Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In each other all along

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.

Ryokan's final days

for the nun Getsu Ko
Spring 1829. They walk through villages, fields and forests, spending time together, wasting time for there is nothing else to do than wasting and throwing time away to find eternity. Ryokan writes:

Chanting old poems,
Making our own verses,
Playing temari,
Together in the fields
Two people, one heart.

People often see these two wanderers walking side by side, wrapped in mists, burned by rain, soaked in sun. Teishin says:
When a mountain crow
Flies to his home
Shouldn’t he take along
His soft wing
Sweet love?

And Ryokan replies:

I’d love to take
You anywhere
I go,
But won’t people suspect us
Of being lovebirds?

Of course, he doesn’t mind people’s thoughts and judgements, he is used to be teased, swore at, and his eccentric behaviour is well known all over the area. When he plays with children throwing the ball and rolling in the mud, he has no care for appearance. “A great fool” was the name given by his master Kokusen. What he means in this poem is so simple: in his gentle way, he tells Teishin his love, this love in which Dharma and human heart are woven together.

He teaches her that every move comes from and returns to emptiness, she teaches him when she picks up a flower blown away by the wind and sustains its life in a little cup, when she caresses his old skull and just smiles.

Hand in hand, wing-to-wing, birds go so.

The breeze is fresh
The moon so bright,
Let’s dance till dawn
As a farewell to my old age.

One night, as they are just sitting side by side in the dark, Teishin takes a bowl filled with water to her lips. Ryokan stops her and without saying a single word he slowly takes the bowl from her warm hands, he rests it in the palms of his own hands and invites Teishin with a movement of his head to look at the surface of the water. As the ripples gradually fade away, shivering lights start to appear in the bowl, shimmering flames of light. There, the whole night sky lives and breathes within a circle of pure transparency. The full moon and even the grey figures of passing clouds are laid out there.

Then, beaming like a child beholding something wonderful, he carefully places the living bowl into Teishin’s palms and invites her to drink again. She brings it to her lips. Slowly, very slowly, she drinks the water filled with moon, stars and clouds, a pure gift of the boundless presence, a pure gift of the foolish monk’s caring love. Teishin feels the whole night sky permeating her entire being.

Ryokan doesn’t say a word, he looks at her, he looks into her eyes for a long moment and then he says:

“Circle in circle, night in night, Teishin, where are we now but in a simple bowl?”Ryokan strokes Teishin’s hair and skin with his long dark fingers, he softly blows on her face. She rests her head on his shoulder and lets go of her body. The old monk takes the bowl and with a gentle smile throws it to the ground. The bowl breaks into pieces.

Up above, in the vast reaches, clouds, moon and stars are now filled with Ryokan and Teishin’s eyes.

kesa made of eveything and nothing

Moon and beggars

Enso, Niwa Zenji, collection particulière
poem written for the nun Getsu Ko Teishin
four years ago

The moon is a bright pearl
For the beggar

The beggar’s eyes a broken mirror
For the moon
Be a simple weed
Deed given
To the open

La lune est perle brillante
pour le mendiant

Les yeux du mendiant sont miroir
pour la lune
Sois herbe simple
geste offert
à l'ouvert

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wishing. Merry Christmas!!!

Sanjusangen-do is so beautiful at dusk. Please, go there. Please. The sweet golden glow of the evening light stokes the 1001 golden statues. Inside the temple, I pick up a wooden slat. It is one of many that will be burned during a ritual called "Goma". I have to write down a wish and my name. I am just left there with the wood and the pen and my mind is getting mad and crazy with all sorts of wishes and expectations. It is like a merry-go-round of deluded thoughts, very familiar friends arising in sitting Zen. After a while, I come to the conclusion that my only wish is the following line: … OK, you might want to know it but there is nothing personal about it. It is about everybody. All human beings. See, nothing exciting. Just the wish that they could be a father Christmas for everyone, and not just on Christmas day. Everyday. Every Now. And not a father Christmas that brings presents and toys, but rather, a very unsual one that would take everything away. So I write down this wish and sign with my monk’s name and nickname. In the next few days it will be thrown with many others in the furnace with great sutras and solemn rituals. I don’t know if it is going to work… Wanting sex, satisfaction or food is easy, but wishing this is pure madness. It is impossible to fulfil. I cannot reach it ( not with my deluded practice, and by the way, what then the value of my wish?). Nevertheless, one breath, one moment when one can hold that wish and let it go, release it into the unknown… are enough to bring it to life. Goma takes place before it happens.

