Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Monday, March 6, 2017

Selected Haibun: Whispers in the Wind

budding lotus
in dappled sunlight
her laughter

We meet on a campus footpath after class. I’m eager to share today’s lesson with her.

A Zen master and his disciple walk by a maple tree. The disciple notices its branches swaying gracefully in the wind, and asks, "Master, is it the branches that are moving, or the wind?"  The master replies, "What is moving is neither the branches nor the wind, it is your heart and mind."

She turns toward me, her lips curved into a soft smile.

Philosopher's Walk
a squirrel in the path
looking to and fro

(Japanese Translation by Writers in Kyoto


Haibun Today, 6:1 March 2012.

Note: The Zen story above originated from koan 29 -- Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving -- in The Gateless Gate, a collection of 48 Zen koans complied by the Chinese Zen master Wumen Hui-kai. The book was published in 1228. Various story versions of koan 29 have been widely popularized.