NOVEMBER 22, 2016

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Calligraphy: Sincerity, Serenity, Fairness, Enlightenment and Benevolence 

This poem was inspired by the opening chapters of the Infinite Life Sutra, which outline Dharmakara’s (Amitabha) creation of the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss.

In a time before time began,
In a distant faraway land,
There reigned a wise sovereign
Most mighty and valiant,
Honored by many as the
World’s Bounty and Mercy.
Upon hearing the Dharma
Of Lokeshvararaja Buddha,
He melted into joyful repose
And cast aside desire’s shadow,
The fetters of the world’s cares,
And vowed to become the heir
Of the True and Utmost Way!
Thus, he abandoned his crown,
Robed himself a humble monk,
And marched forth upon the Way,
Cultivating through night and day
Until he became the renowned
Bodhisattva Dharmakara.
With profound wisdom peerless,
Faith and patience matchless,
He swiftly mastered the Dharma,
Rose far beyond the Samsara
And high above the snares of Mara.
In triumph, he sought the Buddha
And piously vowed and bowed before
Him, revering his great grandeur:

“The Buddha’s august demeanor
Is wondrous without compare,
His halo the ten quarters illume,
Bright beyond the luminous moon
And the lucent beams of high noon,
The World Honored One’s voice
Enlightens all beings to rejoice
Within the Dharma in native speech,
And he appears to all and each
In the body of their honored liege.
I yearn to emulate you and preach
Sermons of Dharma to everyone,
Without bounds like the shining sun,
To teach Sila, Samadhi and Viriya,
The profound and potent Dharma.
Wisdom as vast and deep as the sea,
Heart neither stained nor weary,
Gliding o’er oceans of sin and woe,
To the halcyon shores of Bodhi,
Untainted by gloomy wrath,
Unfettered by lustful avarice,
And blessed with serene Samadhi.
I shall follow the footsteps of the
Infinite Buddhas who precede me
And act as a great guiding light
For the masses, to be their sight,
Uprooting the temporal bequeath
Of birth, old age, illness and death,
Always generous and ever virtuous,
With diligence and eternal patience,
Forever within Samadhi and Prajna,
Faithfully abiding by the Six Paramitas,
Bestowing Bodhi upon the dull and lost,
And lifting Sages into the Buddha host!
As he who rains alms upon the Sangha
Is less than he who becomes a Buddha
Through single-minded faith,
I vow to in diligent Samadhi stay,
And glow brightly with everlasting light,
I shall build a splendrous paradise
Unrivaled across the universe entire,
To serve as a refuge of lasting respite
For those benighted in the Samsara!
With kindness I will shatter every klesha
Of every poor soul tortured by dukkha.
I shall not waver for I am determined
To shoulder every pain and burden,
So let the Buddha be my witness!”

After hearing Dharmakara’s great
And dauntless resolve and praise,
The Buddha arose from his Dais,
Gleaming with utmost admiration
For the one before him who is salvation
To the endless many lost in perdition.
He then declared:

“Your vows are not made in vain,
For even the oceans can be emptied
By but one who bails unceasingly,
And all its hidden pearls revealed,
What is there the sincere cannot attain?
I will show you the path and Way
To your glorious and imperious day!”

And so the Buddha parted the sky and
Revealed to Dharmakara every plane
Of rebirth, each and every Buddha Land,
All the galaxies, worlds and Sagely domains,
Revealing their cities, peaks, gorges and seas,
Their prairies, hills and fertile valleys,
The villas of devas dancing in divine weal,
The nature and condition of their peoples,
Unveiling their barren ghostly ruins, animal
Kingdoms and bleak narakas most infernal.
Uncovering all of their vices and virtues,
So that Dharmakara may with ease build
A pure and gilded land of wondrous bliss,
Free from evil and woe, a supreme harbor
Of every good found across the ten quarters.
The Buddha then said: “Pronounce your vows!”