As I make my way out of the long wooden hall, the lively pond talks to me. Whispering koi. Singing ripples of a waterfall. I go there. I sit there. Loving it. In the water, a huge fire rages. In the water set ablaze, the wish starts to live.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The majesty, la majesté

When it's cold and raining,
you are more beautiful.
And the snow brings me
even closer to your lips.
The inner secret, that which was never born,
you are that freshness, and I am with you now.
I can't explain the goings,
or the comings. You enter suddenly,
and I am nowhere again.
Inside the majesty.

Dans le froid et la pluie
tu es encore plus belle.
Et la neige me rapproche
de tes lèvres.
Le secret inérieur, qui n'a nul commencement:
tu es fraîcheur, et je suis avec toi, maintenant.
Je ne peux expliquer les allées et venues.
Tu entres soudainement,
et je me retrouve nulle part, encore,
dans cette majesté.

Djalal Al-dîn Rumi

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Fuji en Automne

Pour Ogatine

Les étoiles, la lumière sur les choses, les vallées, les arbres innombrables et le bleu sans fin des eaux te regardent depuis toujours. Aujourd'hui ils ont pris et ma forme et ma voix pour te dire combien ton existence leur est précieuse. Je ne suis que le messager d'une immensité que je ne comprends même pas. Cela s'appelle aimer dans la langue des hommes.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The bad son/ le mauvais fils, l'amour des montagnes bleues

Not being an arse licker, enjoying talking bullshit and being very vain is a pretty fair way to describe my appalling behaviour. My teacher certainly agrees with this: what I am doing, thinking, writing is just useless. Love? Poetry? Taking stupid pictures? Enjoying life, wine,beauty? A complete loss of time. Could not agree more myself. I am not trying to clarify anything or give the whole world Dharma lessons, how could I? So?....That's it. That's all I am worth, a bit of noise, cheap poems, a few more years (maybe) and then...Nothing. Yet, I treasure every second of this useless life and follow only one precept. Worse than anything else, I don't feel guilty and bad about it. And Don't worry, it is not a sad story. I am in very good hands. Very good hands indeed. I left my father's home. As he shouts in the distance, the bad son treads along. Getting lost in the Blue mountains.

Dire de moi que je ne lèche pas le cul des autres, que j'apprecie raconter des conneries et que je suis un être vain et futile est une desciption assez juste de ma conduite déplorable. Mon maître est certainement d'accord sur ce point: tout ce que je fais, pense ou écris est sans valeur ni utilité. Aimer? la poèsie? Prendre des photographies stupides? Apprécier la vie, le vin, la beauté? ...Une perte complète de temps. Je ne pourrais certainement dire le contraire. Je ne tente même pas d'éclairer quoique ce soit ou d'enseigner le Dharma au monde entier. Comment pourrais-je? Alors?...Voilà! C'est tout ce que je vaux: un peu de bruit, quelques mauvais poèmes, ajoutez quelques annéees (peut-être) et puis...pouf! plus rien. Mais voilà, j'aime et chéris cette existence inutile plus que tout et ne peux suivre qu'un seul précepte. Pire que tout, je ne me sens coupable de rien. Pas d'inquiètude! Ce n'est pas si triste! Je suis en de bonnes mains, en de très bonnes mains. J'ai quitté la maison de mon père et alors qu'il hurle là-bas, le mauvais fils va cahin-caha. Il va perdre ses pas dans les montagnes bleues.

le seuil de ton visage


harusame ya keburi no waki wa imo ga kado


Pluie de printemps
aux abords de la fumée
la porte de ma bien aimée

spring rain--
at the edge of the smoke
my lover's gate

Je réponds à Issa ces trois vers maladroits:

Pour Og...

A petits pas de pluie
Tu viens
vers moi

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Le voyage immobile

Automne, derrière Peredur, Sussex, Grande Bretagne

Pour petite française
Te prendre la main
juste la main
dans l'espace
d'un battement de cils
traverser l'immensité
de mille matins
Boire tous deux
à cette même coupe
Le vent du Printemps

Empty hands

Daruma, collection particulière

Pour Alain L.

Mains vides
Dans lesquelles
Toutes les choses passent
Et disparaissent

Le manteau des Buddhas
Est cousu de neige, de temps, de saisons,
Le bec des hérons
Transperce l’œil jusqu’au ciel

Se perdre ici, sans dedans ni dehors
Se perdre
Et perdre ici
Et perdre même perdre

Empty hands
In which
Everything comes and goes

Buddha’s mantel
Is sewn with snow, time, seasons,

The beak of herons
Gets through the eye
Here, to be lost
To be lost
To loose here
To loose even loosing itself

L' ancienne loi

On enseigne jamais que ce que l’on ignore
On apprend seulement ce que l’on sait déjà.

