Monthly Poetry: Chiyono’s Enlightenment Poem

poetryThere are a thousand ways to express that thing that can’t be expressed. Through teaching the dharma great meditation masters have tried their best to pass their wisdom onto us. Another way their wisdom makes manifest is through arts and in this case poetry. Please enjoy this month’s ‘enlightened’ poem.


In this way and that I have tried to save
the old pailSince the bamboo strip was weakening and
about to break
Until at last the bottom fell out.
No more water in the pail!
No more moon in the water!

Chiyono’s enlightenment poem,
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, 1957, p. 31
Translated by Paul Reps and Nyogen Zenzaki


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