“For the relief of all sentient beings,
Including those mired in the suffering
Of hellish, ghostly and beastly rebirth,
I have built a Pure Land of true mirth,
Open to all who are willing to share my
Merits and forfeit darkness for light!
I have paved for you fine gilded roads
Of precious stones, purple and gold,
For you I have filled rivers and lakes
With cool azure waters of soft ripples,
Swirling with fragrant flowers most graceful,
With beds of aurulent sand, and laid
Before you villas, pavilions and canopies,
Groves of beryl, emerald and agate trees
That ruffle and sway in the blissful breeze,
Adorned by jade leaves and scented petals,
Berries of Mani-jewels and crystal.
I give you clear skies and peerless paradise,
A glorious afterlife of endless delight,
With singing songbirds perched on amber arbors,
Humming hymns with lyrical harmony
And the most soothing of melodies!
I bless all who arrive in my land with
August, aurulent and ethereal bodies
Untainted by the greed, fear and foul odors
That flesh, desire and delusion harbors,
I bless thee with all the powers of Bodhi,
Its wisdom, eminence, bliss and glory,
Its serene Samadhi and tranquil purity!
Divine provision shall appear on demand
And so too the finery and robes of my land.
Any being who chants my Buddha-name,
Wholeheartedly abandons evil and repents
With faithful resolve, shall enter my domain
And rise to Sagehood upon the Lotus Lagoon.
I am Amitabha and my vows have come to pass!”

Upon hearing Amitabha’s august vows,
The entire assembly before him bowed,
Moved to joyous tears by his great resolve!
They beheld his unsurpassed compassion,
His merciful uprooting of all evil passions,
Granting each the chance to taste the Samadhi
Of the highest, most true and utmost Bodhi!
On this glorious and regal Dharma day,
The Earth shook in the six auspicious ways,
Gleaming gods and goddesses were seen
Gliding over the stars stroking harp-strings,
The ethereal heavens soon resounded with
Gilded notes of splendid divine bliss,
And the courts of the heavenly lords feted,
Raining down golden lilies like confetti!

Poem released into Public Domain

I started translating Chinese Mahayana Pure Land Buddhist sutras in 2014 after realizing that many important  sutras and scriptures that I had long taken for granted were mostly unavailable in the West. What had begun as a project for a short tractate turned into a delightful three year odyssey of translations, essays, poems, discussions  and correspondence with new friends. All of my posts, articles, translations, poems and essays are free and in the Public Domain, and I encourage other authors to donate their works into the Public Domain as well. In October of last year, a Dharma friend encouraged me to start a blog to serve as a doorway to my translations, and that is how this blog started.
Taipei, Taiwan




I took a road

Called middle way

Where two arrows pointed up:

One for Svatantrika

One for Prasangika.

My road map said:

Try both ways

Don’t turn off

Head for both

But which one? I asked.

Later that night

Rose a full moon:

Its light shone a fine thin beam

Between two closed shutters

Where a tiny gap has always abided.

I live in Portsmouth. I go to a Bodhicharya group in Bosham, West Sussex, and have been going since it began in 1998. I have been interested in Tibetan Buddhism for nearly 30 years, mainly within the Gelug Pa tradition and originally started going to a group that met in Southsea in the late 1980s. My main areas of interest within Buddhism are the Two Truths, and Emptiness.  I have also been writing poetry for much longer, around 36 years, and I go to a couple of local open mic nights.
I work in a young person’s hostel on the night reception.

Poetry by Balach “Thutob” Kohjar


Stream Enterer
a hundred paths, a thousands tricks,

the sea is green, the sky blue,

many years for a moment.

How does the past delight and haunt, but as a thought?

How else do you experience future, but as a thought?

It is all real, but not really,

Seeing that, we continue playing.

Letting go of perfection, and of rejection,

Engage appropriately, contented, equanimous.

Acknowledging the role, joyfully we play,

Knowing it, thoroughly we love.

Continue mindfully, skilfully,

Until wisdom comes without effort.

No two sufferings, no two sufferers,

With compassion, we end, even the idea.

Wonder, wonder at the space,

Inner and outer, there is no boundary.

That too is a thought, remember!

Seeing that, letting go, be free. be. free.

What then remains? just the suchness,

I drink to the smiling stars, the great Buddhas.

Thank you and have a beautiful time!

Poetry and Prose: Bruno Nua

Here is a poem I wrote after retreating in India and doing pilgrimage with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and the Sangha around many of the Buddhist holy places in 2006/2007. [Many of his students might remember seeing it around that time]

Then some Haiku from the same period.

Next a poem about my mother and Bodhicitta, also from 2007.

 The last piece is a very short story i wrote with a Dharma theme.

None of these have been published before. I’d be delighted if you shared any or all of them, either now or as the need arises for material in the future.


