The Arts

Elsewhere

 

Japan

Shinbazu Pond –
even these withered lotuses
can lift my heart

 

heated toilet seat –
memories of growing up
in a large family

 

deep-fried pork:
I await instructions
on how to eat it

 

we look through the dark
to the place where Mount Fuji
is supposed to be

 

arrival in Kyoto…
I buy flowers for myself
flowers for the Buddha

 

the clunk of wooden sandals
on stone paving –
Mount Otowa

 

thatched with water reeds
topped with acer leaves –
Basho-an the poet’s hut

 

further uphill
autumn birdsong leads the way –
Buson’s grave

 

wandering poet’s well               its stone collar lotus

 

dusk over the city           two small girls in flowery kimono

Japan has been extracted from Maeve O’Sullivan’s latest publication Elsewhere
available from Alba Publishing
Dubliner Mave O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published, anthologised and translated.
Her four collections are Elsewhere (2017); Initial Response, An A-Z of haiku moments (2011); Vocal Chords (2014); and Double Rainbow (2005) all available at Alba Publishing
Maeve is a winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week poetry competition for a single poem, and conducts haiku workshops with adults and children.
A lecturer in Media Studies, she lives in Dublin
Maeve’s new collection of poetry, Elsewhere is available from Alba Publishing

ODE TO MANCHESTER

The blood of Irish, Catholic immigrants
And Russian, Jewish refugees
Flows through the veins of this Buddhist nun,
A seeker of wisdom, compassion and peace,

Whose path has encircled the world and alights
Now in Edinburgh, where it has stayed.
But my heart cries out for Manchester,
For Manchester where I was made.

And I weep to see your suffering,
Caused by minds deluded by hate,
Yet tears of sadness are mixed with pride,
Seeing what makes my hometown so great.

Strength and kindness in adversity,
That brave, indomitable spirit,
Bred by love that welcomes diversity,
All embellished with pithy, street wit.

Mancunia, Mancunia!
That fortress of northern souls,
Your red brick streets and fields of dreams,
Bear witness to impossible goals.

In grief we stand united,
United we’ll rise from the ruins,
Like so many who’ve gone before us,
For in Manchester, that’s how we do things.

by Ani Rinchen Khandro, AKA Jackie Glass, Mancunian.

A Muslim comforts an elderly Jewish woman (Independent News)

LAZY LAMA FILM

Renowned German filmmaker Niko von Glasow’s newest film is now available to view here!

                                                                         LAZY LAMA FILM

The film shows Ringu Tulku not only as a Buddhist master and teacher – it also offers a personal, humorous and honest insight into his family and working life. It shows Ringu Tulku preparing four students for a retreat which lasts three years, three months and three days, in Sikkim, North India. Spending time with the Lazy Lama gives the audience the opportunity to reflect on their own lives, and find ways to create more room for spirituality, meditation, empathy and the right kind of “laziness”.

TO A POET A THOUSAND YEARS HENCE

I who am dead a thousand years,
    And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
    The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
    Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
    Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
    And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
    And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
    That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Moeonides the blind
    Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
    Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
    I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.

James Elroy Flecker was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, where his father was headmaster, and at Uppingham and Trinity College, Oxford.

After university he joined the Diplomatic Service, spending time in Constantinople and Beirut. In 1913 he went to Switzerland to seek a cure for his tuberculosis but died there two years later at the age of 31.

 

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti1830 – 1894

Maeve O’Sullivan.

Morning Silence, haiku from Dónal Creedon’s Tullow Retreat, August 2018

discarded crisp bag:

a faded Mr. Tayto

still smiling

***

talk about listening    I zone out for a bit

***

walking meditation:

you are moving slowly too

little ladybird

***

morning silence    the brewing coffee gurgles

***

early drizzle

creating a round stain

in this concrete pantheon

***

August afternoon

a sunburst spotlights

the weeping willow

***

disturbed picture frame:

the window & horse-chestnut

nodding yes, yes, yes

***

last morning   more    distance    between    sitters

White Heat

(for Lama Tsering)

Just like the moon which shines upon us all,

enlightened beings’ blessings are on tap;

says our dear teacher who has us in thrall

this week in Braga, resting hands on lap.

