In the mountains, and in samsara
Two poems on Mountain Dwelling
|立よりて||Tachiyorite||I won’t stop by|
|かげもうつさじ||kage mo utsu sa ji||at the bank of the valley stream,|
|溪川の||tanigawa no||so that my appearance is not reflected on it.|
|ながれて世にし||nagarete yo ni shi||Because I think,|
|出でんとおもへば||iden to omoeba||the water will flow|
|into the world [of samsara].|
Addenda 11 and 12 of the Shunjusha text of Dogen Zenji Wakashu (Collection of Dogen Zenji’s Waka) are titled “mountain dwelling (sankyo, 山居)” taken from a collection named Ryakugebon made by a monk named Kakugan (覚巖), who was the abbot of Entsuji in Okayama in the 19th century. We don’t know where Kakugan found these poems. Entsuji is the temple where the famous monk poet Ryokan practiced with his master Dainin Kokusen.
This waka is very similar to Addendum 1.
たちよりて かげもうつさじ かも川に みやこにいづる 水とおもへば
(Tachiyorite / kage mo utsusaji / kamogawa ni / miyako ni izuru / mizu to omoeba)
I won’t stop by / at [the bank] of Kamo river, / so that my appearance is not reflected on it. / Because I think, / the water will flow / into the capital.
The wording is a little different after the third line, but the meaning is the same. I don’t think I need to write a comment on this waka.
|山ずみの||Yama zumi no||The moon on the mountain brow|
|友とはならじ||tomo towa naraji||does not become a friend|
|峯の月||mine no tsuki||of this mountain dweller,|
|かれも浮世を||karemo ukiyo wo||Because it is also moving around|
|めぐる身なれば||meguru mi nareba||the floating world [of samsara].|
The meaning of this poem seems the same as Addenda 1 and 12. It seems Dogen is saying that he does not want to interact with the valley stream and the moon because they have connection with the mundane world. It is difficult for me to think Dogen has such a negative attitude toward the people in the mundane world. It is true that as a Zen Buddhist monk, Dogen put strong emphasis on renunciation of the fame and profit in the mundane world so that he does not rely on political and economic power. However his practice in the mountain is not an escape from the world. Also, he always loves the sounds of valley stream as Buddha’s voice and the moon as the boundless radiant light of the entirety of interdependent origination.
If Dogen really composed this waka, I hope we can read it as follows:
The moon on the mountain brow
cannot [always] accompany
this mountain dweller [alone],
because it needs to move around
and [illuminate the people in] the world [of samsara also].
The moon and the valley streams illuminate and expound the Dharma, not only for monks practicing in the secluded mountain but also for the people in the mundane world.
Translation and commentary by Shōhaku Okumura Roshi
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