Song of Zazen

Hakuin Zenji’s Song of Zazen

All beings by nature are Buddha
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.

How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst;
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.

Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the six worlds;
From dark path to dark path-
When shall we be freed from birth and death?

For this the zazen of the Mahayana
Deserves the highest praise:
Generosity, patience, self-discipline,
The many paramitas_
All rise within zazen.

Those who try zazen even once
Wipe away their old deluded ways,
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land is near.

Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with an open heart,
Treasuring it, embracing it,
Gain blessings without end.

Much more, those who turn about
And directly realize Self-nature,
giving proof to the truth that Self-nature is no-nature
Go far beyond mere doctrine.

Here cause and effect are the same,
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Coming and going, we are never astray.
With thought that is no-thought,
Singing and dancing at the voice of the Dharma.
Boundless and free is the sky of Samadhi.
Bright the full moon of wisdom!

At this moment what more do we need to seek?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes.
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.