Buddha is born in the here and now.
The trees and the blossoms, the forest bears witness.


The cocoon of the familiar, in time, is renounced
To wander and search in the vast present moment.


After so many gurus, exertion and hardship,
Stretched almost to breaking, you chose a new path.

Oh what a release just to sit on this cushion,
The simplest of grasses, beneath a great tree.

As every day opens to night, into daytime,
From evening to morning, from dusk into dawn,

The Mind also opens and drops all delusion.
The Heart lotus blossoms, all grasping released.

The morning star dawning, sun’s rays shine impartially,
Completely awake, free from all complexity.

So vivid and peaceful, in openness and contentment,
The true perfect Buddha is found in one’s heart.


The truth overflows and the parkland rejoices.
The deer all come closer to hear the good news:

The mind with its torments and all of its grasping,
Cut through by Awareness, for all time, is free!


A Song of Perfection is sung from the mountain
To valleys and hilltops, to trees, to the sky:

All things are empty and yet they appear,
Like so many rainbows, mirages, and dreams.

Remembering this, be a child of illusion,
With purest perception, beyond hope and fear.

Rejoice all who hear this, the plants and the stones,
The breezes that carry it in every direction.

The great panorama, the view, chants its answer:
Halleluia! Hosanna! Gloria! Amen!

Thus have I heard… Halleluia! Hosanna!
Thus it is my dear friend… Halleluia! Amen!

Gaté, gaté, paragaté,
Parasamgaté, bodhi, soha.


Everything that is born also must die-
Kings, beggars, buddhas, and me.

A last sip of water, a few final teachings.
Oh child of illusion, remember these words:

You are the Buddha, remember, remember.
And you are Salvation, remember these words.

The deathless unending Nature of Mind,
Unborn and unceasing, with Nature like the Sky.

Sit like a mountain, reflect stars on the water,
Like the wings of an eagle about to take flight.

Rest in Natural Great Peace, my dear friend.
The Natural Mind is Pure Light, remember.

Lux aeterna, requiem aeternam,
Parasamgaté, bodhi, soha.

(Bruno Nua,

January 2007, India.)


walking with buddha

through india and nepal

my soul sings for joy!


sitting in your cave

openness and contentment

not looking outside

Guru Rinpoche’s caves in Sikkim, India.

a grey moon shatters

the glass in the zendo door

my neighbour’s football


seasons come and go:

jessye, georgie, mikey, me.

another leaf drops


bamboo bends and sways

my house is blowing away

or is it just me?!


fireworks boom above

even the stars are frightened

a twig snaps below


puppies chasing dad

daddy snarls and growls and runs

i want, i don’t want




20 years after your death in 1987
I put pen to paper for the very first time.

I can barely imagine just how hard it must have been for you
To finally let go, that night, in your bed.

Your loved-ones have suffered great trauma and sadness
But those memories dimmed now we honour your life.


I love you so much and with utter devotion,
So grateful for everything you have given and taught me:

Be gentle and strong, live a good life, remember
your spirit – your True Nature – has always been pure.

Like an old ‘cine’ movie with bright colours fading,
A shining example, we remember your life.


You were always so loving and I was so selfish
But positive karma brought me into your home.

This one human life is so precious and rare.
I’m determined not to waste it – I promise you that.

I’ll live it with love and compassion, rejoicing,
In great equanimity – these 4 sentinels in mind.


I’ve day-dreamed of finding your reincarnation,
Loving and caring for them as you did for me.

But a more fitting tribute and commemoration
Would be to love all beings everywhere like each one was you,

As if each were my baby, and I was their mammy,
With the love of a mother, with all of my heart.

June 2007



a simple glass of water

The snow creaked and crunched underfoot as I made my way down along the path.

In all my life I had never been to such a spectacular place. The heavy sky was shining silver, full of change.

Special days like these were extremely rare indeed. Almost everything I did, I did for the first time. Arriving in India. The thick odour like burnt biscuits and ancient dirt that saturates the earth, the air, your hair. The chaos and misery of Delhi. Another flight further north. Then the 20 euro helicopter ride from Bagdogra up up to Gangtok – a happy, busy, little town clinging to the two sides of a Himalayan ridge, in the ancient kingdom of Sikkim. For all I knew, I might just as well have been in Afghanistan, or Kashmir, or Peru. But I had arrived, all in one day. I felt open and light.