We teach what we don’t know
And only learn what is already known.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Pour Og... Mon âme

L’oiseau quand il vole
Ne laisse aucune trace

La truite d’or
Fraye seule, invisible, détachée

Un enfant ( que j’étais hier encore)
Jette des pierres sur l’onde calme
Alors que les ronds se dissipent
En touchant le ciel
L’univers se met à chanter

Danse dépourvue de traces

Du vide avec lui-même

The bird in its flight
Doesn’t leave any trail behind

The golden trout
Swim unnoticed, unseen, untied

A child (thatI was yesterday)
Throw stones in the still waters
As ripples vanish, reaching the sky
The whole universe sings

Traceless dance
Of nothingness with itself

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Porte ultime

Nyoi hoju, collection particulière
Cette nuit est pure merveille. Toi, à mes côtés. Ce fleuve. Notre danse. Ton sommeil sur mon épaule. Ce poème de Rohân Koda, je l'ai trouvé ce soir juste avant de partir pour Kyoto. Je comprends maintenant pourquoi.

Au clair de lune
je laisse ma barque
pour entrer dans le ciel
In the moonlight
I leave my fishing boat
to enter the whole sky

la poésie, malgré toi

Pour Og...

Tu dis trouver la poésie difficile, impénétrable.

Et pourtant, ta manière de marcher, de sourire, de danser, de virvolter, de parler et même de tomber est poème.

L'ombre et la lumière sont purs paysages, en toi.

For Og...

You tell me you find poetry difficult, that you can't get into it.

And yet, the way you walk, smile, dance, whirl, speak and even fall is but a poem.

In you, Light and shadow are pure landscapes.

Pétales morts
Joyaux éphémères
Des pagodes
Dying petals
Evanescent jewels
Of pagodas

Enfer et Paradis

Ici, en Enfer et Paradis, je danse.

Here, in Heaven and Hell, I dance.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Papillons et caniveau, Gutters and butterfly

君や蝶 我や荘子が 夢心
Kimi ya chô ware ya sôshi ga yume-gokoro
You the butterfly – I, Chuang Tzu's dreaming heart.
Tu es papillon, et moi, coeur rêvant de Chuang Tzu.

Matsuo Bashô

Le rêve confond le sage et le papillon. Les fleurs dans le vent, l'eau dans le creux de ta main, la querelle des voisins, la foule, la ville immense et ses lumières sont rêves et rêvés. Pour te trouver ici, il suffit d'abandonner le visage dans le caniveau.

The dream merges sage and butterfly. Flowers in the wind, water in your hand, neighbours having a row, the crowd, the huge city and its lights are dreams and dreamt. To find you here, one has just to drop one's face in the gutter.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dharma du rossignol

Légèreté de l'oiseau qui n'a pas besoin pour chanter de posséder la forêt, pas même un seul arbre.

Christian Bobin

Lightness of the bird : it doesn't have to own the forest, not even a single tree, to sing.

Christian Bobin


Pour H...

La pluie commence à tomber partout. Grâce. Une pluie lourde, abondante. Quelqu'un me disait combien elle se sentait déprimée avec cette pluie. J'ai juste voulu répondre quelque chose, un petit poème qui doit à peu près dire ceci:

Touchée par la pluie
même la poussière
Rain. Everywhere. Grace. Very heavy rain. Somebody was telling me how depressed she was feeling with all that rain. I just wanted to say something and wrote a small poem that roughly says this:
Touched by this rain
even the dust

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Happy crow

As you walk in Spring
Even if
have vanished
the true flower
has never left

Alors que tu marches
dans le Printemps
même si les pétales
se sont évanouis
la vraie fleur
n'a jamais quitté
tes mains

what is behind an open door?

In Kyoto, many gates, many doors. Glass and light playing a loving game.If you go through one of these doors, the one of this old restaurant , you may find that they serve a dish made of clouds. The best kept secrets are often found behind open doors.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The touch of your hand
in this rain

En cette pluie
Ta main
Me touche

IT, Cela, the infinite circle.

Presence is most mysterious. Manifested everywhere, it cannot be grasped. Not a single corner of this: sorrow, pain, dirt, delusion, frustation, depression remains untouched by IT. Brightness of shade and darkness. Once one stops blaming oneself and others, IT is. You think you have lost your friend, your job, your beloved, your teacher? So what? Kuma San! Wake up to this: IT has never ever lost you.

