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THE HIGHEST EXPLANATION
by Xiangyan Zhixian ( ? - 898, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: John Balcom

One strike and I forgot all I knew─
No more will I rely on cultivation.
I have touched the Buddha’s teaching
And will not fall into skillful explanations.
Nowhere is there found a trace,
Outside one’s speech and comportment.
Those who have attained the Way from every direction
Each say they have the highest explanation.

── from Chanzong Songgu Lianzhu Tongji (Comprehensive Collection of the Chan School’s Verses on Ancient Precedents that are a String of Jewels)


LAST YEAR’S POVERTY
English translation: Miao Guang

Last year’s poverty was never so,
only this year’s is.
Last year’s poverty may put you in a position,
this year’s will give no foothold at all.

── from Liandeng Huiyao (Collection of Essential Material of the Chan School’s Successive Records of the Lamp)