From the first moment I read about you, I wanted to visit your monastery. I wanted you to merge your Tibetan wisdom mind with mine. I wanted you to explain the mysteries of life and the universe to me. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted.

But then – no sooner had I discovered Buddhism, during that fiasco of a mid-life crisis I had concocted, than I read on the internet that you had passed away. My imaginary new world began to implode. The teacher I was just about to choose to be my master, my lama, was dead. And I feared I may never get to the Land of Snows or even the foothills of the Indian Himalaya. Or worse still that I myself could die as foolish and ignorant as the day of my birth.

But I didn’t lose heart entirely. Without really knowing why, almost instinctively, I framed your photo in gold and moved it around the house till it settled on a low side-table beside the telly – the focus of the room – you always seemed to be smiling at me, wishing me well, reminding me never to give up on myself … my true self… under the surface.

After about a year I attended a Tibetan meditation group and learned to sit still, relaxed yet alert, while observing the natural flow of the breath. It became my new spiritual practice, my constant companion and new best friend. After a few months we were sitting around chatting after the class and I asked the meditation instructor if he had ever heard of you. He had. I dug deeper and such stories overflowed from him I could have sat there all night. Although I didn’t know you from Adam, I realised that my instincts had been right about you. You were indeed a living saint, a maha guru. My heart broke to think of all that might have been. Just as I was on the verge of tears the instructor concluded his tales with an almost throw-away punchline, ‘You know his reincarnation has been found. In France. She is the daughter of a homeless couple in Paris. They’re going to bring her and the parents to Gangtok in Sikkim so she can be trained in the Buddhist tradition and resume her work in her monastery there’.

I had so many questions: Reincarnated? A girl? Where’s Sikkim?

So now, less than 6 months later I am walking down that slippery slope, the snowy winding path that leads to your door. I have no clue what I am doing here really or what I hope to learn from a two year old. But here I stand.

The monastery gate is enormous. The wooden panels are painted red with intricate carvings around the edges in richest gold. The perimeter walls are so high I can’t even glimpse whatever lies beyond. So I pull the multicoloured braided rope that rings the bell that lets them know I have arrived.

After many long periods of waiting and trying again, I decide to tie a long string to the rope and sit below it, my back against the wall, in the shade of the late afternoon. Occasionally, I pulled on the string and rang the bell again. To no avail. I could hear the bell ring out across the valley to Rumtek and beyond the snowy peaks to Tashi Ding and the now-inaccessible retreat caves of Guru Rinpoché. After a while, although I kept on trying, I just settled patiently and without expectation, and observed the breath – letting go more and more with every exhale … Ah.

It occurred to me that either nobody was home, I wasn’t welcome or I was just going to have to go away and try again tomorrow. Before long I was asleep. Despite the sunset breaking through, there had been no melt whatsoever and it had started to snow again. A drift was forming against one side of me but still I didn’t wake up.

I did awaken suddenly though, with a dart of pain in my hip. A Tibetan monk was kicking me. He was shouting something and his boots were drawing blood. I couldn’t believe what was going on.

No. It’s a nightmare, I thought. This can’t be real. Eventually, I gathered he was very angry with me and wanted me to go away. I had imagined a much warmer welcome and was shocked to receive such a kicking from a monk into the bargain. I drew myself up to my full height and looked him in the eye. Now I was very angry.

‘I want to see my teacher – the little girl. I’ve come all the way from Ireland you idiot. Can’t you understand plain English?!’

He replied in Tibetan, equally unforgiving. It sounded like he was incanting some kind of a shamanic curse. The more I saw him as an obstacle to me, the more he appeared to see me as a nuisance, a hippy vagrant who was just looking for a free meal and a bed for the night. Then he marched off away from the monastery. He had shown me! I wouldn’t be hanging around there again in a hurry. Not if I knew what was good for me … I looked at him stomping off up the hill and wondered what on earth that was all about. Really, I just couldn’t believe it. My first day and I had been attacked by a monk – who seemed to be just passing by!

My head was spinning. I didn’t know which way was up. The monastery gate opened quietly and a smiling monk said: ‘Oh. Hello. How are you? Where come from?’

Honestly, I thought to myself. What the hell is this? Good monk bad monk?! I was beginning to lose the plot and couldn’t get a reply out.