La présence est des plus mystèrieuses. Manifestée partout elle est néanmoins insaisissable. Il n'est pas un seul recoin de cette réalité: tristesse, douleur, saleté, illusion, frustration, dépression qui ne soit touché par "Cela". Tu penses que tu as perdu tes amis, ton boulot, ta bien-aimée, ton maître? Et alors? Kuma San! Eveille-toi à cette vérité: "Cela" ne t'a jamais perdu.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Irish fiddler

Waterfall and rainbow, Fuji area

This music

Green landscape
a broken blue
Sea, truly seen
Never ceasing
Mad gulls
Hitting the void
Shouting like drunks
And fools
Knotted Hair of Banshees
Sweet voices of fairies
Dropping they Dew made robe
Fire, blaze of the soul
Twisted old trees
praying, burning
Wordless tale
Needle and thread
made of air
Lament of destitutes
Pride of the poor
Gold of dreamers
And lovers alike
This music
When I close my eyes
your silence hugging me

in You

in You alone
This music
Cette musique
Vert paysage
Sur bleu cassé

Mer, toujours muée
Jamais cessée

Goélands cinglés
Frappant le vide
Hurlant comme
ivrognes et fous

Cheveu noué des Banshees
Souffles des fées
lachant leur robes de rosée

Feu, incendie de l’âme
Vieux arbres tordus et torves
Priant, brûlant

Contes sans parole
Aiguille et fil d’air

Lamentation des indigents
Orgueil des mendiants

Or des rêveurs
Des amants

Cette musique


Fermant les yeux
Ton silence m’embrassant
En toi

En toi seule

Cette musique

Saturday, May 13, 2006

happy indulgence

My indulgence is to love. Things ordinary people treasure, I treasure too. Name it: coolness of a evening breeze, eyes of a laughing child, sweet velvet of a great wine, love making, mountains and valleys, birds, food, being stupid, a good movie, touching somebody's hand, being on my own and reading stupid stuff, writing endless useless poems that hardly anybody will read, music and music again, silence and presence merged... It's a much longer list. It boils down to love, and love again. None of it is what I can call me. Nothing I can call "me". But all of it makes this fake something wandering in the big world. A bit of everything and a lot of nothing. Vain? Yeah. Weak? Yeah. Not a mighty tiger or a fighter. A lazy pussy cat, for sure.

the world for robe

The man in the clouds and cliffs
with one thin robe
in autumn he lets the leaves fall
in spring he lets the trees bloom
he sleeps through the Three Realms free of concerns
with moonlight and wind for his home.

Han Shan

L'homme dans les nuées et les falaises
vétu d'une simple robe
en automne, il laisse les feuilles tomber
en été, il laisse les arbres fleurir
il dort dans les trois mondes libéré de tout souci
avec la la lune et le vent pour seule demeure


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Life temple

Since I arrived in Japan, I am asked everyday: "Which temple do you belong to?" And I always answer:"life temple". Japanese people don't seem to understand what I mean, they politely smile. Here you have to belong. I don't want to belong anymore.

Cobalt and turquoise
Iridescent waters

Birds thrown
On the stream
Bouncing like pebbles

Grey Heron
Of dusk

Furtive taste of frothy

In the temple of things
Not a gate, not an altar
To be found

In the temple of things
We are nothing
But clouds

Cobalt et turquoise
A l’aplomb
de l’eau irisée

oiseaux lancés
en ricochet
sur l’onde

Héron cendré
Du Soir

Goût du thé vert
Et furtif

Au temple des choses
Ni porte, ni autel

Au temple des choses
Nous ne sommes que nuages

Goodbye fundamentalism

I see nothing wrong with passion, love and life. I see nothing bad about being happy, sad and alive. I see joy and beauty and art and poetry and music as most essential companions. Religions will almost always take you away from the simplicity of being. They are made by bitter people who condemn themselves and others with great glee. Glued to remorse, sadness and judgements. Religions are made of books, temples, bank accounts, gold and… plenty of self-hatred. All around Japan, I can see it. In the West, it’s pretty clear. I can see it in my teachers. They’ll tell you that the teacher that humiliates you and spit on you is great! He or she even does this for your own good and because he or she is really humble... Sorry guys, I don’t buy this anymore. Kannon is not a statue. Sitting Zen doesn’t have to be a rigid crusade. We are not all rotten and fake and guilty. In the true eyes of a brook, of mountains and leaves, of beautiful children, boys and girls, those preaching these bitter words are unheard, unseen.
Tell me, what is the religion of grass, trees, blossoms, concrete, rocks, stars? Enough is enough. I am lost forever, folks: deluded, full of indulgence and foolish. I am by far the worst. And I don’t care. Zazen is true joy. Goodbye Fundamentalism. Goodbye.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Eikando Zenriji

