This world

by Ryokan

English version by John Stevens
Original Language Japanese

This world
A fading
Mountain echo
Void and

A light snow
Three Thousand Realms
Within those realms
Light snow falls

As the snow
Engulfs my hut
At dusk
My heart, too
Is completely consumed

-- from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, Translated by John Stevens

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In states of clear perception, the mind no longer projects false notions upon reality. The world perceived by most people is seen as being ghost-like, visible but empty or unreal, "a fading mountain echo."

Ryokan sees snow falling, permeating everything, "engulfing" his hut, making all realms one and covered with whiteness. This awareness of the empty nature of things is not a negative one. Within that void, an immense sense of life is recognized as shining through everything. The "realms" are unreal, even the "hut" of the physical body is recognized as a mere appearance, but the shining and deeply quiet "snow" fills and surrounds everything.

"At dusk," when the mind is finally at rest and the last vestiges of the ego fade, the "heart, too / Is completely consumed" -- revealing the core identity as nothing less than that sanctifying shining presence everywhere.

Recommended Books: Ryokan

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan
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This world