Monday, May 18, 2020


Many Men

The Zen Poems of Ryōkan. Selected and Translated with an Introduction, Biographical Sketch, and Notes by Nobuyuki Yuasa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 81:
Many men I know in the world who crave this thing or that.
They are like blind silkworms bound fast in their cocoons.
All for their incurable desires for this-worldly hoarding,
They have lost freedom, and worry their hearts and bodies.
Year after year, their native goodness loses its strength.
They become more rooted in their folly, as years multiply.
One morning, they strike out on their journey to eternity.
They must travel by themselves, not a penny to serve them.
What they have amassed, they leave for strangers to enjoy,
And their names shall be forgotten as soon as they depart.
Can anyone commit a greater folly than these helpless men?
Alas, they provoke infinite pity, deep in my heart's core.

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