This morning
through the open window
Crows spoke
for the first time
since you left

A mantle of rain
is dropped on all things
the taste of your lips
Ce matin
Par la fenêtre ouverte
Les corbeaux me parlèrent
pour la première fois
depuis ton départ
Un manteau de pluie
glisse sur toutes choses
Le goût de tes lèvres


Le parfum
Des fleurs de Mai
Tisse et dissipe
Le rêve

In May
The flower fragrance
Weaves the dream
And makes it vanish

the rose once lost...

Space making love to itself
Blissful dance
A curtain of mountains
Spacious scenery of the mind
Spit in my begging bowl
Rain, blossoms, tears, giggles
I fail and fall
And yet
This pearl in the fish’s mouth
The hollow bell
The seal
And the river flowing before our eyes

And yet
Beloved Rose,
once lost, blooming
Blooming, blooming
In everyone and everything

L’espace fait l’amour à lui-même
Danse heureuse
Un rideau de montagnes
Paysage spacieux de l’esprit
Des crachats dans mon bol
Pluie et pétales, pleurs et rires
J’échoue et je tombe
Et pourtant
Cette perle dans la gueule du poisson
La cloche vide
Le sceau
Et la rivière qui va devant nos yeux

Et pourtant toi
Rose bien aimée
Une fois perdue
Tu éclos, éclos
En chacun et toutes choses

Monday, May 08, 2006

Vraie fleur

蘭の香や てふの翅に たき物す
Ran no ka ya chô no tsubasa ni takimono su

Orchid – breathing incense into butterfly's wings.

Bashô's poem is also yours. Is there a single place where you cannot get caught by the scent of the true flower?

Orchidée, tu parfumes les ailes du papillon.

Le poème de Bashô est aussi écrit par vous. Y-a-t-il un seul endroit au monde où vous ne soyez pas saisi par le parfum de la vraie fleur?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

La Belle et la Bête

Josette Day et Jean Marais ?

Selon Jean de l'étoile dit Jean Cocteau, les cinq secrets du royaume de la Bête sont la rose, cueillie par Belle, le miroir, reminiscence du cinématographe, le gant, instrument de la grace, le cheval appelé "Le Magnifique" à la robe d'écume et la clef d'or de la verrière. Quand Jean filme, il filme l'amour et joue avec le temps. Les statues s'éveillent, les chandeliers s'ouvrent portés par des rangées de mains, la fumée s'élève des visages de pierre de de la Bête amoureuse et passionnée, d'invisibles prodiges sont ici rendus visibles. Ce poème n'a ni sens ni signification cachée. Il ouvre une fenêtre sur un trésor bien présent, bien là. Le vôtre.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


written two weeks ago, for all of us

Faces I love fade away like pictures in the sand.
Blue gold and sea took me here.

In the temple
I sing the heart Sutra
My face
washed with tears
fades away too.

La rose

Pour un certain Neutrino

Tu es la rose tant recherchée depuis des siècles par tant de navigateurs, de princes et de nomades, de guerriers, de poètes et même de marchands. Il y a longtemps de cela, j’ai entendu parler de toi. Je croyais pouvoir ne jamais te trouver, pas alors que j’ai revêtu la forme d’un moine-mendiant et surtout pas ici.
Mes maîtres me l’ont dit : pour te trouver, je dois te perdre.
Dehors, il pleut.

For a particular Neutrino

You are the rose that so many sailors, princes and nomads, knights, poets and even merchants have sought for centuries. I heard about you a long time ago. I thought I would never find you as I am in the most unexpected form of a monk and beggar; and certainly not here.

My teachers have taught me that to find you, I have to let you go.

It’s raining outside.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dance with Kannon

Do not spare me
Break my flesh
into a thousand waves

Turn my thoughts
Into tears
My chatter into silence
My pride into you

And tear myself up
Feed all this with it
Feed the birds
Feed my teacher’s hunger
Feed the poor
Feed all this with it

Break me
Do not spare me
Dance, still light
Naked, naked
Skin my feelings
Crush my bones
Sky burial
Bite my lips, lick my tongue
Kiss me
Your flesh close to mine
Kiss me, kill me

The non dual taste
Your breath in mine

The true seal
Space to space given

The true joy
Your joy in mine intertwined

The true robe
The robe of things
Your robe

Do not spare me
take me
Break me
Into a thousand waves