from a forthcoming collection, Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

It is possible to reach other worlds

without the use of technology. The

different truths of those worlds are

a great value, and of great personal

comfort. — Trade Minister Tagomi,

The Man in the High Castle

Serpentine trail through rocks and trees.

City far behind.

Shuffling of feet.

Walking staff in hand.



Entering the within.


Stone bridge.


Green hillock.

First taste of mist.

Quiet valley.

Moonlit lake.

Silent mountain.



Emptying out.

Emptying out into Empty-Silence.

Resting at Inner Radiance Pavilion.

Pushing onward to Blooming Void Precipice.

Bathed in clouds.

Weeping at the sight.



Emptying out.

Sitting like a mountain.

Ch’an stillness.

Inner merges with outer.

No divisions.

No obstacles.

No encumbrances.

Eyes settle softly on the land.

No divisions.

No obstacles.

No encumbrances.

Heart-Mind becomes the quiet valley.

Heart-Mind becomes the moonlit lake.

Heart-Mind becomes the silent mountain.

The traveler

could be anyone

in any pristine place.

Students of the East Mountain School recount

a curious monk once asked Master Hongren:

Why do we enter the mountains rather than study

the way of awakening in the city?

Hongren replied:

One should find refuge for the spirit

in remote mountain valleys, sidestepping

troubles of the dusty world. One should

nourish their true nature in deep mountains, keeping

away from worldly affairs for an extended time.

When not always confronting common affairs,

the mind will naturally become at ease. Studying Zen

in this way is like planting a tree. The end result bears fruit.

— from the Xiu Xin Yao Lun (trans. John R. McRae)

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Sylvan Rotation / Meridian [EX] / Ascendant