Sunday, August 11, 2013


Vivitur Parvo Bene

Ryōkan (1758-1831), tr. Kazuaki Tanahashi in Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan (Boston: Shambhala, 2012), p. 124:
With little desire, all is sufficient;
with grabbing mind, myriad things are confined.
Light vegetables satisfy my hunger.
A patched robe wraps my body.
Walking alone, I am accompanied by deer.
Singing aloud, I play with village children.
I wash my ears in a creek under the boulder,
delighted by pine trees on a ridge.
The same, tr. Ryūichi Abé and Peter Haskel in Great Fool: Zen Master Ryōkan: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996), p. 196:
Desire nothing, and you're content with everything
Pursue things, and you're thwarted at every turn
Wild greens can stave off hunger
A simple robe serves to cover the skin
Going for a solitary stroll
  I fall in with the deer
When the children from the village sing, I join
  right in at the top of my lungs
I cleanse my ears in the sound of water
  tumbling over rocks
And gladden my heart with the whisper of pines
  high on the mountains' peaks
The same, tr. Misao Kodama and Hikosaku Yanagishima in The Zen Fool Ryōkan (Rutland: Tuttle, 1999), pp. 89-90:
Without a craving
I crave nothing
With a craving
I crave everything
Among the mountains
I can feed myself on herbs
And get along
Wearing only one robe.
Rambling alone
I make friends
With deer and others.
I can join the village children
Singing loudly with them.
To wash my soiled ears clean,
I go to the stream
Under the rocks
And on the peaks I make friends
With the pines standing there.
For the Chinese see Kodama and Yanagishima, p. 90.

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