Monday, September 26, 2011

Whether you are going or staying by Daikaku

Whether you are going or staying or sitting or lying down,
the whole world is your own self.
You must find out
whether the mountains, rivers, grass, and forests
exist in your own mind or exist outside it.
Analyze the ten thousand things,
dissect them minutely,
and when you take this to the limit
you will come to the limitless,
when you search into it you come to the end of search,
where thinking goes no further and distinctions vanish.
When you smash the citadel of doubt,
then the Buddha is simply yourself.


About the Poem:
Whether You are Going or Staying is a Zen poem believed to be written by Daikaku. Daikaku is the formal title that was given to the Chinese monk named Tao Lung. In 1246 he arrived in Japan and his intention was to teach about Zen practice. This poem sounds like it offers simple advice… you are the Buddha discover yourself. Or the world lives inside yourself therefore you take from the world what you create. Sounds simple and is the focus of many meditative studies but there are probably very few of us who will ever achieve such a meditation. I chose this poem this week because as part of the Yoga Teacher Training which I am involved in at the moment we must study and practice meditation both on and off the mat. Not a novice to meditation I thought the task would not be difficult but I find myself leaving the still meditations (sitting in a quite room by oneself in Lotus position until a time period or some awareness is achieved) in favor of the moving meditations (while running or doing yoga). I used to be quite found of “sitting” and found some peace in doing so but now it seems that it is when I move I find my peace. The change in myself brings up many questions in my mind and meditative poetry such as this week’s selection reminds me that it really does not matter if I sit of move as long as I contemplate myself and find myself.

Read more about Daikaku at this website:

Read more Zen poems at this website:

About the Photograph:
I took the photograph in the Shelby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota Florida in July 2011. This is a small area of the garden that has a bench for those who wish to sit and be one with nature. 

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