Taigu Ryokan

Taigu Ryokan Poems

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.

First days of Spring-the sky
is bright blue, the sun huge and warm.
Everything's turning green.

I watch people in the world
Throw away their lives lusting after things,
Never able to satisfy their desires,
Falling into deeper despair

have you forgotten me
or lost the path here?
i wait for you
all day, every day

Blending with the wind,
Snow falls;
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.

you must rise above
the gloomy clouds
covering the mountaintop

in this dream world
we doze
and talk of dreams --
dream, dream on,

My legacy --
What will it be?
Flowers in spring,
The cuckoo in summer,

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

today's begging is finished; at the crossroads
i wander by the side of hachiman shrine
talking with some children.
last year, a foolish monk;

at dusk
i often climb
to the peak of kugami.
deer bellow,

Midsummer --
I walk about with my staff.
Old farmers spot me
And call me over for a drink.

“When, when?” I sighed.
The one I longed for
Has finally come;
With her now,

With no mind, flowers lure the
With no mind, the butterfly visits
the blossoms.

This treasure was discovered in a bamboo thicket --
I washed the bowl in a spring and then mended it.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly

of Mount Kugami—
in the mountain's shade
a hut beneath the trees

You stop to point at the moon in the sky,
but the finger's blind unless the moon is shining.

Yes, I’m truly a dunce
Living among trees and plants.
Please don’t question me about illusion and enlightenment --

When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather

Taigu Ryokan Biography

Ryōkan was born in the village of Izumozaki in Echigo Province (now Niigata Prefecture) in Japan to the village headman. He renounced the world at an early age to train at nearby Sōtō Zen temple Kōshōji, refusing to meet with or accept charity from his family. Once the Zen master Kokusen visited the temple, and Ryōkan was deeply impressed with his demeanor. He solicited permission to become Kokusen's disciple. Kokusen accepted, and the two returned to Entsūji monastery in Tamashima (now Okayama Prefecture). It was at Entsūji that Ryōkan attained satori and was presented with an Inka by Kosusen. Kokusen died the following year, and Ryōkan left Entsūji to embark on a long pilgrimage. He lived much of the rest of his life as a hermit, and did not return to monastic life. He was originally ordained as Ryōkan Taigu. Ryō means "good", kan means "broad", and Taigu means "great fool"; Ryōkan would thus translate as "broad-hearted generous fool", referring to qualities that Ryōkan's work and life embodies. Ryōkan spent much of his time writing poetry, calligraphy, and communing with nature. His poetry is often very simple and inspired by nature. He loved children, and sometimes forgot to beg for food because he was playing with the children of the nearby village. Ryōkan refused to accept any position as a priest or even as a "poet", which shows his great humility. In the tradition of Zen his quotes and poems show he had a good sense of humour and didn't take himself too seriously. However his poetry also gives illumining insights into the practise of Zen.)

The Best Poem Of Taigu Ryokan

Too Lazy To Be Ambitious

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

Taigu Ryokan Comments

irakli 16 October 2020

Hello, where can read those original poetry with that translate?

0 0 Reply
Lilian 18 July 2018

Poeta maravilloso que descubrí a mis casi 80 años

0 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 25 November 2016

'' Teishin [the young nun who cared for him, in his last years of life] records that Ryōkan, seated in meditation posture, died 'just as if he were falling asleep' ''

13 0 Reply
Carol Pranschke 05 December 2013

His poetry is sublime. He is the Great Fool. He fell in love when he was in his 70's. Now that's cool.

4 1 Reply

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