‘Would you like to come in? Why didn’t you just push the gate and walk right in?’, he said. ‘It is always open. Were you ringing the bell? Have you been waiting for long? So sorry Dear, we never come when the bell rings. Everyone round here knows to just push open the gate and come in’.

Open? I thought to myself. Did you just call me Dear?

‘I was attacked! Kicked in the side, by that maniac monk’, I blurted. ‘Did you see him? Do you know who he is? Where’s the nearest police station? I want to report this. I’m not going to let him get away with it!’.

‘Oh yes. He is mad, poor thing. They let him live in the other monastery over that side’ – he gestured over the hills and far away – ‘out of compassion. Please forgive him. Please come inside and we’ll take a look at that hip’.


… The following day, I was told to wait in the Temple shrine-room while they went to arrange an audience for me with the girl. Soon they would bring her to me so I could receive her blessing. Now it was all much clearer. They knew who I was and what I wanted … even if Ididn’t. The senior monk’s last words before he left me were quite shocking. He said I had come too soon, that I should’ve waited at least 10 or 15 years until she actually had something to say. I was crest-fallen. He smiled and handed me a glass of water to sip.

My eyes wandered about the spacious room: the colourful brocade wall hangings, the throne-like raised seat, the large burnished Buddha beyond – his vast gaze beaming in every direction. I imagined what the child would look like when she arrived … a blue-eyed bundle wrapped in orange, wrapped in crimson … a fair-haired angel with pale porcelain skin.

Then my mind turned towards the drink in front of me – a simple glass of water.

A shaft of sunlight penetrated it exposing microscopic particles in the water that appeared to slowly settle and disappear altogether, revealing the natural clarity that had always been the water’s true nature.

I found myself mindfully investigating the water’s composition to see what else might be said to be in it. I concluded there was hydrogen and oxygen. They had somehow come together to allow the water to appear. But of course there is nothing called water therefore. It is simply the co-emergence of other less complex elements. These elements themselves could be further subdivided ad infinitum. I followed the logic til I concluded that everything in the universe, including myself, must be like that. Everything is compounded, and so inter-depends with everything else for its very existence. Nothing exists in its own right. My insight lead me to believe that, like the water, the very essence of all phenomena must be a combination of Pristine Clarity and Emptiness of self.

Just then, as the door opened, I realised maybe I had come far too soon. Maybe the hidden truth of water was the mystery I had come so far to unravel.
My mind seemed to drop away altogether as a giggling small black girl ran into my lap.

Bruno Nua [Tashi Rabjay], 2009.


I have been a professional Buddhist Philosopher and a student of RTR since the early 90s, i come from Dublin, and have been supporting the spread of the Dharma in Europe and Asia.  These days i am writing Buddhist Philosophy in the form of Dharma Contemplations, and writing novels with a dharma twist [I call the genre Dharma Noir].




The Buddha’s Masterplan


JANUARY 21, 2017


Beneath the sea of glistening stars,

Between the ethereal evening air,

Lies a forest of glowing dreams,

But as diverse and rich as they are,

None escape the same Moonbeam.

Under the lucent morning glow,

Roll waves of raving emotions,

Turbid fortunes and cruel woes,

The burning craving of billions,

Yet the same Sun illumines them all.

Princes, beggars and pretenders,

All dance their own tango with

Fortune’s jeering taunts and tantrums,

Each gambles to grapple with fate,

Yet upon the same soil they all tread.

The canopy of a grand old oak

Casts a wide and mighty shadow,

Ruffling with a myriad of leaves,

Adorned by blooming blossoms

That sprout in spring and wither in winter,

With branches amber in autumn,

Green in summer, and lean and bare

In Saturn’s season of barren frost.

Yet for all its lush richness, it still rests

Upon one abiding unchanging trunk.


So even as human affairs steer here and there,

And wander and meander like wetland streams,

The timeless source remains the same,

For all ripe fruits return to Buddha’s root.

Brian Chung
Taipei, Taiwan




Sikkim (haiku) Sequence

(Written by Maeve O’Sullivan on the month long retreat with Donal Creedon and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche at the Bodhicharya Retreat Centre, January 2017)

waxing wolf moon lighting the road to our retreat 


less cloudy today first sight of Kanchenjunga 



the new prayer flags

get their first blessing 


walking meditation…

the cream-coloured butterfly

circles me twice


sitting practice –

a gust of wind sets

the yellow curtains dancing 


mini prayer flags…

white stitching camouflaged 

by the syllable ‘ma’



lunchtime salad:

the spring onion turns out to be

a hot green chilli!


more complaints 

about the honey…

still the level goes down 


steep ascent to the gate – 

the only sounds the wind

and my beating heart


afternoon tea break…

strains of Bollywood music

floating uphill


sweeping steps –

her camera catches me

in a shaft of sunlight 


early morning song

of a Himalayan bird:

‘I’m over here. Here!’

