Five Things was written on 23 October 2001. The text is Thomas Cleary's translation of a Song Dynasty (10th to 13th century) letter to a Zen Master Xiang:

  • What has been long neglected cannot be restored immediately.
  • Ills that have been accumulating for a long time cannot be cleared away immediately.
  • One cannot enjoy oneself forever.
  • Human emotions cannot be just.
  • Calamity cannot be avoided by trying to run away from it.

Anyone who has realized these five things can be in the world without misery.

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Five Things is November 14th in my ongoing project A Book of Days. Please go there to hear a live recording by the Robin Cox Ensemble on clarinet, cello, and woodblock, with me doing the text.

Judson Wright has made an animation that can be projected in performances of the piece. Contact me for more details.

Here is a score of the piece in pdf format. I can supply you with different transpositions and clefs, as needed. To purchase, please click on the paypal button below: