Sekito Kisen (700-790)
Soanka: A Song About My Grass-Thatch Hut Here, where nothing is worth anything, I've set up a grass-thatched hut. After eating, I just stretch out for a nap. As soon as it was built, weeds were already growing back. Now I've been here awhile its covered in vines. So the one in this hut just lives on, unstuck, not inside, out, in between. The places where usual folk live, I don't. What they want, I don't. This tiny hut holds the total world, an old man and the radiance of forms and their nature, all in ten feet square. Bodhisattvas of the Vast Path know about this but the mediocre and marginal wonder, "Isn't such a place too fragile to live in?" Fragile or not, the true master dwells here where there is no south or north, east or west. Just sitting here, it can't be surpassed: below the green pines a lit window. Palaces and towers of jade and vermillion can't compare. Just sitting, my head covered, all things rest. So this mountain monk has no understanding at all, just lives on without struggling to get loose. Not going to set out seats and wait for guests. Turning the light to shine within, turn it around again. Vast, unthinkable, you can't face it or turn away from it. The root of it. Meet the Awakened Ancestors, become intimate with the teachings, lash grass into thatch for a hut and don't tire so easily. Let it go, release, and your life of a hundred years vanishes. Open your hands. Walk around. Innocence. The swarm of words, and little stories are just to loosen you from where you are stuck. If you want to know the one in the hermitage who never dies, you can't avoid this skin-bag right here.
-translation by Anzan Hosshin