Zoeken

Poetry: Empty-handed I entered the world



Japan hold a centuries-old tradition of writing “death poems". Poems written by poets in their final days of life. This is the death poem of Kozan Ichikyo, a Zen monk who died in 1360 at the age of seventy-seven.


His students recorded that Kozan Ichikyo wrote this poem on the morning of his death, laid down his brush, and died sitting upright:


"Empty-handed I entered the world Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going- Two simple happenings That got entangled."

According to this, we can say, if there is no permanence, we cannot take anything along with us into the other world—in case there is one. It is therefore nonsense to hold on so tightly our earthly possessions and dreams. Consequently, it is also senseless to cling to certain philosophies, thoughts, feelings, and values, which we take along to the grave when all is said and done. But instead of taking them to the grave with us, it is possible to already learn to let go of them during our lifetime here and now.


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Een vitaliserende plek over de dood, verlies en verdriet