Saturday, May 31, 2014


Wash Your Ears

A poem by Ryōkan (1758-1831), tr. Kazuaki Tanahashi, Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan (Boston: Shambhala, 2012), p. 137:
Before listening to the way, do not fail to wash your ears.
Otherwise it will be impossible to listen clearly.
What is washing your ears?
Do not hold onto your view.
If you cling to it even a little bit,
you will lose your way.
What is similar to you but wrong, you regard as right.
What is different from you but right, you regard as wrong.
You begin with ideas of right and wrong.
But the way is not so.
Seeking answers with closed ears is
like trying to touch the ocean bottom with a pole.
Related post: Ear Wax.

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