Sunday, January 17, 2010

Layman P'ang

Layman P'ang is a legendary Zen figure. He was born in China around 740 AD and died in 808. A man of extraordinary insight he is most noted for taking all of his worldly belongings, putting them into a boat and after setting the boat out into the water, sank it. I like him for a number of reasons, but mostly because of his 'eccentric' behavior and pointed comments.

He is also noted for many wonderful sayings. I am going to post one of my favorites from the book, "A Man of Zen: The Recorded Sayings of Layman P'ang" translated by Sasaki, Iriya, Fraser.

Here is Verse 25:

"When the mind's as is,
The spirit of itself is empty.
Without applying medicine,
Ills remove themselves.
With ills removed,
You naturally see the lotus flower mani-jewel *
Don't trouble over affairs,
Don't bustle around!
The wise man, perceiving wealth and lust,
Knows them to be empty illusion;
Food and clothes sustain body and life---
I advise you to learn being as is.
When it's time, I move my hermitage and go,
And there's nothing to be left behind."

Read and re-read this. Meditate upon it and get to know the meaning behind the words. If you are a martial artist or healer, take this one to heart.

Hands palm to palm,

*(mani-jewel is a gem that grants every wish)

pic courtesy of


  1. A very informative and interesting post; I love the poem, I've read it several times and I love the wisdom-truth reflected in his words. Thanks Shinzen.

  2. Wonderful post. To me it is saying live in the now. If we do this we will be blessed with health and happiness, things that are always present but not always seen or felt. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog, it has become a part of my everyday routine attemting to STAY in the now. Salute.