yama uba   A zen play by Matsumoto      page      2



It is a long, long journey.

How many mountains have they climbed?

How many bridges have they passed?

Now, Kyoto is far away.

They have finally reached the river on the border.


Here we are, madam.

We are on the border.

Please take some rest.

In the mean time, I will ask the villagers how we can get to the Temple.


They always say Heaven is ten thousand billion leagues away.

We are on our straight way to Buddha’s temple.

Once one visits it, he is saved.

When he dies, Buddha will come and take him to Heaven.

We should leave our palanquins here and walk up to the mountain pass of Agero on barefoot.

Buddha will appreciate our effort.

You see, this is our journey of mortification.


How strange!

It is not about time the sun set, but it’s getting dark!

What can we do, madam?!



Hello, hello?


Two tourists over there!

[Enter Hag]

You are looking for a night’s lodging, aren’t you?

Dogen's «Shobogenzo» is definitely a good book, but it is probably too voluminous for you to read. Besides, is it possible to translate this kind of literature? For example, how can you translate 法華転法華 [hokke ten hokke] into English? An answer can be not to translate it at all and ask you to read «Yama Uba». What the lady of the mountain is doing is this 法華転法華 [hokke ten hokke].

Still too abstract? In that case, Daisetez Suzuki's «Manual of Zen» is handy. There are plenty of references to old Zen writings, and it is originally written in English. It is not a translation. The author is a Japanese scholar with an excellent command of English.

Still too "oriental"? For those who want to comprehend what Life is and apply the teachings for day-to-day life, Rene Egli's «The LOL2A Principle» is helpful. He is an ex-businessman from Switzerland and organizes conferences to corporate workers. Two feet on the ground and meta-physical at the same time.

the playwright's recommendation

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