Sketchbook notes from the drifting spaces

Reworking Dogen’s white mountain poem from Sanshodoei

From the Sanshodoei poems, I have been working on the English translations with John Fraser –

我庵は 
こしのしらやま 
冬ごもり 
凍もゆきも 
くもかかりけり

waga iho wa
koshi no shirayama
fuyugomori
kouri mo yuki mo
kumo kakari keri

my hut
in the white mountain of Koshi
enclosed in winter’s
ice and snow
wrapped in cloud

Eihei Dogen

moon cloud – secluded within snow

snowy-photo

moon cloud softly emerging
breathing
plumes of blue snow dust
swirling around
our scratched out rooftop

Discovered in my sketchbook poetry notes

fragile
manoeuvring

through pale ochre land
gaping dark blue fissure
within the sky a light hole

self transparent
roaming path hill spontaneously
becoming deer hare
blown by atlantic gusts
everything is shimmering

temporal

Windswept Carn an Tuirc and Glas Maol



cairngorm3

waga iho wa
koshi no shirayama
fuyugomori
kouri mo yuki mo
kumo kakari keri

my Koshi
white mountain
cozy winter den
ice and snow
overlaid by clouds


Eihei Dogen


cairngorm4cairngorm2

cairngorm7cairngorm9

The voice of the valley is endlessly preaching.
The colour of the mountain is nothing but pure body.
During the night, I heard eighty-four thousand verses.
How shall I expound this to others?


Su Dongpo, composed when visiting Mount Lushan overnight (quoted from ‘The Wholehearted Way’ by Koushou Uchiyama Roshi)


cairngorm6


cairngorm1cairngorm10

cairngorm8cairngorm5

Transient worlds within worlds, and divergence – with translations of Basho and Ryoukan



Imperm (Photograph)




within the thin covering snow
Three Thousand Worlds

again inside this world
fragile snow falls

Ryoukan




vision of decay in mind, the wind permeates the body

Basho




at the month’s end moonless –
a one thousand year old cedar
is hugged by the storm

Basho




Diverging

Contained – Spaciousness
Tranquil – Distorted
Phenomenon – Concept

Vapour Sky 11315

rocky mountain passes,
transparent clouds –
no up no down,
passing between
horizons non continuous



Vapour Sky (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi – pulsating mountain


Ben Ledi 1 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 2 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 3 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 4 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 5 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 6 (www.blairthomson.com)

Ben Ledi 7 (www.blairthomson.com)

temporal voids
of cerulean blue –
ice holes, pulsating –
falling apart rapidly
plummeting

Smeared Across Time – Kusen Collaboration with John Fraser

Barra 24 -1

John’s Kusen

Poetry Dogen’s ‘Everyday Life’ [adapted]

On Unseen Mountain
A scarecrow is
Not in vain

Commentary:

The scarecrow standing over a small rice paddy would often be dressed in black, like a monk. He protects that which feeds all beings. So, Dogen is talking about the practitioner and the dharma, and the relationship between them.

Because the scarecrow is fully expressing himself, the rice, the birds, the mountain and all things can fully express themselves. Likewise the bird. Likewise the mountain.

Because the mountain is unseen, the eyes of duality are closed. Because this is so, all being leaps out of a picture and is whole, not fractured.

The scarecrow does not eat yet all things are fed

Since, unlike a Hungry Ghost, the scarecrow is not

smeared across time



More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John

Artworks and response by John Fraser



Unevenness 2 (www.blairthomson.com)

Unevenness 3 (www.blairthomson.com)

Response to images by John Fraser:

The eyes are unseen;
All the worlds are visible

(Gatha of Xuedou, Blue Cliff Records) Unevenness, non fixing…

Compiled by Zen Master Yuanwu Keqin (Engo Kokugon, 1063-1135)

One, seven, three, five.
The truth you search for cannot be grasped.
As night advances, a bright moon illuminates the whole ocean;
The dragon’s jewels are found in every wave,
Looking for the moon, it is here, in this wave, in the next.

Unevenness 1 (www.blairthomson.com) photograph with sea, reflection of it in some strange surface, blue green and yellow