Ten years in the brothels — hard to wear out desire


Ten years in the brothels — hard to wear out desire;
I force myself to live in empty hills, a dark ravine.
Those pleasant places — countless miles of clouds shut them from me now;
tall pines — harsh in my ear, winds above the roof.


Who is the true transmitter of Rinzai's line?
These elegant ones with their pretty boys attending?
One bowl of muddy wine, three thousand poems —
I laugh at Zen monks who don't know their Zen.


Contemplating the Law, reading sutras, trying to be a real master;
yellow robes, the stick, the shouts, till my wooden seat's all crooked;
but it seems my real business was always in the muck,
with my great passion for women, and for boys as well.


Blind Mori night after night tends my singing;
under the quilts, two mandarin ducks, we whisper our love once more,
once more her vow, " till the dawn of Maitreya's preaching, "
for an old buddha who's been here all along, ten thousand springs!


The tree had withered, leaves fallen, then spring came round again;
the green grew out, blossoms were born, old vows made anew —
oh Mori, if I forget the great debt I owe you,
for endless kalpas let me be born a beast!
Author of original: 
Ikkyu Sojun
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