March, 2010 Archive

The Zen Works Of Stonehouse

This past year I have been doing a bit of study on Zen Buddhism. I came across a few different Zen masters during my readings and became fond of a hermit named Stonehouse. Stonehouse lived in a small home on a mountain and made due with the food that he cultivated from his own garden, and the surrounding bounty of nature. I recently bought a translation of his poems and talks (all made possible by the translation efforts of a scholar named Red Pine) and I recommend it very much.

His poems say much with few words and are meant to stir contemplation. Below is one of my favorites from the book:

SCORPION TAILS AND WOLF HEARTS OVERRUN THE WORLD
EVERYONE HAS A TRICK TO GET AHEAD
BUT HOW MANY SMILES IN A LIFETIME
HOW MANY MOMENTS OF PEACE IN A DAY
WHO KNOWS A TOPPLED CART MEANS TRY ANOTHER TRACK
WHEN TROUBLE STRIKES THERE IS NO TIME FOR SHAME
THIS OLD MONK ISN’T JUST TALKING
HE’S TRYING TO REMOVE YOUR OBSTACLES AND CHAINS

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