Hakuin's Song of Zazen
Translated by Norman Waddell
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 thirst,
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?
Oh, the zazen of the Mahayana!
To this the highest praise!
Devotion, repentance, training,
The many paramitas--
All have their source in zazen.
Those who try zazen even once
Wipe away beginning-less crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land itself is near.
Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end.
Much more, those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.
Here effect and cause are the same,
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray,
With thought that is no-thought,
Singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
Boundless and free is the sky of Samádhi!
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
Hakuin's Song of Zazen
Produced by the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun
From the beginning all beings are Buddha.
Like water and ice, without water no ice, outside us no Buddhas.
How near the truth, yet how far we seek.
Like one in water crying, "I thirst!"
Like the son of a rich man wand'ring poor on this earth we endlessly circle the six worlds.
The cause of our sorrow is ego delusion.
From dark path to dark path we've wandered in darkness,
how can we be freed from the wheel of samsara?
The gateway to freedom is zazen Samadhi.
Beyond exaltation, beyond all our praises the pure Mahayana.
Observing the Precepts, Repentance and Giving,
the countless good deeds and the Way of Right Living, all come from zazen.
Thus one true Samadhi extinguishes evils. It purifies karma, dissolving obstructions.
Then where are the dark paths to lead us astray?
The Pure Lotus Land is not far away.
Hearing this truth, heart humble and grateful.
To praise and embrace it, to practice its Wisdom,
brings unending blessings. bring mountains of merit.
And if we turn inward and prove our True Nature, that
True Self is no-self, our own self is no-self, we go beyond ego and past clever words.
Then the gate to the oneness of cause-and-effect is thrown open.
Not two and not three, straight ahead runs the Way.
Our form now being no-form, in going and returning we never leave home.
Our thought now being no-thought, our dancing and songs are the Voice of the Dharma.
How vast is the heaven of boundless Samadhi!
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us? What is there we lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land!
And this very body, the body of Buddha.