It's a pity, a gentleman in refined retirement composing poetry: He models his work on the classic verse of China. And his poems are elegant, full of fine phrases. But if you don't write of things deep in your own heart, What's the use of churning out so many words?
Variant translation: With gaudy words their lines are formed And further adorned by novel and curious phrases. Yet if they fail to express what is in their own minds What is the use, no matter How many poems they compose!
"Zen Poetics of Ryokan" in Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry (Summer 2006)
The winds gives me Enough fallen leaves To make a fire
When you encounter those who are wicked, unrighteous, foolish, dim-witted, deformed, vicious, chronically ill, lonely, unfortunate, or disabled, you should think: “How can I save them?” And even if there is nothing you can do, at least you must not indulge in feelings of arrogance, superiority, derision, scorn, or abhorrence, but should immediately manifest sympathy and compassion. If you fail to do so, you should feel ashamed and deeply reproach yourself: “How far I have strayed from the Way! How can I betray the old sages? I take these words as an admonition to myself.”
The water of the valley stream Never shouts at the tainted world: “Purify yourself!” But naturally, as it is, Shows how it is done.
I have nothing to report, my friends. If you want to find the meaning, Stop chasing after so many things.
Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own hearts.
The village has disappeared in the evening mist And the path is hard to follow. Walking through the pines, I return to my lonely hut.
The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, and the weather is clear again. If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure. Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself, Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way.