Hakuin Zenji’s Song of Zazen

All beings by nature are Buddha
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.

How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thist;
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.

Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the six worlds;
From dark path to dark path-
When shall we be freed from birth and death?

For this the zazen of the Mahayana
Deserves the highest praise:
Generosity, patience, self-discipline,
The many paramitas_
All rise within zazen

Even those with proud attainments
Wipe out their old deluded ways.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The pure land itself is near.

Much more, if you dedicate yourself to practice
And confirm your own true nature,
True nature that is no nature.
You are far beyond mere dogma.

Here effect and cause are the same,
The way is neither two nor three,
With form that is no form
Going and coming -never astray
With thought that is no thought
Singing and dancing are the voice of the law.

Boundless and free is the sky of samadhi
Bright the full moon of wisdom,
Truly, is anything missing now
Nirvana is right here before our eyes;
This very place is the lotus land,
This very body, the Buddha.

Sutras & Readings