Zen Buddhism and Martial Arts

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Author of this poem:

Zen Master Hsu Yun


I don't carry a gentleman's lute
Or own a longevity crane.

I'm as undistinguished as smoke
And casual as sunset clouds.

Scattered and low.
Scattered and low.

Sometimes I roam along Bilu Peak
Or lounge around Maitreya's Court.

Who needs seven hundred lifetimes?
Who needs to be the houseguest of an Immortal?

You can measure what's empty or catch hold of the wind;
But the hardships of an ascetic monk are beyond reckoning.

You can move an entire mountain or shrink a great distance;
But nobody can plumb the depths of spiritual emptiness.

In the space of just a single thought
A thousand years can be speeded up or stopped.

But the distance light travels in those thousand years
Wouldn't reach the limits of a monk's travails.

I could have been a deckhand
And traveled all the seas;
Or else a simple laborer,
A porter with a pole.

What if I had been born noble and wealthy?
Shakya was; but he rejected that
And so would I. Ah. Ah.

So I don't carry a gentleman's lute
Or walk around with longevity cranes.

I just go, scattered and low, scattered and low.
As obscure as smoke and casual as those sunset clouds.

Humming Bird
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