Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ryōkan: Untitled ["Before listening to the way"]

Before listening to the way, do not fail to wash your ears.
Otherwise it will be impossible to listen clearly.
What is washing your ears?
Do not hold on to your view.
If you cling to it even a little bit,
you will lose your way.
What is similar to you but wrong, you regard as right.
What is different from you but right, you regard as wrong.
You begin with ideas of right and wrong.
But the way is not so.
Seeking answers with closed ears is
like trying to touch the ocean bottom with a pole.

Untitled ["Before listening to the way"] by Ryōkan. Text as published in Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan, translated from the original Japanese by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Shambhala Publications, 2012). 

Art credit: "Remi Listening to the Sea," photograph by Edouard Boubat.



  1. The flavor of: hsin hsin ming by Sengstan,third zen patriarch. A wonderful
    expression of: Beginner's Mind as well. Thank you for finding these gems.
    Bob Jarmusz

  2. Thank you for sharing these treasures. Loretta Janice


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