Zen Poem

Zen Poem

Kinkaku-ji. Photo by Lauren Pinson


Nothing to learn


Sitting still and awesome like a mountain
No-I thought of nothing
Half-way home

Master Hsueng asked No-I
“Why do you think of nothing
With great intent?”

And No-I said
“Through concentration on nothing
I am liberated.”

Thwack came the bamboo stick
Gong gong gong rang the bell
Birds cawed as they fled into the blue sky
Their sky their home

“Master, why did you strike me!”
No-I asked in great pain
No longer still or awesome like a mountain

And Master Hsueng answered:
“When you grasp after nothing
You make it an object
Outside Mind-Body

You break the flow between void
And form
Form and void
You categorize nothing!”

Thwack came the bamboo stick
Back down on No-I’s shoulders

No-I did not Awaken
For two more years


— by Douglas Pinson


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