Inside the Grass Hut

SL380772No, I haven’t changed plans – I am still moving to the barn conversion in Cromford on Tuesday. Inside the Grass Hut is the name of a book by Ben Connelly. It is subtitled Living Shitou’s Classic Zen Poem and is a commentary on Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage. The more observant of you will have previously noticed a quote from the poem at the top right of the page on this website, and some of you will know that this poem is part of the inspiration for Sitting Buddha Hermitage.

Here are the final lines:

Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.
Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
Are only to free you from obstructions.
If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
Don’t separate from this skin bag here and now.

Shitou Xiqian was a Zen monk in 8th Century China. Those us us practising in the Soto Zen tradition are more familiar with the Japanese rendering of his name – Sekito Kisen – and another poem of his – Sandokai – which forms part of Morning Service at Soto Zen temples.

Ben Connelly’s commentary talks about the simple life of Zen practice described in the poem and how we can follow it in our own lives. Many thanks to my Dharma sister, Rev. Oriana, in the USA for giving me the tip off – I bought it immediately!

And on a completely different subject, how many of you knew that pheasants eat crocuses? Those beautiful crocus buds in the photo on my last post – all gone. I caught him nibbling the last one. There are daffs and tulips to come in the same pot, but I’ll be moved by then and I don’t expect pheasants in Cromford, but who knows?

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4 thoughts on “Inside the Grass Hut

  1. betty

    Hi, the alter and room look beautiful. I thank you for showing ‘lnside the Grass Hut’ l have treated myself to a copy and love it. I did wonder if there is a chant to hear somewhere? All the best x

    1. Alicia Post author

      Hi Betty, I wondered the same thing and have searched the websites of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and googled around but can’t find anything. It would be interesting to hear how they do it wouldn’t it? Perhaps I’ll email and ask, I imagine a lot of people who read the book will be interested too.

  2. PA

    Ha! I had the same thing with my crocuses! Thought it was a muntjac but do also get a regular visit from a pheasant, so that explains it.
    I read that poem before my daily sits – those lines you quoted are my faves.
    Good luck with the move!

    1. Alicia Post author

      Thanks Pascal. The author of the book, Ben Connelly, and the translator of the poem, Taigen Dan Leighton, have both added the chanting of this poem to the liturgy of their respective temples – Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre and Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago – now there’s an idea!

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