Hakuin's Song of Zazenby Hakuin
English version by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Original Language Japanese
All beings are primarily Buddhas.
It is like water and ice:
There is no ice apart from water;
There are no Buddhas apart from beings.
Not knowing how close the truth is to them,
Beings seek for it afar -- what a pity!
They are like those who, being in the midst of water,
Cry out for water, feeling thirst.
They are like the son of the rich man,
Who, wandering away from his father,
Goes astray amongst the poor.
It is all due to their ignorance
That beings transmigrate in the darkness
Of the Six Paths of existence.
When they wander from darkness to darkness,
How can they ever be free from birth-and-death?
As for the Dhyana practice as taught in the Mahayana,
No amount of praise can exhaust its merits.
The Six Paramitas--beginning with the Giving, Observing the Precepts,
And other good deeds, variously enumerated,
Such as Nembutsu, Repentance, Moral Training, and so on --
All are finally reducible to the practice of Dhyana.
The merit of Dhyana practice, even during a single sitting,
Erases the countless sins accumulated in the past.
Where then are the Evil Paths to misguide us?
The Pure Land cannot be far away.
Those who, for once, listening to the Dharma
In all humility,
Praise it and faithfully follow it,
Will be endowed with innumerable merits.
But how much more so when you turn your eyes within yourselves
And have a glimpse into your self-nature!
You find that the self-nature is no-nature -
The truth permitting no idle sophistry.
For you, then, open the gate leading to the oneness of cause and effect;
Before you, then, lies a straight road of non-duality and non-trinity.
When you understand that form is the form of the formless,
Your coming-and-going takes place nowhere else but where you are.
When you understand that thought is the thought of the thought-less.
Your singing-and-dancing is no other than the voice of the Dharma.
How boundless is the sky of Samadhi!
How refreshingly bright is the moon of the Fourfold Wisdom!
Being so is there anything you lack?
As the Absolute presents itself before you
The place where you stand is the Land of the Lotus,
And your person -- the body of the Buddha.
|-- from Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki|
/ Image by Ed Schipul /
|Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter||Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin||Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin||Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei||The Zen Koan|