Narrow Road > Deep North

frequently "zen adjacent" notes from a Nordic province — by R.a.Szy

Uploaded the 48 unedited Ummon-kan cases to a gallery here: Ummon-Kan

I plan to infrequently continue my digital transcription of these, with new alterations to the text plus additional notes and comments. Currently, most of the #ummonkan entries here are direct copies, so I'll be gradually returning to those to re-edit them too.

#typewriter #ummonkan #z #zen #zenbuddhism

Sleeping in my stone house “Twenty years of nights beneath the moon and the clouds” people say I am no longer familiar with this world. In the end they do not see — It is not as if I have a mind so clear and shallow, nor am I obsessed with the smooth pebbles beneath the rushing waters of this life. This mountain forest, my heart, they are linked — One unbroken stream. Even if there were no one else, even if there were a thousand — No change.

But, I have little to say, and fewer lines to commit. Since I know the people who are close to me, I have no need to say much to them — And as for what passes between myself and the mountains... “The mind opens up it's so quiet”

Now you come so late in the year and you do not know the mind of you — Seeking without name or form. What, then, are you seeking? “Right and wrong aren't found in the clouds” If you ask me where the path goes, the answer is between you and the mountain. And if you don’t know which is which, it doesn’t matter.

If you are a worldly monk you stop fighting fate and can learn the finer points of the journey. And if you are not that worldly, no walking can bring you closer — Your dreams go like an arrow, without direction.

If you want to know where the path goes, only give up your forms as you need. “The solitude of this path is nothing new” When there are no obstacles, feel the wind as it rushes by — Not overtaken by memories. Not overtaken by the task at hand. Not overtaken by a tired heart.

When there are no obstacles, even a layperson may become independent from their own mind — Though they may not understand it. And even when they understand it, they may not abide by it.

Understanding or not, wise sage or not, all the inherited states of existence are dependent on one human body and one human mind. “With no-mind you respond like a pond to the moon” Beware extinguishing practice when only a worldly form results, repeating, 'I am detached from the world of form'.

I only urge — Do not struggle on your late pilgrimage. It is not a path to enlightenment that crosses this mountain hut. “Don't think a mountain home means you're free” As you go, try to practice the dharma of the fir trees — They will last all Winter.

————— Italicised quotes from THE MOUNTAIN POEMS OF STONEHOUSE (Stonehouse, Red Pine trans. Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

#buddhism #z #zen #zenbuddhism

FLAT MOUNTAIN (A5 zine, 14 pages) (2020)

#photo #typewriter #z

Out here on the margins I only observe the worldly forms — Subtle sound. Vast perspective. Clear practice, direct with the seasons, day after day.


The Autumn Equinox has passed. The Harvest Moon rises. The perpetual Winter night approaches. We prepare our candles for All Souls Day. We build our hearth fires a little higher. We settle in to the Fall.


Awaiting rain — I rake my fingers through dry Earth.


Passage — My own limbs hold me back, still clinging to the Earth.

#deathpoem #z

“Quick! Compose a verse! So I can see your Zen!”

#deathpoem #z

One lovely old scythe (handmade like nearly all our tools) and one... honestly we have no idea what that is, but we have several of them.


these few lines — only glancing blows