Ryokan’s final verse

Below are three brief poems by Japanese zen poet and wandering monk Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831).

1. Keepsake of this world

If not for Amida’s inconceivable vow
What then would remain to me
As a keepsake of this world?

2. Amida Buddha’s vow

What joy to know that
Just because I am a hopeless soul
I’ve found Amida Buddha’s vow!

3. Ryokan’s final verse

Afterward, if someone should ask:
“Did Ryokan leave a final verse?”
Just say: “Namu Amida Butsu!”

Source: Ryuichi Abé & Peter Haskel, Great Fool. Zen Master Ryokan. Poems, Letters, and Other Writings (1996), pp. 207-208.


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