ZAZEN WASAN ~ "ODE TO SITTING-MEDITATION"

By Hakuin Ekaku Zenji

APPENDIX 1: Texts Of Other Translations.

Text a: From Manual of Zen Buddhism, by D.T. Suzuki

Text b: From A Flower Does Not Talk, by Zenkei Shibayama, 

Text c: From Zen: Dawn in the West, by Philip Kapleau

Text d: From The Embossed Tea Kettle, Translated by R.D.M. Shaw

Text e: From "Spiritual Stars of the Golden Age - Hakuin", translator not indicated.

Text "f": From "HAKUIN ZENJI ZAZEN WASAN", in Japanese with Romanji (English) alphabet.

~~~~~~~

Text a: From Manual of Zen Buddhism, by D.T. Suzuki, page 151.

Sentient beings are primarily all Buddhas:
It is like ice and water,
Apart from water no ice can exist;
Outside sentient beings, where do we find the Buddhas?
Not knowing how near the Truth is,
People seek it far away,--what a pity!
They are like him who, in the midst of water,
Cries in thirst so imploringly;
They are like the son of a rich man
Who wandered away among the poor.
The reason why we transmigrate through the six worlds
Is because we are lost in the darkness of ignorance;
Going astray further and further in the darkness,
When are we able to get away from birth-and-death?
As regards the Meditation practiced in the Mahayana,
We have no words to praise it fully:
The virtues of perfection such as charity, morality, etc.,
And the invocation of the Buddha's name, confession, and ascetic discipline,
And many other good deeds of merit,--
All these issue from the practice of Meditation;
Even those who have practiced it just for one sitting
Will see all their evil karma wiped clean;
Nowhere will they find the evil paths,
But the Pure Land will be near at hand.
With a reverential heart, let them to this Truth
Listen even for once,
And let them praise it, and gladly embrace it,
And they will surely be blessed most infinitely.
For such as, reflecting within themselves,
Testify to the truth of Self-nature,
To the truth that Self-nature is no-nature,
They have really gone beyond the ken of sophistry.
For them opens the gate of the oneness of cause and effect,
And straight runs the path of non-duality and non-trinity.
Abiding with the not-particular which is in particulars,
Whether going or returning, they remain for ever unmoved;
Taking hold of the not-thought which lies in thoughts,
In every act of theirs they hear the voice of the truth.
How boundless the sky of Samadhi unfettered!
How transparent the perfect moon-light of the fourfold Wisdom!
At that moment what do they lack?
As the Truth eternally calm reveals itself to them,
This very earth is the Lotus Land of Purity,
And this body is the body of the Buddha.

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Text b: From A Flower Does Not Talk, by Zenkei Shibayama,  page 65. (Thanks to Cary Aurand for recognizing the source.)

All beings are primarily Buddhas.
Like water and ice,
There is no ice apart from water;
There are no Buddhas apart from beings.
Not knowing how close the Truth is to them,
Beings seek for it afar--what a pity!
It is like those who being in water
Cry out for water, feeling thirst.
It is like the rich man's son,
Who has lost his way among the poor.
The reason why beings transmigrate through the six worlds,
Is because they are lost in the darkness of ignorance.
Wandering from darkness to darkness,
How can they ever be free rom birth-and-death?
As to Zazen taught in the Mahayana,
No amount of praise can exhaust its merits.
The Six Paramitas, beginning with the Giving,
Observing the Precepts and other good deeds, variously enumerated,
As Nembutsu, Repentance, and so on--
All are finally reducible to Zazen.
The merit of even a single sitting in Zazen
Erases the countless sins accumulated in the past.
Where then are there the evil paths to misguide us?
The Pure Land cannot be far away.
Those who, even once, in all humility,
Listen to this Truth.
Praise it and faithfully follow it,
Will be endowed with innumerable merits.
But if you turn your eyes within yourselves
And testify to the truth of Self-nature--
