Bob Schwartz

Tag: Song of the Grass Hut

Ben Zoma Inside Out

The person in the hut lives here calmly,
not stuck to inside, outside, or in-between.
Song of the Grass Hut

Gone Beyond
Gone Completely Beyond
Heart Sutra

Ben Zoma Inside Out

Ben Zoma in the grass hut
Waters above
Waters below.
What does Rabbi Joshua know?
Sekito knows
Ben Zoma is outside
Inside and in-between.
Gone completely beyond.

Note: Creating, whatever your material, can be like the proverbial dog with a bone. There is sometimes spontaneity, done and gone, and then there is the idea that won’t go away. In that case, the idea is actually the dog and you are the bone. A previous version of this poem can be found here. Who knows what the next version, if any, will look like? Not me.

Everything Is Standing In Your Way


Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
are only to free you from obstructions.
Shitou Xiqian (700-790), Song of the Grass Hut

Everything is standing in your way. Everything.

That would seem to make getting rid of things in your way a primary mission. Except it isn’t.

As Shitou says in his Song of the Grass Hut, getting rid of obstructions is not it. All of the words of wisdom and the beliefs and practices that go with them are only to free you from obstructions, not get rid of them. He even implies that the words and interpretations are themselves just added obstructions.

Everything is standing in your way. If you start today to haul everything off, you will be at it forever. Life as a trash hauler. If you free yourself from those things, they will still be there, but they may no longer be in your way. At least not as much in the way as it seems.

The Cathedral and the Grass Hut


“I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value.
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.”

Grander than grand.
Splendid glory
Magic carpet
Of gold and glass
Whisks us away
To God’s neighborhood.
The grass hut reminds us
That houses and vehicles
Are just that.
Means not
Journey or destination.

“A shining window below the green pines—
jade palaces or vermilion towers can’t compare with it.”

Quotes from Song of the Grass Hut by Shitou Xiqian (700–790), translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Kazuaki Tanahashi.