The following were translated by Dr. Steven Heine, Professor of Religious Studies and History as well as Director of Asian Studies at Florida International University. Dr. Heine has published more than thirty books on Master Dogen and Zen.
True Person Manifest Throughout the Ten Quarters of the World
The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.
Coming or Going
The migrating bird
leaves no trace behind
and does not need a guide.
In the Stream
In the stream,
To the dusty world,
My fleeting form
Casts no reflection.
Ching-Ch’ing’s Raindrop Sound
Because the mind is free —
Listening to the rain
Dripping from the eaves,
The drops become
One with me.
A Zen Monk Asked for a Verse
“Mind itself is buddha” — difficult to practice, but easy to explain;
“No mind, no buddha” — difficult to explain, but easy to practice.
Like Tangled Hair
Like tangled hair,
The circular delusion
Of beginning and end,
When straightened out,
A dream no longer.
Shall I liken this world of ours?
Shaken from a crane’s bill.
One of fifteen verses on Dogen’s mountain retreat
Joyful in this mountain retreat yet still feeling melancholy,
Studying the Lotus Sutra every day,
Practicing zazen singlemindedly;
What do love and hate matter
When I’m here alone,
Listening to the sound of the rain late in this autumn evening.
On the Harvest Moon in the Year of Dogen’s Death
Just when my longing to see
The moon over Kyoto
One last time grows deepest,
The moon I behold this autumn night
Leaves me sleepless for its beauty.
Source: Remembering Dogen’s Death
In the heart of the night,
The moonlight framing
A small boat drifting,
Tossed not by the waves
Nor swayed by the breeze.
The white mountains of Echizen
Are my winter retreat. A blanket of clouds
Covers the frosted peaks
And snowy slopes.
How pitiful is life and death’s ceasing and arising, I lose my way yet find my path as if walking in a dream. Even though there is still one thing left to do I must not forget, The deep grass of Fukakusa settles in the sound of the evening rain.
Colors of the mountains,
Streams in the valleys,
All in one, one in all
The voice and body
Of our Sakyamuni Buddha
In the spring, cherry blossoms,
In the summer, the cuckoo,
In autumn, the moon,
And in winter, the snow, clear, cold.
Will their gaze fall upon
The petals of words I utter,
Shaken loose and blown free by the spring breeze
As if only the notes
Of a flower’s song?
Like a blade of grass,
My frail body
Treading the path to Kyoto,
Seeming to wander
Amid the cloudy mist on the
narrow mountain pass.
In spring, the cherry blossoms,
In summer, the cuckoo’s song,
In autumn, the moon, shining,
In winter, the frozen snow.
How pure and clear are the seasons!
Living for so long in this world without attachments,
Since giving up using paper and pen.
I see flowers and hear birds without feeling much,
While dwelling on this mountain I am embarrassed by my meager efforts.
How pitiful is life and death’s ceasing and arising!
I lose my way yet find my path as if walking in a dream.
Even though there are still things that are hard to forget,
Listening to the sound of evening rain sitting in the deep grass of my Fukakusa hut.