this very place

Hakuin’s Song of Meditation

transl. by Stephen Addiss, from Zen Sourcebook

All living beings are originally Buddhas, just like water and ice:
Without water there is no ice, and outside living beings there is no Buddha.
Not knowing how near it is, people seek it outside themselves – what a pity!
Like someone in the middle of water crying out in thirst,
Or the child of a rich man wandering around like a beggar,
We are bound to the six worlds because we are lost in the darkness of ignorance;
Following dark path after dark path, when shall we escape birth and death?

Boundless as the sky, radiant as the moon is the four-fold wisdom,
At this moment, what do you lack?  Nirvana is right in front of you,
This very place is the Lotus Land, this body is the body of Buddha.

And Hakuin’s final words on practice:

“Don’t just stand there watching; get going!”*

Thank you for practising,


*from Cleary, Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record, 27.  Quoted in The Sound of One Hand by Addiss & Seo

2 thoughts on “this very place

  1. I am really enjoying these “Hakuin posts” For the second time today I am reminded to look inward for the true treasures. And when I read his final words I am reminded of the lines:”Train like your hair is on fire” which is Dogen if my memory serves me well??

    Hope you are enjoying your NY Hakuin weekend. Sounds fabulous. Can’t wait to hear about it.

    • @ZDS: Hakuin exhibit was incredible! To be so close to the paintings, to see the texture and nuances of ink… Each painting was encased in glass so I could get really close to see his technique. I am so humbled by the power of his insightful art. It’s inspiring me to really buckle down and learn more in technique. There and back was a 4-hr wander. I have a crick in my neck from taking pictures of the architecture!

      Tomorrow we will hit the museums and who knows what else.. Chinatown probably. How to eat your way through NY in 48 hrs!

      So much to share when I get back.

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