Song of Angya

Angya (行脚) is the traditional pilgrimage a monk makes from monastery to monastery, literally translated as “to go on foot.” (Suzuki, p. 5)

Cat Stevens: “On the Road to Find Out” (Tea for the Tillerman)



“Determined to leave his parents, what does he want to accomplish?
He is a Buddhist, a homeless monk now, and no more a man of the world;
His mind is ever intent on the mastery of the Dharma.

“His conduct is to be as transparent as ice or a crystal,
His is not to seek fame or wealth,
He is to rid himself of defilements of all sorts.

“He has no other way open to him but to go about and inquire;
Let him be trained in mind and body by walking over the mountains and fording the rivers;
Let him befriend sages in the Dharma and pay them respect wherever he may encounter them;
Let him brave the snow, tread on the frosty roads, not minding the severity of the weather;
Let him cross the waves and penetrate the clouds, chasing away dragons and evil spirits.

“His iron staff accompanies him wherever he travels and his copper pitcher is full.
Let him not then be bothered with the longs and shorts of worldly affairs,
His friends are those in the monastery with whom he may ponder the Dharma,
Cutting off once and for all the four propositions and one hundred negations.

“Beware of being led astray by others to no purpose whatever;
Now that you are in the monastery your business is to walk the Great Path,
And not to get attached to the world, but to be empty of all trivialities;
Holding fast to the ultimate truth, do not refuse hard work in any form;
Cutting yourself off from noise and crowds, stop all your striving and craving.

“Thinking of the one who threw himself down the precipice, and the one who stood all night in the snow, gather up all your fortitude,
So that you may keep the glory of your Dharma-king manifested all the time;
Be ever studious in the pursuit of the truth, be ever reverential towards the elders;
You are asked to withstand the cold and the heat and privations,
Because you have not yet come to the abode of peace;
Cherish no envious thoughts for worldly prosperity, be not downhearted just because you are rebuked;
But endeavor to see directly into your own nature, not depending on others.

“Over the five lakes and the four seas you pilgrim from monastery to monastery;
To walk thousands of miles over hundreds of mountains is indeed no easy task;
May you finally intimately interview the master in the Dharma and be led to see into your own nature,
When you will no longer take weeds for medicinal plants.”

Hsuan Hua (1974). The Diamond Sutra: A General Explanation of the Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra. San Francisco, Calif.: Sino-American Buddhist Association, Inc. (Diamond-Sutra-BTTS)

Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro (1965). The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk. New York: University Books.

3 thoughts on “Song of Angya

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s