Tendo Wanshi

The Partial Within the True:

The blue sky clears and the River of Stars' cold flood dries up.

At midnight the wooden boy pounds on the moon's door.

In darkness the jade woman is startled from her sleep.

The True Within the Partial:

Ocean and clouds rendezvous at the top of spirit mountain.

The old woman returns with hair hanging down like white silk

And shyly faces the mirror coldly reflecting her image.

Coming from within the True:

In the moonlit night the huge sea monster sheds its scales.

Its great back rubs the heaven, and it scatters clouds with its wing


Soaring here and there along the birds path --- it is difficult to


Coming from within both together:

Meeting face to face we need not shun each other's names.

In the changing wind, no injury to the profound meaning.

In the light, a road to the natural differences.

Arriving within both together:

The Big Dipper slants across the sky before dawn.

In dewy cold the crane begins to wake from its dreams.

As it flies out of the old nest, the pine tree up in the clouds

falls over.


 Ts'ao Shan


Arrival within both at once:

He does not fall into being or non-being - who dares

to associate with him?

Everyone wants to get out of the ordinary flow,

But after all he returns and sits in the ashes.


"Responding to circumstances without falling into existences."

- Ts'ao Shan


Tozan Ryokai

The Apparent within the Real:

In the third watch of the night

Before the moon appears,

No wonder when we meet

There is no recognition!

Still cherished in my heart

Is the beauty of earlier days.

The Real within the Apparent:

A sleepy eyed grandam

Encounters herself in an old mirror.

Clearly she see a face,

But it doesn’t resemble hers at all.

Too bad, with a muddled head,

She trie to recognize her reflection.


The Coming from within the Real:

Within nothingness there is a path

Leading away from the dusts of the world.

Even if you observe the taboo

On the present emperors name,

You will surpass that eloquent one of yore

Who silenced every tongue.

The Arrival at Mutual Integration:

When two blades cross points,

There’s no need to withdraw.

The master swordsman

Is like the lotus blooming in the fire.

Such a man has in and of himself

A heaven soaring spirit.


Unity Attained:

Who dares to equal him

Who fall into neither being or non-being!

All men want to leave

The current of ordinary life,

But he, after all, comes back

To sit among the coals and ashes.


Verse comment:

"How many times has Tokuun, the idle old gimlet,

Not come down from the Marvelous Peak!

He hires foolish wise men to bring snow,

And he and they together fill up the well."

  • --Tozan Ryokai
  • Filling up the Well

    In the winter, yellow orchids grow on the hillside.

    Raspberries are gathered and stored for summer months.

    Travelling to the city,

    Great compassion is scattered in the coal and ashes.

    --David Oller