Zen Vows For the Everyday

Inspired by Robert Aitken Roshi and Thich Nhat Hanh, I’ve begun composing simple verses which help align me with the Zen way for those countless everyday jobs — washing the dishes (of course), but also answering the phone, driving in heavy traffic, “reading scholarly comments,” etc., etc., etc.

As a sample, Gatha #16 in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Present Moment, Wonderful Moment reads:

Entering the meditation room,
I see my true self.
As I sit down,
I vow to cut off all disturbances.

Using Aitken-roshi’s poetic meter,* this is my adaptation.

Entering the zendo
I vow with all beings
to cut off all disturbances
and see this true self.


* See Zen Vows for Daily Life by Robert Aitken.