Poems by Zen Master Mamiya


(Japan, early twentieth century)

Sometimes there is the opportunity
But not the capital;
Sometimes there is the capital
But not the opportunity;
Rarely, very rarely, come at the same time
Opportunity and capital both—
But then I am not there myself.
Oh this world!


A gentleman came to see me
With talk of a remarkable investment.
‘Sir, I am a penniless priest;
All I can give is the treasure of satori
Which ends sufferings for ever. . . .’
But he had left,
But he had left.


On a lotus leaf sits a frog,
His hands folded, his mind still,
In meditation.
Look out, look out!
Behind him a hungry snake,
Searching for food, is putting out its tongue.
Does he know? Does he not know? The frog
Sits in meditation with closed eyes.
Look out, look out!