Friday, April 30, 2010

The Human Route

 A poem I found in Prairie Wind, The Nebraska Zen Center's Spring 2010 newsletter:

"Coming empty-handed, going empty handed, that is human.
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud that disappears.
The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.
Life and death, coming and going, are also like that.
But there is one thing which always remains clear,
It is pure and clear, not depending on life and death.
Then what is the one pure and clear thing?"

-Anonymous...Tang Dynasty


  1. ditto Tawan.

    A wonderful poem, a thoughtful koan. A masterpiece.

  2. Perhaps the constant is that nothing stays the same. Yang to Yin, Yin to Yang.

  3. I agree Anonymous. Ebb and flow of conditions...form is emptiness, etc.

  4. Yes, very nice indeed!

    I used to say that the only constant is change . . then I realised that the only constant is this eternal moment of creation, the nature of which, existentially, appears as change. Now I realise that . . . ;-)

  5. I know this is an old thread, but the poem is not actually from the Tang dynasty - it was written by Zen Master Seung Sahn in the early 70's, and in fact *is* used as a kong-an (koan) in his lineage of Korean Zen.