No More Houses Poem by Santoka Taneda

No More Houses

Rating: 5.0

No more houses to beg from;
the clouds cover the mountains

Fabrizio Frosini 08 June 2016

Santōka would generally beg for about three hours every day. Stopping to chant in front of a house, more often than not he would be chased away and verbally, and sometimes physically, abused. Usually he had to visit from 15 to 20 homes (as the depression deepened he had to make 30 or more stops) before he had received enough for a day. As soon as he had received just enough rice and money for one day's food and lodging, he would stop immediately and go to the cheapest inn he could find. He never provided for the next day [ ''How can you be a beggar if you have extra money? '' he asked]

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Fabrizio Frosini 06 June 2016

'' mono kou ie mo naku nari yama ni wa kumo '' '' no more houses to beg from; / the clouds cover the mountains ''

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Fabrizio Frosini 05 June 2016

In 1925, at the age of forty-two, Santōka was ordained a Zen priest under the name Kōho [after a Chinese Zen priest also named Taneda] by Gian Mochizuki Oshō, the head priest of the Zen temple Hōon-ji. After Santōka was ordained, Gian arranged for him to stay at Mitori Kannon-dō, a small temple on the outskirts of Kumamoto. Santōka supported himself by begging in the neighborhood, occasionally making longer trips to visit his friends in nearby towns. After a year of living alone in the temple, Santōka decided to make a pilgrimage. His first intention was to train at Eihei-ji, the head temple of the Sōtō Zen school, but he apparently realized it would be difficult for him as a forty-three-year-old man to practice with a group of priests in their early twenties, most of whom were putting in the required time in order to someday inherit their family temples. Santōka's monastery turned out to be the back roads and mountain paths of the countryside.

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Fabrizio Frosini 05 June 2016

In April 1926 he started out on his first pilgrimage. His only possessions were his black priest's robe, his begging bowl, and his kasa, a large woven straw hat worn by traveling monks to shield them from the sun and rain. For the next four years Santōka was on a continual journey throughout southern Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. He prayed at innumerable shrines and temples, visited famous sites, met with his friends, and attended poetry meetings.

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