Dubliner Maeve O’Sullivan’s work has been widely published and anthologised for twenty years. Her collections  poetry (Vocal Chords, 2014), are from Alba Publishing. www.twitter.com/maeveos


Maeve O’Sullivan’s new collection of haiku poetry, A Train Hurtles West, is available from the publisher, Alba Publishing (info@albapublishing.com). 30% of profits go to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s charity Rigul Trust (www.rigultrust.org). You can find Maeve on Twitter (@maeveos). Her blog post Why Haiku? is available here: bogmanscannon


When You Are Old





When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;


How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;


And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Buddha at Kamakura, by Rudyard Kipling


Buddha at Kamakura

O YE who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgement Day
Be gentle when “the heather” pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart.
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda’s Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank you Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura.

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura-

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master’s eyes,
He is below the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower ‘neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
From Burmah to Kamakura

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums
and droned – “Om mane padme hums” –
A world-width from Kamakura.

Yest Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya’s ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura

A tourist-show, a legend tolde,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye holde
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?

Buddhist Poetry



The past is already past.
Don’t try to regain it.
The present does not stay.
Don’t try to touch it.

From moment to moment.
The future has not come;
Don’t think about it

Whatever comes to the eye,
Leave it be.
There are no commandments
To be kept;
There’s no filth to be cleansed.

With empty mind really
Penetrated, the dharmas
Have no life.

When you can be like this,
You’ve completed
The ultimate attainment.
Layman P’ang (740-808)


Just stop your wandering,
Look penetratingly into your inherent nature,
And, concentrating your spiritual energy,
Sit in zazen
And break through.


However deep your
Knowledge of the scriptures,
It is no more than a strand of hair
In the vastness of space;
However important appears
Your worldly experience,
It is but a drop of water in a deep ravine.




Whether you are going or staying or sitting or lying down,
the whole world is your own self.
You must find out
whether the mountains, rivers, grass, and forests
exist in your own mind or exist outside it.
Analyze the ten thousand things,
dissect them minutely,
and when you take this to the limit
you will come to the limitless,
when you search into it you come to the end of search,
where thinking goes no further and distinctions vanish.
When you smash the citadel of doubt,
then the Buddha is simply yourself.



Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there’s some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Three Poems: Cicely Gill

flowersAt the Market

‘This was last summer’:

she holds out a bouquet of dried flowers –

woundwort, oregano, lady’s mantle.

‘They will keep their colour for ever’.

Lavender, totter-grass, helichrysum.

Names have their beauty too.

‘Grown from seed in my garden’.

Statice, straw-flowers.

Light in her hand, sunshine incarnate.


 Not Just Haiku

Not just haiku

but every poem, should contain a tree

or river, bird or bee

whatever mean abstraction’s at its core.

Like buddleia from concrete,

something green must flourish there,

something with roots: we more than lean

on metaphor. Without it language falls

traceless, like water into the sea.

 red squirrel

Road Safety

You too can die on the road

says the dead red squirrel’s

streak of soft pelt

on the hard straight tarmac.

Invisible to us the squirrel’s route

lies at right angles, perhaps

with special signs to indicate

‘cars crossing’. They prove inadequate

as we are when a storm

flings trees about

to hit and kill at random.


cicelyI live in Whiting Bay, am married to the painter Nicky Gill. We have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.  I decided to be a writer at the age of eleven.  Life intervened and although I kept writing and had poems published in for instance, Chapman and New Writing Scotland, it was not until last year that I published my first novel, a detective story called ‘Ivory’ and was commissioned to write a play about the history of Brodick castle for the National Trust for Scotland.  This year NTS commissioned another play to commemorate WW1 on Arran and this was performed very successfully at the Community Theatre, Lamlash.

