The poem reads:
Winds may come that are not pleasant—
This poem is not to be read as an indication that there are storms before which any resistance is useless, so that we must be prepared for hopeless suffering.
The willow branches are indeed whirled about by the will of the wind, but its root remains firm. There is a firm calmness at the root of the mind which can be cultivated, and the poem is a hint. The lower of the two large Chinese characters represents a sword-blade across the heart, showing that the adverse winds are not merely outer circumstances. But they pass, and the willow-root remains, unshaken even by a tempest which can uproot a great oak.
The Willow from the Old Zen Master
© Trevor Leggett