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Buddhist : Zen / Chan
7th Century
(East Asia)


Yoka Genkaku (Yongjia Xuanjue)

Timeline (665 - 713)


Poems by Yoka Genkaku (Yongjia Xuanjue)
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The Shodoka is a beautiful collection of enlightenment and wisdom poems. Although it is known primarily in the West through the influence of Japanese Zen practice, it actually is a seventh century Chinese composition. In Japanese, it is known as the Shodoka, composed by Yoka Genkaku; in Chinese, it is called the Cheng Tao Ko, by Yongjia Xuanjue.


Poems by Yoka Genkaku (Yongjia Xuanjue)

  [1] There is the leisurely one (from The Shodoka)
  [2] When the Dharma body awakens completely (from The Shodoka)
  [3] When we realize actuality (from The Shodoka)
  [4] Once we awaken to the Tathagata-Zen (from The Shodoka)
  [5] No bad fortune, no good fortune, no loss, no gain; (from The Shodoka)
  [6] Who has no-thought? Who is not-born? (from The Shodoka)
  [7] Release your hold on earth, water, fire, wind; (from The Shodoka)
  [8] Transience, emptiness and enlightenment (from The Shodoka)
  [9] People do not recognize the Mani-jewel (from The Shodoka)
  [10] The rays shining from this perfect Mani-jewel (from The Shodoka)
  [11] Always working alone, always walking alone (from The Shodoka)
  [12] We know that Shakya's sons and daughters (from The Shodoka)
  [13] This jewel of no price can never be used up (from The Shodoka)
  [14] The best student goes directly to the ultimate (from The Shodoka)
  [15] Some may slander, some may abuse; (from The Shodoka)
  [16] When I consider the virtue of abusive words (from The Shodoka)
  [17] The incomparable lion-roar of doctrine (from The Shodoka)
  [18] I wandered over rivers and seas, crossing mountains and streams (from The Shodoka)
  [19] Walking is Zen, sitting is Zen; (from The Shodoka)
  [20] Our teacher, Shakyamuni, met Dipankara Buddha (from The Shodoka)
  [21] Since I abruptly realized the unborn (from The Shodoka)
  [22] I have entered the deep mountains to silence and beauty; (from The Shodoka)
  [23] When you truly awaken (from The Shodoka)
  [24] Why should this be better (from The Shodoka)
  [25] Just take hold of the source (from The Shodoka)
  [26] The moon shines on the river (from The Shodoka)
  [27] A bowl once calmed dragons (from The Shodoka)
  [28] The awakened one does not seek truth (from The Shodoka)
  [29] The mind-mirror is clear, so there are no obstacles (from The Shodoka)
  [30] To live in nothingness is to ignore cause and effect; (from The Shodoka)
  [31] Holding truth and rejecting delusion (from The Shodoka)
  [32] They miss the Dharma-treasure; (from The Shodoka)
  [33] Students of vigorous will hold the sword of wisdom; (from The Shodoka)
  [34] They roar with Dharma-thunder; (from The Shodoka)
  [35] High in the Himalayas, only fei-ni grass grows (from The Shodoka)
  [36] One moon is reflected in many waters; (from The Shodoka)
  [37] One level completely contains all levels; (from The Shodoka)
  [38] All categories are no category; (from The Shodoka)
  [39] Right here it is eternally full and serene (from The Shodoka)
  [40] It speaks in silence (from The Shodoka)
  [41] People say it is positive; (from The Shodoka)
  [42] I raise the Dharma-banner and set forth our teaching; (from The Shodoka)
  [43] The truth is not set forth; (from The Shodoka)
  [44] Mind is the base, phenomena are dust; (from The Shodoka)
  [45] Ah, the degenerate materialistic world! (from The Shodoka)
  [46] People hear the Buddha's doctrine of immediacy (from The Shodoka)
  [47] Your mind is the source of action; (from The Shodoka)
  [48] In the sandalwood forest, there is no other tree (from The Shodoka)
  [49] Just baby lions follow the parent (from The Shodoka)
  [50] The Buddha's doctrine of directness (from The Shodoka)
  [51] Being is not being; non-being is not non-being; (from The Shodoka)
  [52] From my youth I piled studies upon studies (from The Shodoka)
  [53] If the seed-nature is wrong, misunderstandings arise (from The Shodoka)
  [54] Stupid ones, childish ones (from The Shodoka)
  [55] Not supposing something is the Tathagata (from The Shodoka)
  [56] The hungry are served a king's repast (from The Shodoka)
  [57] Pradhanashura broke the gravest precepts; (from The Shodoka)
  [58] The incomparable lion roar of the doctrine! (from The Shodoka)
  [59] Two monks were guilty of murder and carnality (from The Shodoka)
  [60] The remarkable power of emancipation (from The Shodoka)
  [61] The King of the Dharma deserves our highest respect (from The Shodoka)
  [62] When we see truly, there is nothing at all (from The Shodoka)
  [63] However the burning iron ring revolves around my head (from The Shodoka)
  [64] The great elephant does not loiter on the rabbit's path (from The Shodoka)

Recommended Books

Buddhism and Zen, by Nyogen Senzaki / Ruth Strout McCandless


Related Links:

  Sacred Texts: Shodoka

The Aitken translation of the Shodoka, with notes about the Yongjia Xuanjue.

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Ivan M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright © 2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
All other material is copyrighted by the respective authors, translators and/or publishers.