I live in Whiting Bay, am married to the painter Nicky Gill. We have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

A Heartwarming Holiday



Holy is the breath of each sacred day, rising through the mist of Creation into the bright plains of sunlight, coursing through human bones and being, consecrated in circle of family, friendship, community; penetrating soul in baptismal rivers of faith; ships of endurance, fleets of fortitude, sails unfurled in gracious carriage winds, moving on seas of kinship and courage; generations told in story, ancestors recalled by the fire, lanterns of Love glowing against towering night; landscape of children in flowering of joy and laughter; women by the water, blessing and being blessed; men under aged oaks, recalling, recanting, rejoicing in language of bravado; elders gazing their kin through windows of tears, tears or gratitude, thankfulness, wonder and awe; awesome cleavage of time through dreaming and vision; drum journeys opening new paths in sky; many drums speaking one tongue of soul desire; particles of fire, flame dancing, burning of gloom and regret into hope’s house illuminated; tribal reunion sentried over by eagles drafting; kin dancing, raising dust of ceremony, raising a people’s One spirit, ressurecting relationship: those bindings of life’s sacred web, strands of earth and water, fire and sky, woman and man, child and grand, now and then, here and soon; monsoon of how we Love, soaking singularity in ocean of spirituality; breaking bread over the long table, pouring healing juice, making truce, strong hearts surrendering to Greatness, tears in the water, Holy in the house, bowing to this Vast provision of life and living, this Constant Giving; seeing the Truth that sets us free: Thanks is giving. Thanks IS Giving. Feast table is full and flowing. Harvest is here, as always… ripe, roasted, baked, browned, blessed. Thanks is served. Eat plenty. Eat plenty.

Warm Wishes,

Soul Water Rising

To Waterfall


To Waterfall

Hills playing games in the mist,

“now you see me, now you don’t”.

White clouds part – a flash of blue,

then close – a curtain pulled across the sky.

Brambles nodding in the breeze

wisely agreeing.

Rowan berries peak out from leaves

Nature’s hide and seek.

Wind through trees rustles and rushes

a waterfall of sound.

Bird song flies through the air

cheeping, “I’m here”.

There’s a sign in wood – To Waterfall

that points the way,

along a muddy path by a stream,

upwards, to the falls

where a cascade of water and sound

envelopes me.

Nature’s palette before my eyes;

a riot of autumn colours

splashed on trees and bushes.

Ground covered with leaves,

a blanket for warmth;

for walkers, a slippery step.

Irene Lavery worked for the NHS for 40 years, laterally in healthecare education.  Having taken early retirement, she is now enjoying life.  Irene has a  passion for cooking, reading writing and photography.  She is an active member of University of the Third Age and attends several groups including Buddhist Thinkers, photography and creative writing.  On a recent retreat to Dhanakosa, which inspired her poem, Irene rediscovered her love of poetry and nature.




Two Poems by Angus Ogilvy: from Lights in the Constellation of the Crab




Following the old maps, he arrived

just where he had planned to be.

The landscape conformed to interpretation:

that hill, those clumps of trees, the village gathered

around the bridge. He saw the things

he’d expected to see, given the forecasts,

the time of year: the lone fox and the raven falling.


He wasn’t prepared for the motorbike

coming screaming round where the road forked right

in a curving descent over spreading contours

to the valley floor. Nothing could indicate how to turn

avoiding oblivion, the uncharted plunge,

the way time stretched through the flick of an eye

to a sound and a light in a circling loop;

but he did.



Gratitude for Whatever

I cant be anything other

Than Grateful.


What’s the point?





Lamentation?It is too hard work.


Gratitude is the point

of least resistance.

Angus was born in Glasgow, grew up in Galloway, and was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee. He has had a career in education which included 25 years as an international school teacher and administrator in Spain, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. Since winning his school poetry prize in his youth, he has had an abiding interest in poetry and his poems have appeared in various publications.  He returned to Edinburgh in 2008 and spends his time writing, doing voluntary work, and addressing conferences, seminars and symposiums about the patient experience of cancer using his poetry as an aid to communication. He has recently published a collection of poems, Lights in the Constellation of the Crab and House Clearing by Moonlight, in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.
– See more at: http://bodhicharya.org/manyroads/four-poems-by-angus-ogilvy/#sthash.R7xcnKtC.dpuf

Leaving Vigo


With sad and friendly eyes she answers yes

when I ask if Santiago trains are on.

Seventy-five fatalities, or more:

un accidente horrible – she nods.

