Poetry Month – Poem by Layman Pang Yun

The following two poems from the book The Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang, Weatherhill 1971, translated from the Chinese by Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Yoshitaka Iriya, and Dana R. Fraser


#1

I have a great robe
Not of this world’s silk.
It can’t be dyed by any color,
Being crystalline, like white floss.
No scissors were used to cut it,
No thread was used to stitch it.
I keep it always close about me,
But there’s no man who of himself has seen it.
It shelters a Trichilial** Cosmos from heat and cold,
Covering over sentient and non-sentient alike.
Should you be able to obtain this great robe,
Having donned it, you straightway enter the palace of the King of emptiness.

**A thousand to the third power, or one billion worlds. This is said to constitute the domain of a buddha.

#2

The past is already past–
Don’t try to regain it.
The present does not stay–
Don’t try to touch it from moment to moment.
The future is not come–
Don’t think about it beforehand.
With the three times non-existent,
Mind is the same as Buddha-mind.
To silently function relying on Emptiness–
This is profundity of action.
Not the least dharma exists–
Whatsoever comes to eye leave it be.
There are no commandments to be kept,
There is no filth to be cleansed.
With empty mind really penetrated,
The dharmas have no life.
When you can be like this
You’ve completed the ultimate attainment.


Layman Pang
Layman Pang
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