Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bankei Yōtaku - Song of Original Mind

Song of Original Mind - by Bankei Yōtaku
translation Peter Haskel


Unborn and imperishable
Is the original mind
Earth, water, fire and wind
A temporary lodging for the night

Attached to this
Ephemeral burning house
You yourselves light the fire, kindle the flames
In which you're consumed

Keep your mind as it was
When you came into the world
And instantly this very self
Is a living "thus-come" one

Ideas of
What's good, what's bad
All due to
This self of yours

In winter, a bonfire
Spells delight
But when summertime arrives
What a nuisance it becomes!

And the breezes
You loved in summer
Even before the autumn's gone
Already have become a bother

Throwing your whole life away
Sacrificed to the thirst for gold
But when you saw your life was through
All your money was no use

Clinging, craving and the like
I don't have them on my mind
That's why nowadays I can say
The whole world is truly mine!

Since, after all this floating world
Is unreal
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, go and sing!

Only original mind exists
In the past and in the future too
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, let them go!

Having created
the demon mind yourself
When it torments you mercilessly
You're to blame and no one else

When you do wrong
our mind's the demon
There's no hell
To be found outside

Abominating hell
Longing for heaven
You make yourself suffer
In a joyful world

You think that good
Means hating what is bad
What's bad is
The hating mind itself

Fame, wealth, eating and
drinking, sleep and sensual delight —
Once you've leaned the Five Desires
They become
Your guide in life

Notions of what one should do
Never existed from the start
Fighting about what's right, what's wrong
That's the doing of the "I"

When your study
Of Buddhism is through
You find
You haven't anything new

If you think the mind
That attains enlightenment
Is "mine"
Your thoughts will wrestle, one with the other

These days I'm not bothering about
Getting enlightenment all the time
And the result is
I wake up in the morning feeling fine!

Praying for salvation in the world to come
Praying for your own selfish ends
Is only piling on more and more
Self-centeredness and arrogance

Die — then live
Day and night within the world
Once you've done this, then you can
Hold the world right in your hand!

If you search for the Pure Land
Bent upon your own reward
You'll only find yourself
By the Buddha after all!

People have no enemies
None at all right from the start
You create them all yourself
Fighting over right and wrong

Clear are the workings of cause
and effect
You become deluded, but
don't know
It's something that you've done yourself
That's what's called self-centeredness

Though the years may creep ahead
Mind itself can never age
This mind that's
Always just the same

Wonderful! Marvelous!
When you've searched
and found at last
The one who never will grow old
— "I alone!"

The Pure Land
Where one communes at peace
Is here and now, it's not remote
Millions and millions of leagues away

When someone tosses you a tea bowl
— Catch it!
Catch it nimbly with soft cotton
With the cotton of your skillful mind!

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