Priest Senkei, a true man of the Way!
He worked in silence — no extra words for him.
For thirty years he stayed in Kokusen's community.
He never did meditation, never read the sutras.
And never said a word about Buddhism,
Just worked for the good of all.
I saw him but did not really see him;
I met him but did not really meet him;
Ah, he is impossible to imitate.
Priest Senkei, a true man of the Way!
— Ryokan


I read about a woman
Who chose cleaning
As her path
To enlightenment.

Rather than beads,
A toilet brush and broom,
From door to door
And train station, too,
Like a servant
Who had been given an example.

What if . . .
Instead of sitting with 'om'
In my inner-city monastery
I asked my neighbor's permission
And cleaned the sidewalks
Each morning, raking
Leaves, sweeping litter.

Only one block . . .
One block at a time."
— Mary Lou Kownacki