Poems of a stupid monk

Marc van der Maat – Kannon Dojo of Bruxelles

A short visit of the Master

After the effort
Of digging the earth,
His body relaxed, muscles warm,
The gardener monk takes a short break
With on his knees
The Master’s comments on the Jijuyu Zanmai . . .

A breeze sings in the branches, very gently,
The flowers open up to the spring sun,
Offering to all the teaching
From his distant, urban temple . . .

A very fleeting moment of clarity in the mind’s sky,
The dog sees the monk rising up and doing Sanpai,
And returning then to the garden to plant onions. . .

Sutra Kesa

Morning zazen

There are three of us
This morning
In the twilight of the dojo

The rain is falling
And the incense is rising
Between earth and sky

The three jewels
Sparkle in the light of the candles
And of the stars going out in the fresh dawn

Motionless movement

Crossing the city after the morning zazen
The intense traffic was making no noise at all and
Exhaled a subtle smell of wildflowers

With benevolence all sufferings
Turned into adamantine droplets
Vegetal milky way shining in the sun

On the flowerbed in the middle of the boulevard
A bird was walking around
Between the flowers singing ‘mu’ ‘mu’


They come in one by one,
Small and big,
Talkative or taciturn,
Skinny and portly,
Elders, new, young, old and beginners . . .

They all climbed the spiral staircase
Turning and turning again to reach the top floor,
Totally fit or out of breath they were welcomed
With benevolence by the plants on the landing
And the Buddha who had settled quietly between them   

Without shoes, they enter, one by one,
Calmly or quickly in the mountain
For the zazen matinee that will transmute
The sound of the city in hearts and minds
In subtle fragrances of solitary pines ...

Threading the needle

The merchants are screaming below
Sirens howl on the boulevard
Accompanied by the disorderly rhythm
Of countless dissonant car horns

But around the table reigns
A noble concentrated silence
The boulevard so close is far away
In this high place, literally and figuratively

Everyone follows and continues the slow movement
And the orderly and regular rhythm of
Needle and thread going through a piece of fabric
Already sacred, under the expert eye of the vigilant superviser

As the seasons go by as
Rakusu points, each one progresses at his rhythm
With his work, transforming for the good of all
Entangled fibers in liberated rice fields


The bell rings and rings
In the quiet morning darkness
Incense is spreading slowly into all universes

Some black mountains
Let clouds go by through the sky
On the roof the blakbird welcomes the first lights of the day

What more can we say ?



With his frail and fragile body
The old monk makes Sanpai
Then standing back painfully,
Breathless, he folds his zagu gently

Once dressed, he goes down the stairs
Cautiously, thanks to the help
Of a sturdy Bodhisattva  
Who holds him by the arm, slowly

He’ll never miss a day
Very early, he is always present
The first one to open the dojo
To welcome all practitioners

But by early morning they will not be
Many to join him for the dawn zazen
But the whole town knows that he is over there,

And that he always will be present, always and ever…

Thank you

Kin in

The wrinkling of a Kesa and
The noise, right, left, of the
Kyosaku walking behind us,
Bringing our spirit back from its forgotten dream

Here and now the universe
Breathe again in this mind-body,
Naturally, always and again and infinitely,
In this unique moment perceived and immediately abandonned

The bell rings twice and
The wrinkling of dozens of kesas flies away,
The throats are cleared and the bodies move gently,
It’s time for Kin in: get up, get up !



Tags: NL26

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