 

In forty-two degrees we soon will melt

into our mats and cushions, from the heat;

though we imagine that we’re not in hell

but in the realm with Amitaba’s seat.

 

White Tara deity we will invoke

as long as many mantras are said;

Chenrezig figure’s also white light soaked

compassion dominating both their heads.

 

With wisdom and a twinkle in his eye

our Rinpoche instructs us how to die.

 

Maeve O’Sullivan

August 2018

Bodhicharya Summercamp, Braga, Portugal

 

Dubliner Mave O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published, anthologised and translated.

Her four collections are Elsewhere (2017); Initial Response, An A-Z of haiku moments (2011); Vocal Chords (2014); and Double Rainbow (2005) all available at Alba Publishing

She is a winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week poetry competition for a single poem, and conducts haiku workshops with adults and children.

A lecturer in Media Studies, she lives in Dublin

Maeve’s new collection of poetry, Elsewhere is available from Alba Publishing.  A review will follow in the next edition of Many Roads

Existence

 

It is night.
Rain pelts the roof.
The soul awakens
to a flooded Earth –
a sea of storm 
roaring,
then passing.

In that short moment,
shirting lines and shapes,
fleetingl
barely seen.

Before the passing moment tilts
and falls to melancholy,
laughter sojnds
in quiet raindrops.

                                                               Thich Nhat Hanh

Reasons to Meditate

 

to practice noticing
to understand simple things
to give myself clarity
to face inevitable difficulties
to make a conscious choice
to welcome my feelings
to know pain
to experience the bliss of effort
to take gentle possession of my mind
to free my mind
to be aware of my sinsitivity
to dip below superficiality
to brighten my eyes
to forget how i look
to stop moving
to let myself be how i am
to love deeply
to risk being myself
to sit upright like a pyramid
to stay still
to breathe in the air
to encourage a positive habit
t o behave in the manner of one who woke up
to pursue freedom
to touch the ground
to learn without words
to unlock my heart
to go beyond

Lisa Cullen

Lisa Cullen writes:  Two women are waiting on a packed train platform in Calcutta.  One of the moment is hunched over reading The Spiral Dance.  The other is absorbed in biting her fingernails.  A cow ambles by.  A rickshaw driver is arguing with a naked sadhu.  A Tibetan woman is selling bone malas.
                                                          “Which character am I?”

Zen Poetry

Summer grasses:
all that remains of great soldiers’
imperial dreams

– Basho

O Snail,
Climb Mount Fuji
But slowly, slowly!

K.Isha

 

” I have not heard of a single Buddha, past or present,
who has been enlightened by sacred prayers
and scriptures.”

– Bassui

The wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen;
Birds sing, the mountains grow dark –
This is the wondrous power of Buddhism.

– Ryokan

The nature of the Mind when understood,
No human speech can compass or disclose.
Enlightenment is naught to be attained,
And he that gains it does not say he knows.

– Huang Po

Poem

Sitting cross legged on a wooden floor
     above the tiny desk, pine branches hang in rain
before my eyes thru glass – a drop falls from the roof edge

broken earth here, pebbles brought from afar scattered
     by white treestump, green grass Crowds the path –

Grey streaks my beard, I began sitting quiet
     lately, but it’s too late to read Lankavatara,
Surangama, Diamond and ten thousand sutras –
     bald head holds no Chinese, Sanskrit, Japanese,
and now Rheumatism twinges my Knees ehn I walk –
Well, with such pines hung in grey sky                   
     I still must be Buddha here – If not
                                who am I?
                                                                    May 3, 1971

Praise to Tara

 

