Ryokan – The Whole Poem


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.

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3 thoughts on “Ryokan – The Whole Poem”

  1. That’s a good poem. Or lesson? Reminder? All at the same time for me, I’d say. Interesting to read it straight after a very difficult series of meetings this week, full of people all over-invested in their own interpretation of the facts (none totally wrong, all different) and doing a lot of shouting, not enough empathising, and certainly no listening to each other. Brought me right back down to earth.

    I enjoyed the photographs as well. Hope all is good with you,


  2. the ‘Poem and Pictures’ and comments grapped me, helped me. Thank you.
    seeing only a part ánd still the flowing of the whole

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