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Thread: Ryokan's Kaz translation

  1. #1

    Ryokan's Kaz translation

    Hi everybody,

    I am flicking through the virtual pages of the latest treasure handed over by Kazuaki Tanahashi, a pricelesss collection of a bunch of Ryokan selected poems, which with some other Dogen stuff and Santoka bullshit haiku would be my desert island book. Ryokan was a homeless, filthy, stincky beggar, priest without student, lover of poetry and the Lotus Sutra, who used to roam Japan 200 years ago and is now seen as an very clear manifestation of Kannon. The book is called Sky Above, Great Wind, the title is from a famous piece of calligraphy Ryokan gave a boy who wanted to turn the written paper into a flying kite. This is as good as it gets, I worked on a couple of poems with a Japanese friend , and I am surprised to see that Kaz's translation is almost identical to what we came up with. Out of everything I know in English and French, this is the very best.


    [
    Rain frogs
    disappear into
    my scrubbing of the pot



    ~

    The cloud covered sky
    is all open.
    the heart of Takuhatsu*
    as it is~
    a gift from heaven


    *ritual begging wearing a large straw hat, robes and with a begging bowl


    ~

    You see the moon by pointing your finger.
    You recognize the finger by the moon.
    The moon and the finger are not different. not the same.
    In order to guide a beginner,
    this analogy is temporaly used.
    When you have realized this,
    there is no moon, no finger.


    ~
    And this wonderful description of his life and the action of sitting:


    Rags upon rags,
    tatter is my life.
    I pluck my food on a country path.
    My hut is buried in a tangle of weeds.
    Looking at the moon, I hum all night;
    deluded by blossoms, I forget to return.
    Since leaving the monastery
    what a fool I have become!

    take great care


    gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 02-27-2013 at 03:30 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    It's a beautiful book. I picked it up last week.

    Gassho.
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  3. #3
    Beautiful Taigu, thank you.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Daisho's Avatar
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    Just put it on my Amazon Wish List! Thanks.
    Gassho,

    Daisho


    (Jack K.)

  5. #5
    Thank you Taigu,
    I hope not to hijack the thread when humbly asking why Ryokan is seen as a manifestation of Kannon.
    I'm not saying he's not, I'm truly curious. Loving Ryokan. He seemed to be a lonesome guy not much
    in touch with anyone else, no students as you say. Thats Kannon ? How does it fit ?
    Gassho
    Myoku

  6. #6
    Ryokan was endlessly playing with children, talking to farmers and simple people, displaying an ordinary mind filled with wonder and countless ways to help and reach out for people in suffering. He was himself very ordinary, often emotional, soaking his books, sleeves, robes with tears or just laughing away at the most simple things. Playful, dansing, begging, drinking sake, laughing and selflessly sitting.

    Kannon is not seen as a super Bosatsu, Kannon is present in the most humble actions. He had students, but no Dharma heir. His most famous student was a nun, Teishin, she was in her twenties and he was over seventy years old, he presumably had a love affair with her, or at least a very strong platonic bond. These days they would have a hard time in America, In the early 19th century Japan, they were very cautious too. The poems they excchanged are exquisite.

    kannon listens to the cries of the world, and Ryokan was doing precisely that.

    He was remembered dearly by everybody he met.

    You have met Kannon many times today, Myoku, how didn't you recognize her~him~it? Even if you were alone, Kannon visited you. Even when alone Kannon can touch people's heart.


    Please read Ryokan if you have a chance. And understand that Kannon and you are not two.

    gassho


    Taigu


    PS: have a look at the first pages of this book:

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=S...ryokan&f=false

    or this one:

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=7...Cw&redir_esc=y

    IMG_0170.jpg

    a breathtaking calligraphy from Ryokan (so free...), it reads: "White cloud in the sky, waters of rivers, Each go as is".
    Last edited by Taigu; 02-27-2013 at 09:50 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  7. #7
    "Who calls my poems poems?
    My poems are not poems!
    Only when you know my poems are not poems,
    Can we together talk about poems"

    HAHAHAHHAA! That is briliant. You can just see the guy smiling at you with a twinkle in his eye!
    One of these can make my whole day!
    Many thanks Taigu!


    Enkyo

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    Thank you Taigu,
    I hope not to hijack the thread when humbly asking why Ryokan is seen as a manifestation of Kannon.
    I'm not saying he's not, I'm truly curious. Loving Ryokan. He seemed to be a lonesome guy not much
    in touch with anyone else, no students as you say. Thats Kannon ? How does it fit ?
    Gassho
    Myoku
    Ryokan's poetry was like finding a key to a lock I was fumbling with. It is precisely the fact that he expresses loneliness, melancholy, tears, yearning that allows Zen to show its human face. Without this human face we can not feel/express empathy - we can not be Kannon - IMHO.

    I like to think of Ryokan as exemplifying the old monk in Shitou's 'Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage'
    with a bit of softness, vulnerability and self deprecating humour thrown in

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 02-27-2013 at 10:06 AM.

  9. #9
    Thank you Taigu, Willow,
    reading your replies I see it was worth asking. And as I said, I love Ryokan, its on my bookshelf
    for long, only interrupted by the times I read it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    You have met Kannon many times today, Myoku, how didn't you recognize her~him~it? Even if you were alone, Kannon visited you. Even when alone Kannon can touch people's heart.
    Sometimes I'm aware of that, sometimes not. Today I am.

    And understand that Kannon and you are not two.
    On my way to understand that more than just intellectual.

    Gassho & Many thanks
    Myoku
    Last edited by Myoku; 02-27-2013 at 04:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Taigu. So delighted to know about this book. Gassho. Myozan

    My legacy --
    What will it be?
    Flowers in spring,
    The cuckoo in summer,
    And the crimson maples
    Of autumn...

    Taigu Ryokan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Taigu,
    Which store did you buy it in? US? French? Those annoying people at Amazon won't sell it to me, saying it's only available to UK customers. Then when I try the .com site it doesn't show up in the Kindle edition.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  12. #12
    Amazon france, I seem to remember.

    Good luck

    Gasso


    taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  13. #13
    In Holland there is www.bol.com. They have this translation available.

    Have a look:

    http://www.bol.com/nl/p/sky-above-gr...0000001324100/

    Shambhala Publications

    Gassho

    E.

  14. #14
    Thanks Taigu!
    Gassho.

    Gene

  15. #15
    Love Ryokan! I'll be picking up this book soon for sure. On the topic or Ryokan, Shohaku Okumura has a couple talks available about his poetry. This one: http://sanshin.podomatic.com/entry/2...04_00_00-07_00

    is about his poems that aren't poems There's a second one that discusses his relationship to Dogen's teaching, if I recall correctly.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Ryokan's poetry was like finding a key to a lock I was fumbling with. It is precisely the fact that he expresses loneliness, melancholy, tears, yearning that allows Zen to show its human face. Without this human face we can not feel/express empathy - we can not be Kannon - IMHO.
    Thank you for this Willow, so true.
    Thank you Taigu for sharing this gem.

    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  17. #17
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Rags upon rags,
    tatter is my life.
    I pluck my food on a country path.
    My hut is buried in a tangle of weeds.
    Looking at the moon, I hum all night;
    deluded by blossoms, I forget to return.
    Since leaving the monastery
    what a fool I have become!


    Hmm... effective.

    Gassho
    迎 Geika

  18. #18
    I can't believe they had this book at my local Barnes & Noble.. picked it up today! The introduction is much larger than the other book (the only other one I have on Ryokan): One Robe, One Bowl by John Stevens. I can't wait to get started on this.

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