com
sound: "Cosmic" / Hiroki Okano / Sacred Landscape