and then silence

From Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World by Kamo-no-Chomei

The morning is quiet
and I have meditated much
on the holy teaching.

This is what I ask myself—

You left the world
to live in the woods,
to quiet your mind
and live the Holy Way.

But though you appear
to be a monk
your heart is soaked in sin.

Your home is modeled on
that of Vimalakirti.
Your practices are not as mindful
as those of Suddhipanthaka.

Is your lowly life
—surely a consequence of past deeds—
troubling you now?

Has your discerning mind
just served to drive you mad?

To these questions of mind,
there is no answer.
So now
I use my impure tongue
to offer a few prayers
to Amida and then
silence.

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