"Unbeaten by Rain" – A poem

While at the temple one last Sunday morning, I was carrying Baby around during the service trying to calm her down. It seems she was spooked by the audience clapping at one point (awards were being handed out). So, while quietly roaming the halls, I stumbled upon an old Japanese Buddhist poem that someone had framed and hung on the wall. It was a really beautiful poem, so I looked up the author on Google, and to my surprise he’s a famous Japanese Buddhist poet named Kenji Miyazawa. Apparently he suffered from a disease called pleurisy his whole life, and was very devoted to the Lotus Sutra.

Anyways, the name of the poem is “Unbeaten by Rain“. The original poem was posted at the Manitoba Buddhist Church and goes like so:

Amenimo Makezu (Unbeaten by Rain)
by Kenji Miyazawa

Unbeaten by rain
Unbeaten by wind
Neither by the snow nor the summer heat
Having a healthy body
Freed from greed
Never getting angry
Always smiling quietly
Having four cups of brown rice a day
With miso and a small amount of vegetables
Doing all things
Without calculating selfish ego
Seeing, asking, and understanding these things well
And not forgetting
In the shadow of the pine forest in the field
Living in a small thatched house
If there is a sick child in the east
Go and take care of him
If there is an exhausted mother in the west
Go and carry a bunch of rice stalks for her
If there is a man near death in the south
Go and tell him not to be afraid
If there is a fight and a court case in the north
Go and persuade them to stop it
because it is not worth it
Shedding tears on a scorching day
Walking with worry on a cool summer day
Being called a fool by everyone
Neither to be praised,
Nor to be worried
Such a person I want to be

Translated by Fujuwara Sensei, Vancouver Buddhist Temple
Source: Rev. Fujikawa, Vancouver
April 15, 2000

I think this poem is really, really cool. Beyond all the doctrinal stuff, I think this is what speaks to the heart of Buddhism.

Namo Amida Butsu

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2 Comments on “"Unbeaten by Rain" – A poem”

  1. Jeanie Dubberley says:

    I read this beautiful poem today for the first time, in a version somewhat different from yours. I thought you might be interested in this translation:

    Unbeaten by rain
    Unbeaten by wind
    Unbowed by the snow and the summer heat
    Strong in body

    Free from greed
    Without any anger
    Always serene

    With a handful of brown rice a day
    Miso and a small amount of vegetables suffice

    Whatever happens
    Consider yourself last, always put others first
    Understand from your observation and experience
    Never lose sight of these things

    In the East, if there is a sick child
    Go there and take care of him
    In the West, if there is an exhausted mother
    Go there and relieve her of her burden
    In the South, if there is a man near death
    Go there and comfort him, tell him
    “Don’t be afraid”
    In the North, if there is an argument and a legal dispute
    Go there and persuade them it’s not worth it

    In a drought, shed tears
    In a cold summer, carry on
    Even with a sense of loss

    Being called a fool
    Being neither praised nor a burden

    Such a person I want to be

    John Longhurst’s column, Winnipeg Free Press, April 2, 2011

  2. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Jeanie, and welcome to the JLR! Thanks for the alternate translation. :)

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