The Self-nature that is no-nature,
You will have gone beyond the ken of sophistry.
The gate of the oneness of cause and effect is opened;
The path of non-duality and non-trinity runs straight ahead.
Your form being the form of no-form,
Your going-and-returning takes place nowhere but where your are;
Your thought being the thought of no-thought,
Your singing-and-dancing is none other than the voice of Dharma.
How boundless and free is the sky of Samadhi!
How refreshingly bright, the moon of the Fourfold Wisdom!
At this moment what is there that you lack!
Nirvana presents itself before you,
Where you stand is the Land of Purity.
Your person, the body of Buddha.

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Text c: From Zen: Dawn in the West, by Philip Kapleau, page 181.

From the beginning all beings are buddha.
Like water and ice,
without water no ice,
outside us no buddhas.
How near the truth
yet how far we seek,
like one in water crying "I thirst!"
Like the son of a rich man wand'ring poor on this earth,
we endlessly circle the six worlds.
The cause of our sorrow is ego delusion.
From dark path to dark path we've wandered in darkness--
how can we be free from the wheel of samsara?
The gateway to freedom is zazen samadhi;
beyond exaltation, beyond all our praises,
the pure Mahayana.
Observing the precepts, repentance, and giving,
the countless good deeds, and the way of right living
all come from zazen.
Thus one true samadhi extinguishes evils;
it purifies karma, dissolving obstructions.
Then where are the dark paths to lead us astray?
The pure lotus land is not far away.
Hearing this truth, heart humble and grateful,
to praise and embrace it, to practice its wisdom,
brings unending blessings, brings mountains of merit.
And if we turn inward and prove our True-nature--
that True-self is no-self,
our own Self is no-self--
we go beyond ego and past clever words.
Then the gate to the oneness of cause-and-effect
is thrown open.
Not two and not three, straight ahead runs the Way.
Our form now being no-form,
in going and returning we never leave home.
Our thought now being no-thought,
our dancing and songs are the voice of the dharma.
How vast is the heaven of boundless samadhi!
How bight and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us,
what is there to lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the Pure Lotus Land,
and this very body the body of buddha.

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Text d: From The Embossed Tea Kettle, Translated by R.D.M. Shaw, D.D., page 182.

The primary essence of all sentient beings is Buddha.
The originating nature of the self is the Non-Buddha nature
Without sentient beings there is no Buddha.
The reckless way of utter absorption is the true way.
As one who is immersed in water

So make the thought of the Nonthought the whole of your thought.
Even when one is tramping along dark roads
Those roads are themselves the Lotus Land,
This is more than sufficient for rejoicing and praise.
Even as water and ice go together
So good works of graciousness
Do not know any attachment to sentient things

Nevertheless they destroy the innumerable accumulations of sins

They are like the utterance of the mystic cry (at enlighten-ment).
How thankworthy is the Law

By it the causes and relationships of the Six Regions of the Wheel
Receive endless happiness.
Escape from the Life-Death cycle will take place.
Almsgiving, Obedience to the laws, the paramitas
All are but the dark road of our own ignorance
But all of them come to an end in the Law.
As for the Meditation of the Mahayana
Where can the evil regions be?
Recollection of the Buddha, Repentance, The Discipline of Life
When once these have entered our ears
Then he who performs one meritorious act of Meditation
Much more he who has 'turned himself round'
From such the Pure Land is not far distant.
He who has ceased from vain argumentation
He who extols and rejoices in the goodness of others
He who realizes that 'Form' is 'Non-Form'

