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Ryōkan

Geburtstag: 1758
Todesdatum: 1831

Ryōkan war ein Zen-Buddhistischer Mönch der japanischen Sōtō-shū. Die meiste Zeit seines Lebens lebte er als Eremit. Er wurde berühmt auf den Gebieten der Dichtung und der Kalligraphie. Sein Künstlername war Taigu . Er ist auch unter dem Namen Ryōkwan auf Deutsch bekannt. Wikipedia

Photo: Ryōkan, Replica before 1970 / Public domain

„In this dream world
We doze
And talk of dreams —
Dream, dream on,
As much as you wish“

—  Ryōkan

As translated in Lust for Enlightenment : Buddhism and Sex (1990) by John Stevens, p. 28

„Easily moved by beauty—such is my nature.
I take a few phrases
and they just turn into poems“

—  Ryōkan

As translated in Great Fool: Zen Master Ryōkan; Poems, Letters, and Other Writings (1996) by Ryūichi Abé and Peter Haskel, p. 117

„I take these words as an admonition to myself.“

—  Ryōkan

Zen Poetics of Ryokan (2006)
Kontext: When you encounter those who are wicked, unrighteous, foolish, dim-witted, deformed, vicious, chronically ill, lonely, unfortunate, or disabled, you should think: “How can I save them?” And even if there is nothing you can do, at least you must not indulge in feelings of arrogance, superiority, derision, scorn, or abhorrence, but should immediately manifest sympathy and compassion. If you fail to do so, you should feel ashamed and deeply reproach yourself: “How far I have strayed from the Way! How can I betray the old sages? I take these words as an admonition to myself.”

„When you encounter those who are wicked, unrighteous, foolish, dim-witted, deformed, vicious, chronically ill, lonely, unfortunate, or disabled, you should think: “How can I save them?”“

—  Ryōkan

Zen Poetics of Ryokan (2006)
Kontext: When you encounter those who are wicked, unrighteous, foolish, dim-witted, deformed, vicious, chronically ill, lonely, unfortunate, or disabled, you should think: “How can I save them?” And even if there is nothing you can do, at least you must not indulge in feelings of arrogance, superiority, derision, scorn, or abhorrence, but should immediately manifest sympathy and compassion. If you fail to do so, you should feel ashamed and deeply reproach yourself: “How far I have strayed from the Way! How can I betray the old sages? I take these words as an admonition to myself.”

„Cling to truth and it turns into falsehood. Understand falsehood and it turns into truth.“

—  Ryōkan

As translated in 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom (2006) by David Ross, p. 36
Kontext: Cling to truth and it turns into falsehood. Understand falsehood and it turns into truth. Truth and falsehood are two sides of the same coin. Neither accept one nor reject the other.

„The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, and the weather is clear again.“

—  Ryōkan

Zen Poetics of Ryokan (2006)
Kontext: The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way.

„In the scenery of spring,
nothing is better, nothing worse“

—  Ryōkan

As translated in Haiku : Spring (1950) by Reginald Horace Blyth
Kontext: In the scenery of spring,
nothing is better, nothing worse;
The flowering branches are
of themselves, some short, some long.

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„It's a pity, a gentleman in refined retirement composing poetry:
He models his work on the classic verse of China.
And his poems are elegant, full of fine phrases.
But if you don't write of things deep in your own heart,
What's the use of churning out so many words?“

—  Ryōkan

Variant translation:
With gaudy words their lines are formed
And further adorned by novel and curious phrases.
Yet if they fail to express what is in their own minds
What is the use, no matter
How many poems they compose!
"Zen Poetics of Ryokan" in Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry (Summer 2006)
Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf : Zen Poems of Ryokan (1993)

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

—  Ryōkan

Written after a thief robbed his hut, as translated in The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry‎ (1993) by Stephen Mitchell, p. 162

„This world
A fading
Mountain echo
Void and
Unreal“

—  Ryōkan

Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf : Zen Poems of Ryokan (1993)

„Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
When you know that my poems are not poems,
Then we can speak of poetry.“

—  Ryōkan

Variant translation:
Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
After you know my poems are not poems,
Then we can begin to discuss poetry!
"Zen Poetics of Ryokan" in Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry (Summer 2006) http://www.hermitary.com/articles/ryokan_poetics.html
Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf : Zen Poems of Ryokan (1993)

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