If they ask
if Ryōkan has
some last words for the world,
tell them he says:
Namu Amida Butsu
All my life too lazy to try to get ahead,
I leave everything to the truth of Heaven.
In my sack three measures of rice,
by the stove one bundle of sticks–
why ask who’s got satori, who hasn’t?
What would I know about that dust, fame and gain?
Rainy nights here in my thatched hut
I stick out my two legs any old way I please.
As a boy I studied literature,
but was too lazy to become a Confucian;
in my young days I worked at Zen,
but got no Dharma worth handing down.
Now I’ve built a grass hut,
act as a custodian of a Shinto shrine,
half a shrine man,
half a monk
From Watson, Burton, trans. Ryōkan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan. New York: Columbia University Press, c1977.