"Always Concentrate on Kannon," Hakuin (1695-1769), in on paper.
“Always Concentrate on Kannon,” Hakuin (1695-1769), in on paper.

The body is the body of the Buddha.
Like ice and water, the one is always in the other.

In the middle of the lake
we long for a drink of water.

Adrift in Samsara
we dream of blissful Nirvana.

This body is the body of the Buddha,
this moment an eternity.

Saying I love you, the deed is done—
the name and the deed are one.

With you and without you
the line runs straight—

your body is the body of the Buddha,
there is light beyond the gate.

This love I give to you
is the love that comes from Kannon.

Every breath a sutra.
Going or returning, it’s the same.

Our bodies are the body of the Buddha,
our names are Kannon’s name.

No word can adequately say it,
yet every word must praise it—

in silent meditation
destroying evil karma,

in silent meditation
inhabiting the Dharma—

this body is the body of the Buddha,
your body is the body of the Buddha.

Open arms and eyes to Samsara!
Embraced by the thousand arms of Kannon!

In the perfect mind of vivikta-dharma,
the truth of solitude,

our body is a temple,
not a refuge.

Praise our body
even in Samsara,

our bodies are the body of the Buddha,
our bodies are the body of the Buddha.

From Destination Zero: Poems 1970-1995, reprinted with permission from White Pine Press.

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