Watching the moon go down

Meditations on the Moon based on poems and writings of the Buddhist priest Myôe Shinon

SATB (divisi) a cappella and tenor solo

Prologue: Clouds And Moon
Meditations On The Moon
Epilogue: The Moon In My Heart

Recording credit: The Esoterics; Eric Banks, tenor, conducted by Sean Glenn

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Prologue: Clouds And Moon

Myoe writes:
“On the night of the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the year 1224, the moon was behind clouds. I sat in Zen meditation in the Kakyu-Hall. When the hour of the midnight vigil came, I ceased meditation and descended from the hall on the peak to the lower quarters, and as I did so the moon came from the clouds and set the snow to glowing. The moon was my companion, and not even the wolf howling in the valley brought fear. When, presently, I came out of the lower quarters again, the moon was again behind clouds. As the bell was signaling the late-night vigil, I made my way once more the peak, and the moon saw me on the way. I entered the meditation hall, and the moon, chasing the clouds, was about to sink behind the peak beyond, and it seemed to me that it was keeping me secret company.”

Meditations On The Moon
Watching the moon go down

  1. Set now,
    and I too will go below
    the rim of the hill—
    so night after night
    let us keep company
  2. While I, with no guide,
    am left to stray
    In darkness;
    where has the clear moon
    wandered to?

Winter Moon

  1. Winter moon
    emerging from the clouds
    to keep me company,
    the wind—how it stings!
    the snow—how cold it is!

New Moon (Heart Moon)

  1. A shining moon,
    the mind is cleared
    from clouds of darkness,
    and in the gate of deliverance
    pine winds blow.

Epilogue: The Moon in My Heart

Myoe writes:
“Opening my eyes from my meditations, I saw the moon in the dawn, lighting the window. In a dark place myself, I felt as if my own heart were glowing with light, which seemed to be that of the moon:”

  1. My heart shines,
    a pure expanse of light;
    And no doubt the moon
    will think the light its own.
  2. Bright bright!
    bright bright bright! (and)
    bright bright! (and)
    bright bright bright! (and)
    bright bright (and) the moon!

Japanese Words and Phrases sung by the chorus
kumo | clouds
tsuki | moon
itadaki | peak
yugure | darkness
kaze | wind
akari | light
fuyo no tsuki | winter moon
yuki ya tsumetaki | snow and cold
shingetsu | new moon or heart moon (i.e. the moon in my heart)
gedatsu | deliver
matsukaze zo fuku | pine winds blow
yo ga akeru | becoming light at dawn
aka aka (aka) ya | bright bright (bright) and