A Compilation of Japanese Folk Zen Sayings

translated by Soiku Shigematsu
A Wish
To go to
	Heaven is
The very beginning of
Falling into hell.

	If you grasp
The heart of this sutra,
	Youíll know the voices
Of merchants and customers
Preach the Dharma.

	Never regard this world as
The only one;
	The next world
And the one after the next...
All the worlds are here now.


	Everything
Changing
	In this floating world.
One thing staying the same:
Death.

	Reverence is
The source of divine favors;
	Without it,
Buddhas and wooden clogs are
Only pieces of wood.

	Your parents,
Grandparents...
	All constituted in Yourself.
Love Yourself,
Revere Yourself.

	Be careful
Every minute, reminding yourself:
	One momentís
Carelessness may cause
A thousand-mile difference.

	Both the noble
And the humble
	Become smoke
Of One Color
Over Toribe Hill.

	Iíve caught you,
Amitabha Buddha, I
	Wonít let you go.
Hey, come along with me
Down to hell.

	What is this seed, a mustard
Or a poppy?  Itís hard to tell
	Which is which.
But when fully grown,
The flowers will tell.


	Everything is
A lie in this world
	Because even
Death
Isnít so.

	The best
Defense
	Against a thief is
Not a six-foot rod,
But poverty.

	What peace it is
Going to the shrine with
	Nothing to pray for!

	Better making money in trade
Cheerfully clapping
	These two hands
Than listening to Hakuinís
One-handed clapping.

	Desire, regret,
Hatred, affection,
	Once rid of them all,
This world is
Yours.

	Our illusions are
The beginning of
	Satori;
See how sour grapes
Become sweet raisins.

	I am
Originally ďNothingĒ
	And timeless;
Nowhere to go
Even after death.

If illusion is a dream.
Satori is also a dream:
Awakening from a dream
	Is the beginning of life.

	You may try to be round,
But keep one corner,
	O mind,
Otherwise youíll
Slip and roll away.

	Although you keep
A jewel within yourself,
	Nobody will notice it
Unless you
Polish and brighten it.

	This is this,
That is that,
	Everything as it is:
A pine tree is green,
A flower is red.

That one really
Looks innocent;
Commits secret sins--
	But innocently.

The plum blossoms in
The basement emit fragrance;
Secret love will
	Speak for itself.

	The garden bamboos
Reveal
	The windís invisible form:
Movement of shadows
In the moonlight.

Give a damn!
Once Iíve been beaten,
Iíll drink poison,
	Eat the saucer.

	The mountain manís
Wood box is raw
	And unlacquered:
Nowhere is it
Faded or discolored.

Itís only an illusion,
Nothing much, I know; but to
Me, unenlightened one,
	ďCome on, honey!Ē

	It looks as if weíre
Talking about a dream, half asleep,
	On a night of dreams
During the intervals of
Dozing...

	I fear nothing
In this world
	But a leaking roof,
A fool,
And debt.

	Our mind is like
A puppet show:
	When a devil
Pushes itself forward,
A Buddha will hide.

	Thereís no company
On this
	Birth-and-death road;
Itís a lonely way,
Alone coming, alone going.

	Young people,
If you care for your life,
	Kill your self!
Once done,
Youíre deathless.

Young men these days are
Weak:  he says, tottering,
Staggering, an old man of
	Those-were-the-days.

	A farewell:
Why does everyone
	Grieve?
Thereís no parting
From the very beginning.
	There are many different
Paths running up
	To the mountaintop,
But everyone sees
The same moon on the peak.

A womanís tongue,
Three inches long,
Rules over men,
	Six feet tall.

	No me,
No others at all, only
	The huge void sky:
Oneness,
Just oneness.

	You and I,
At each breath
	Draw nearer on
The way to hell, or
To Amitabhaís Pure Land.