A message wishes us a pleasant trip,

the carriage has an eerie muffled mood,

its notice says 130 km per hour,

we read our newspapers and phones, subdued.

I see Camino pilgrims stumbling,

their spirits springing up from bloody rails;

fresh donations from Gallegos streaming

through some survivors’ arteries and veins.

The train conductor doesn’t meet my gaze.

At journey’s end we disembark with haste.

© Maeve O’Sullivan

MaeveDubliner Maeve O’Sullivan’s work has been widely published and anthologised for twenty years. Her collections  poetry (Vocal Chords, 2014), are from Alba Publishing. www.twitter.com/maeveos



nepal woman

Bhaktapur. Kathmandu. Lamjung. Shermatang. Lean closer. Can you hear the soul of Nepal? It whispers. Cries. Prays: Our heart lies buried in the rubble, in stones turned to sand. Oh, humanity, come to our time of fire! Lift every stone. Lay your hands upon our valley. Dig with us. Dig as we retrieve our country. Our dal bhat of memories that have always filled our bellies and strengthened our resolve. Dig, as we retrieve our families. Our stories now loose in the Himalayan wind. When the ground shook, it took. Our breath. Our floor. Our ceiling. Now the sky is everywhere it is not supposed to be. Where have our rooftops gone? Even mighty Everest has sloughed its skin. In the dust, we search for kin. For friend. For then. The way it was. Now, our mothers cry sacred lakes of tears. Fathers wield their hurt in spears that have no landing place. What is this blistering of our souls? In the holiness of our bones we ask, who will rebuild our temples? Our shrines? Our holy places? The gardens where we gathered?  Now we hear our valley whisper through the dust: Grace will bring up what has been laid low. Sure as the silence of the leopard stalking in snow. But we are frightened. Where is Shanti, our willow of Peace? What will become of our Samjhana, our tribal memory? The world is upside down. Reality unzipped itself, surrendered its tectonic shelf. Our dud chia has soured, become butter tea. Strange fruit hangs from the banyan tree. Gather. That’s what we must do. What we must be. Gather in tea houses. In streets and fields. On glacier tongues and river sheets. Earth has opened, pouring us into each other. Now we are, in this seasoning of our grief, a great ladle of Tibetan stew. We Namasté on the same ground that swallowed us. We bow down to what has fallen down. Look up at what will make us rise again. We are splinters dreaming of being a tree. A valley whistling bansuri flute song, harvesting wind. Wind Horse bucks and snorts and grazes, near. We smell its musk, and fathom: We again shall drink from the brook of Peace. We perform sky burial ten thousand times. Sky buries us in Mercy, fills with great flocks of prayer flags, migrating to our truest temples and shrines: the one beating of our Nepali heart. We will need time to sleep. We need pani, pure water, in this time of the great earth monsoon. Oh, Holiness, break through the rock and pull us into light! Sing us songs of safety. Cradle us through the night. Someone wake the pahelo sun, our children need their hope. Put the world back together. We want to walk on solid ground. Our valleys run with sorrow, and yet our children… our children expect to eat and drink and bathe and breathe tomorrow. They are the vines to which we must hold. Their gossamer eyes tell the sacredness of Hope. Of grace on the bellies of prayer wheels. Of grace on the lips of singing bowls. Ek. Dui. Tien. We begin our count from scratch again. Pokhara. Banepa. Gorkha. Lalitpur. Helambu. We breathe with you.



April 28, 2015

Jaiya John




Letting Go of Ávila

IMG_0829I could have travelled there today,
could have walked its medieval walls
and lit a candle for the vulnerables
in the Basilica de San Vincente.

I am letting go of the eagle caves, the cathedral,
and the Monasterio de Santo Tómas,
but most of all, the Convento de Santa Teresa,
housing her ring finger, and her ring.

She let go of wealth, of marriage; encouraged
her sisters to leave off their shoes,
moved beyond pain, beyond words of prayer
to a place of ecstasy, then tears.

I am letting go of all of this
in the district of letters where brass
poems are set into the very ground.
it is love alone that gives worth to all things.



Dubliner Maeve O’Sullivan’s work has been widely published and anthologised for twenty years. Her collections  poetry (Vocal Chords, 2014), are from Alba Publishing. 

Published in the 2014 collection Vocal Chords (from Alba Publishing).

      Twitter address @maeveos