Zen travel

I was reading Three Zen Masters while on the road — a fairly monotonous three hours on land, one by air, and another hour on land again — and came across this poem by Ryokan.

Picking persimmons
My testicles are frozen
By the autumn wind.
– Ryokan (1758-1831)

It’s (nearly?) spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, not autumn, and I certainly don’t have the required anatomy, but for some reason it seemed to speak to me.

Stevens, John. Three Zen Masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin, Ryokan. Kondansha International, 1993.


2 Responses to Zen travel

  1. Soen Joon says:


    Wow…synchronicity. I just ordered this book as a “happy ordination!” present for myself.

    What’s your reaction? I basically ordered it sight unseen–er, page un-read–simply because I liked Stevens’ translations and wanted a biography for my birthday/ordination…

  2. hitchhiker72 says:

    Soen Joon,
    Happy Birthday/Ordination! The book’s good. I wouldn’t know how to describe it though. It’s not biographical in the conventional sense but I like the little anecdotes and poetry.

%d bloggers like this: