(Loves Messenger – by Marie Spartali Stillman)

Saturday Somewhere… short and sweet, a wee bit for your Saturday enjoyment. Hope this finds you having a great day!




On The Menu


Koans To Go

Poetry: William Morris – Part 2


Sanvean (I am your shadow) – Lisa Gerrard


Koans To Go

Stingy in Teaching

A young physician in Tokyo named Kusuda met a college friend who had been studying Zen. The young doctor asked him what Zen was.

“I cannot tell you what it is,” the friend replied, “but one thing is certain. If you understand Zen, you will not be afraid to die.”

“That’s fine,” said Kusuda. “I will try it. Where can I find a teacher?”

“Go to the master Nan-in,” the friend told him.

So Kusuda went to call on Nan-in. He carried a dagger nine and a half inches long to determine whether or not the teacher was afraid to die.

When Nan-in saw Kusuda he exclaimed: “Hello, friend. How are you? We haven’t seen each other for a long time!”

This perplexed Kusuda, who replied: “We have never met before.”

“That’s right,” answered Nan-in. “I mistook you for another physician who is receiving instruction here.”

With such a begining, Kusuda lost his chance to test the master, so reluctantly he asked if he might receive instruction.

Nan-in said: “Zen is not a difficult task. If you are a physician, treat your patients with kindness. That is Zen.”

Kusuda visited Nan-in three times. Each time Nan-in told him the samething. “A physician should not waste time around here. Go home and take care of your patients.”

It was not clear to Kusuda how such teaching could remove the fear of death. So on the forth visit he complained: “My friend told me that when one learns Zen one loses his fear of death. Each time I come here you tell me to take care of my patients. I know that much. If that is your so-called Zen, I am not going to visit you anymore.”

Nan-in smiled and patted the doctor. “I have been too strict with you. Let me give you a koan.” He presented Kusuda with Joshu’s Mu to workover, which is the first mind-enlightening problem in the book called ‘The Gateless Gate’.

Kusuda pondered this problem of Mu (No-Thing) for two years. At length he thought he had reached certainty of mind. But his teacher commented: “You are not in yet.”

Kusuda continued in concentration for another yet and a half. His mind became placid. Problems dissolved. No-Thing became the truth. He served his patients well and, without even knowing it, he was free from concern of life and death.

Then he visited Nan-in, his old teacher just smiled.

Midnight Excursion

Many Zen pupils were studing meditation under the Zen master Sengai. One of them used to arise at night, climb over the temple wall, and go to town on a pleasure jaunt.

Sengai, inspecting the dormitory quarters, found this pupil missing one night and also discovered the high stool he had used to scale the well. Sengai removed the stool and stood there in its place.

When the wanderer returned, not knowing that Sengai was the stool, he put his feet on the master’s head and jumped down into the grounds. Discovering what he had done, he was aghast.

Sengai said: “It is very chilly in the early morning. Do be careful not to catch cold yourself.”

The pupil never went out at night again.


Poetry: William Morris – Part 2


Love gives every gift whereby we long to live

“Love takes every gift, and nothing back doth give.”

Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb:

“Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come.”

Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see:

“Love makes blind the eyes to all but me and thee.”

Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain:

“Love turns life to woe till hope is nought and vain.”

Love, who changest all, change me nevermore!

“Love, who changest all, change my sorrow sore!”

Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest,

“Love burns up the world to a void of all unrest.”

And there we twain are left, and no more work we need:

“And I am left alone, and who my work shall heed?”

Ah! I praise thee, Love, for utter joyance won!

“And is my praise nought worth for all my life undone?”


Strong are thine arms, O love, & strong

Thine heart to live, and love, and long;

But thou art wed to grief and wrong:

Live, then, and long, though hope be dead!

Live on, & labour thro’ the years!

Make pictures through the mist of tears,

Of unforgotten happy fears,

That crossed the time ere hope was dead.

Draw near the place where once we stood

Amid delight’s swift-rushing flood,

And we and all the world seemed good

Nor needed hope now cold and dead.

Dream in the dawn I come to thee

Weeping for things that may not be!

Dream that thou layest lips on me!

Wake, wake to clasp hope’s body dead!

Count o’er and o’er, and one by one

The minutes of the happy sun

That while agone on kissed lips shone,

Count on, rest not, for hope is dead.

Weep, though no hair’s breadth thou shalt move

The living Earth, the heaven above

By all the bitterness of love!

Weep and cease not, now hope is dead!

Sighs rest thee not, tears bring no ease,

Life hath no joy, and Death no peace:

The years change not, though they decrease,

For hope is dead, for hope is dead.

Speak, love, I listen: far away

I bless the tremulous lips, that say,

“Mock not the afternoon of day,

Mock not the tide when hope is dead!”

I bless thee, O my love, who say’st:

“Mock not the thistle-cumbered waste;

I hold Love’s hand, and make no haste

Down the long way, now hope is dead.

With other names do we name pain,

The long years wear our hearts in vain.

Mock not our loss grown into gain,

Mock not our lost hope lying dead.

Our eyes gaze for no morning-star,

No glimmer of the dawn afar;

Full silent wayfarers we are

Since ere the noon-tide hope lay dead.

Behold with lack of happiness

The master, Love, our hearts did bless

Lest we should think of him the less:

Love dieth not, though hope is dead!”

(Beatrice – by Marie Spartali Stillman)

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