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

after Chofu


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) /

sound: "Cosmic" / Hiroki Okano / Sacred Landscape