Coming empty handed, going empty handed, that is human
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, Where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud, which appears.
Death is like a floating cloud, which disappears.
The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.
Life and death, coming and going, are also like that.
But there is one thing that always remains clear.
It is pure and clear,
Not depending on life and death.
Then what is the one and clear thing?
Alasdair comments: I said at the time that I thought this was written by Seung Sahn Sunim (founder of the Kwan Um School of Zen), but it turns out its origin is less certain, and perhaps dates back to T’ang dynasty China (618-907CE). Not sure how true this is, or how to evaluate it, but I suspect that Seung Sahn at least wrote the last line.