(brought up from the vaults to see daylight)

There’s a tree that existed before the woods,
In age twice as old.
Its roots suffered as the valley changed,
Its leaves deformed by wind and frost.
People all laugh at its withered aspect,
Caring nothing about the core’s beauty.
When the bark is stripped off,
Only essence remains.

– Han Shan (early 9th century)

There are two paths to practice. One is to place oneself under the guidance of a virtuous and wise teacher, enduring the severity of the restrictions and bearing the accompanying pain and difficulty. The other is to practice in solitude in a quiet place. I realize that there are many people here in this mountain temple, and that there are many obstacles to practice. It would seem as though practice by oneself should be easier. However, there is always danger that one will become lazier due to the relaxation in one’s schedule.

– Myoe (1185-1333)


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