Do not ask me where I am going …

12804900_482683365254902_3741708730141772376_n

But do not ask me where I am going,
As I travel in this limitless world,
Where every step I take is my home.
– Dōgen


Japanese poet Dōgen Zenji (1200-1253), Kyoto, founder of Soto Zen in Japan

Japanese poet Dōgen Zenji (1200-1253), Kyoto, founder of Soto Zen in Japan

One of the great lessons in life – something that if we preserver we come to gracefully accept – is impermanence. This is a lesson Dōgen learned early in life. He lost both parents when he was a child.

When Dōgen decided to become a monk he join the Tendai Tradition and was ordained in it.  With his strong questioning intellect, he became dissatisfied with Tendai. He left Japan for China to learn what he felt would be a more authentic Buddhism. After two years study Dōgen returned to Japan where he founded Soto Zen.

To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops,
Shaken from a crane’s bill.

516zhdcq5glDōgen was a prolific essayist and poet, his works much valued because of the esteem in which he was held as a religious leader of consequence, a creative thinker and refined literary mind. His work reflects his effort to express the inexpressible.  That is something he does with excuisite grace as you can see from the poems included here. The Essential Dogen, Writings of the Great Zen Master includes some of Dōgen’s poetry and essays. It is a gentle book filled with peace, a nice vacation from trying times.

Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds.
Hah!
Entire body looks for nothing.
Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.

Dōgen Zenji’s death poem


51ylkyldh7lThe recommended read for this week is Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them compiled by the father and son team, Anthony Holden and Ben Holden. I have to thank my good friend Linda F. for this recommendation. A moving book and a unique perspective. This is a poetry anthology in which 100 men from diverse backgrounds share the poems that they can’t read without being moved to tears and they tell us why.  The poems and poets featured span the centuries and the world. Definitely worthy of our time.

By shopping at Amazon through The Word Play Shop, you help to support the maintenance of this site. Thank you!

The WordPlay Shop offers books and other tools especially selected for poets and writers.

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

LITERATURE AND FICTION oo Editor’s Picks oo Award Winners oo NY Times Best Sellers

4 thoughts on “Do not ask me where I am going …

Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s