Praise to Tara

Homage to The Three Jewels

Homage to Guru, Deva and Dakini

Homage to you Tara, who bloom with love and compassion

Homage to you Tara, who dwell in wisdom and certainty

Look how you tend to pain and ease the afflictions of all

Look how you protect from dangers and lift the downtrodden

Look how you subdue all negativities and place beings in happiness and joy

Your enlightened form is shining with beauty

Like a 16 year old maiden in her bloom

Draped in silks, adorned with precious jewels

You appear in glittering rainbow colours

Your mind and heart is the union of ancient wisdom and eternal love

Manifesting here and now for the benefit of all

With Amitaba’s light sparkling in the topknot of your hair

You are sure to lead us to the pure lands

Tara, I take refuge in you, please protect and uplift me

Help me to be useful in my life, to really benefit myself and others

Help me to transform every negativity

And bring forth every good quality

Just like you have done

Your tiara shines in splendour

The five poisons having blossomed into their full potential

Let me become a wisdom holder just like that

Your left hand holds three precious Upala flowers, blue like the sky

In honour of the enlightened ones of the three times

Praise to all who have realized the unsurpassable Bodhicitta

Your right hand is in the mudra of giving

Whatever beings need and long for

Always pure, joyful, natural and relaxed in your nature

You rest on a beautiful lotus and moon disc

Your measureless intelligence and compassion shining out in all directions

Tara, compassionate guide of beings

Take me by the hand, help me avoid the lesser paths

Lead me to the higher realms of peace and love

Include me in your mandala of ambrosia so freely given

Let it flow through me and – as if by magic – on to all beings

Who are of the same nature, inseparable from love and light

And let them too become fearless and free like you

Tara, great protector

By the power of vows, interdependence and all our merit

Protect us from being imprisoned by negative circumstances

Protect us from losing our way, protect us from outer calamities

And the inner misfortune of being overwhelmed by negative emotions

By our devotion, remove the veils that hinder clear seeing

Remove the obstacle of ill will and negative actions

Remove the obstacle of clinging to ego and transient things that cannot be relied upon

Remove the obstacle of getting caught in the snares of the world

Remove the obstacle of denigrating others

Remove the obstacle of not understanding how precious we are

Help us to realize the empty nature of phenomena and rest in

The blissful Bodhicitta that is the source of every useful thing

Noble Tara, compassionate mother of beings

Inspire us to be like you

Fearless in suppressing poisonous negativity

Inexhaustible in positive actions for others

Always victorious, joyful and immeasurably kind

By our devotion, please send your blessings

In your white aspect, you grant prosperity, comfort, long life and peace

In your green aspect, you remove obstacles on the path

and show the way of enlightened activity

With your left foot extended, you are always ready to act for beings in need

In all your aspects you are master of skills and medicine

Endowed with power to cure the ills of the living

Tara, compassionate and nurturing one

As long as our devotion remains

Mature us in your nectar of boundless compassion, wisdom and love

                           Let us understand it to be our own nature

Help us gain confidence in the view

Help us rest assured that it is so

Help us to be inseparable from you

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

                                                                        Image result for green tara tibetan script                                        

From Heidi Trondsen KTL sangha in Norway, working for Shenpen Tibet Aid in India and Nepal.

The Buddha’s Master Plan

 

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 illumes them all.

Princes, beggars and pretenders,
All dance their own tango with
Fortune’s jeering taunts and tantrums,
Each gambles to grapple with fate,
But upon the same soil they all tread.

The crown 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.

It is often asked why it is said that there are 84,000 different Dharma-doors (i.e. innumerable forms of Dharma). The answer is simple: Sentient beings are complex and have innumerable biases, different spiritual levels and varying aspirations.  Thus, it is not possible for one fixed form of teaching to suffice by itself. 

Therefore, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have not only spoken a rich collection of different Sutras, but have also manifested as the Sages and founders of different religions in order to teach those who could not yet accept the Buddha-dharma.

According to the Ven. Master Hsuan Hua:

“In Buddhism, he (Guanyin Bodhisattva) appears as a Bodhisattva; in other religions he often appears clad in white robes. In Christianity, he is the Holy Mother; he appears as the Holy Mother to teach and transform a certain category of beings. He appears in white robes and Christians call her Mother Mary, but actually she is Guanshiyin Bodhisattva manifesting in that form to inspire beings to bring forth a resolve that will lead them sooner or later to understand the Buddhadharma. Once they understand the Buddhadharma, they will bring forth the resolve for Bodhi. These are the endless miraculous functions and inconceivable states of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.”

-Ven Master Hsuan Hua’s 1996 Lecture “Guanyin, Guanyin, Guanshiyin” (Translated by the BTTS).

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Remember by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

         Gone far away into the silent land;

         When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

         You tell me of our future that you plann’d:

         Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

         And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

         For if the darkness and corruption leave

         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

         Than that you should remember and be sad.