Confined Poems

By Marc Hôgen Van der Maat
Kannon dojo - Brussels
may 2020



accès    vers    le    temple    d’AntajiEntrance to Antaiji temple




C o n f i n e d   P o e m s

of an idiot monk





The dojo at Antaiji


The dojo is full of emptiness

that we, each in our own way,

confined to our own home,

under rooftops or under foliage,

fill up with silence...


How we yearn to breathe

again the normality of our lives of yesteryear!

When will it finally be?

May we also aspire to practice

Seriously at last, to life and death!

When will it finally happen?

As the Patriarchs and

the Masters of Transmission showed us.

Their moss-covered tombs whisper to us

softly:                     when will it finally be?



Cemetery where Master Kobo Daishi is buried


On his hospital bed, an old monk

continues to practice

as best as he can, how he can.

In the luxury of our confinement in

a still healthy body-mind,

let's follow his example

Not for us, but for him,

for all the sick people and for all beings

in all universes and of all times




Has the sangha been reduced to a virtual unreality

by the unavoidable confinement mask?

Yes, if I don't actually practice every morning, alone,

in my home, in communion with my sisters and brothers in Dharma,

somewhere, at home and truly alone as well.

May the beneficial Bodaishin virus spread itself everywhere

and blossom in all hearts, through our solitary practice, but

in solidarity with the great sangha of the suffering humanity.




I am far too stupid

To become Buddha.

But I want to help the others

To go to the other side.


Master Dôgen


Tags: NL30

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