Contemplations – The Poem

By Mark Rowan

Ancient sages left their works behind, not to let us know
About themselves, but to help us understand our own stamp.
Had we wisdom deep enough to know ourselves, single-handed,
No benefits would result from the works of ancient saints.
A wise person learns the mystery of existence in a flash
And climbs in a leap beyond the world of hollow phenomena,
Whereas a foolish person holds willfully to facts and details,
To drown in subtle differences of words and lines,
And being envious of others in their supreme achievements,
Wastes the mind night and day in efforts to exceed,
Truth, if you cleave to it as truth, turns into falsehood.
Falsehood, when you see it as such, becomes at once truth.
Truth and falsehood are the mated edges of a double sword.
None alive can separate with certainty one from the other.
Alas, too many people drift with the skiff to fathom the sea.
From time immemorial they are causes of endless deception.

From Songs of Ryokan, Chinese Poems #103

Many thanks to Mark Rowan for these wonderful macro images of Tulips.

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4 thoughts on “Contemplations – The Poem”

  1. Lovely photos! And the poem is like a smack upside the head.

    Drifting with the skiff

    1. They were brilliant, weren’t they? Just arrived at the right time too. Now I’m going back over the posts and writing down what I came up with while sitting/contemplating the words.

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