He who bears witness to the nature of the Self as Originating Essence.
To such an one singing and dancing are alike the voice of the Law

He has opened the gate of the Absolute Undifferentiated Nature
When that happens what is there to seek?
Whether one goes on or returns there is no 'elsewhere'
The very body he has is indeed Buddha.
The sky of the unhindered Samadhi is broad

Just as there can be no ice without water, so Nirvana is immediately present. To go seeking it in distant places
--How foolish--
So do you become the son of that rich man.

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Text e: From "Spiritual Stars of the Golden Age - Hakuin" at saieditor.com, translator not indicated.

 

From the beginning, all beings are Buddha;

Like water and ice, without water no ice,

Outside us, no Buddhas.

How near the Truth, yet how far we seek!

Like one in water crying, "I thirst",

Like the son of a rich man

Wandering poor on this earth,

We endlessly circle the Six Worlds.

From dark path to dark path

We've wandered in darkness.

How can we be free from the wheel of Samsara?

 

The Perfection of freedom is Zazen-Samadhi,

Beyond exaltation, beyond all our praises,

The pure Mahayana.

Observing the precepts, repentance and giving,

The countless good deeds, and the Way of Right Living,

All flow from this Zen.

Even one meditation extinguishes evil;

It purifies karma, dissolving obstruction.

Then where are the dark paths to lead us astray?

The Pure Lotus Land is not far away.

Hearing this Truth, heart humble and grateful,

To praise and embrace it, to practice its wisdom,

Brings unending blessings, brings mountains of merit.

 

But if we turn directly, and prove our True Nature,

That true Self is no-self,

Our own Self is no-self,

We stand beyond ego and past clever words.

Then the gate to the oneness of cause-and-effect is thrown open:

Not two, and not three,

Straight ahead runs the Way.

Now our form is no-form,

So in coming and going we never leave home.

Now our thought is no-thought,

So our dancing and songs are the voice of the Dharma.

How bright and transparent the moonlight of Wisdom!

What is there outside us, what is there we lack?

Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.

This earth where we stand is the Pure Lotus Land,

And this very body, the body of Buddha!

(-Zazen Wasan Song of Zazen by Hakuin)

 

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Text "f": From "HAKUIN ZENJI ZAZEN WASAN" Japanese with Romanji (English) alphabet.

HAKUIN ZENJI ZAZEN WASAN

Mistrza Hakuina Pieśń ku Chwale Zazen

SHUJŌ HONRAI HOTOKE NARI
MIZU TO KŌRI NO GOTOKU NITE
MIZU O HANARETE KŌRI NAKU
SHUJŌ NO HOKA NI HOTOKE NASHI

SHUJŌ CHIKAKI O SHIRAZU SHITE
TŌKU MOTOMURU HAKANASA YO
TATOEBA MIZU NO NAKA NI ITE
KATSU O SAKEBU GA GOTOKU NARI

CHŌJA NO IE NO KO TO NARITE
HINRI NI MAYOU NI KOTONARAZU
ROKUSHU RINNE NO INNEN WA
ONORE GA GUCHI NO YAMIJI NARI

YAMIJI NI YAMIJI O FUMISOETE
ITSUKA SHŌJI O HANARU BEKI
SORE MAKAEN NO ZENJŌ WA
SHŌTAN SURU NI AMARI ARI

FUSE YA JIKAI NO SHOHARAMITSU
NENBUTSU ZANGE SHUGYŌ TŌ
SONO SHINA ŌKI SHOZENGYŌ
MINA KONO UCHI NI KISURU NARI

ICHIZA NO KŌ O NASU HITO MO
TSUMISHI MURYŌ NO TSUMI HOROBU
AKUSHU IZUKU NI ARINU BEKI
JŌDO SUNAWACHI TŌKARAZU

KATAJIKENAKUMO KONO NORI O
HITOTABI MIMI NI FURURU TOKI
SANDAN ZUIKI SURU HITO WA
FUKU O URU KOTO KAGIRI NASHI

IWANYA MIZUKARA EKŌ SHITE
JIKI NI JISH O SHŌ SUREBA
JISHŌ SUNAWACHI MUSHŌ NITE
SUDENI KERON O HANARETARI

INGA ICHINYO NO MON HIRAKE
MUNI MUSAN NO MICHI NAOSHI
MUSŌ NO SŌ O SŌ TO SHITE
YUKUMO KAERUMO YOSO NARAZU

MUNEN NO NEN O NEN TO SHITE
UTAU MO MAU MO NORI NO KOE
ZANMAI MUGE NO SORA HIROKU
SHICHI ENMYŌ NO TSUKI SAEN

KONO TOKI NANI O KA MOTOMU BEKI
JAKUMETSU GENZEN SURU YUE NI
TŌSHO SUNAWACHI RENGEKOKU
KONO MI SUNAWACHI HOTOKE NARI

 

 

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Page last edited on 01/18/2008.

If you know of another translation to add to this list please contact Gregory Wonderwheel at " wonderwheel @ pon.net " (remove spaces)