negi nukishi ato nozoki ori sou hitori
a leek pulled out
peering deep into the hole
a buddhist monk
Shuson Kato (1905-1993): Translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay
Buddhist monks in the Far East can farm their food, rather than relying completely on begging, as is common in sects further west. This is especially true of Zen sects, where "A day without work is a day without food" is a common motto. As one might expect from a monk, rather than being fixated on the food now lying before them in the form of an edible vegetable, the monk's inquisitiveness is directed at the hole from whence it came. The hole would not have existed without the leek being present but now the leek is gone and the hole is still there. Why?
Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay