Poetry

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).

Continue reading

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.

Haiku, Chögyam Trungpa

The beginner in meditation
Resembles a hunting dog
having a bad dream

۞

His parents are having tea
With his new girlfriend –
Like a general inspecting his troops.

۞

Skiing in a red and blue outfit,
Drinking cold beer with a lovely smile –
I wonder if I’m one of them?

۞

Coming home from work,
Still he hears the phone
Ringing in his office.

۞

Gentle day’s flower –
The hummingbird competes
with the stillness of the air.

 

Chögyam Trungpa

 

 

FLAGS

 

Flags are separate symbols

that blow and wave, unfurl,

express our pretensions that

we, too, are separate,

country from country

body from body, mind from mind.

Our bars of belief and superstition

have bound us and in thrall to habit

we are ready to kill in the name of a priest,

an imam, a language, a symbol that flutters in the wind.

We must belong, see ourselves as having kinship

with others to protect from the draw of the jungle,

the real division from our true selves

that lies deep down in our true nature.

World Peace Flag

Why is there, one must ask, this division—the Russian, the American, the British, the French, the German, and so on—why is there this division between man and man, between race and race, culture against culture, one series of ideologies against another? Why?

Where is there this separation? Man has divided the earth as yours and mine—why? Is it that we try to find security, self-protection, in a particular group, or in a particular belief, faith? For religions also have divided man, put man against man—the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews and so on.

Nationalism, with its unfortunate patriotism, is really a glorified form, an ennobled form, of tribalism. In a small tribe or in a very large tribe there is a sense of being together, having the same language, the same superstitions, the same kind of political, religious system. And one feels safe, protected, happy, comforted. And for that safety, comfort, we are willing to kill others who have the same kind of desire to be safe, to feel protected, to belong to something.

This terrible desire to identify oneself with a group, with a flag, with a religious ritual and so on gives us the feeling that we have roots, that we are not homeless wanderers. – Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself, pp 59-60

 

FROM: WHEN SNOW MOUNTAINS WEAR BLACK HATS

 

May the blessings of the exalted sources of refuge,

The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Three Jewels

And the Lama Yidam and Protectors, the three Roots,

Pacify the terrors of illness, famine, war

 

And chaos in the elements: the temperatures

Unbalanced, grand snow mountains – hard firm glaciers –

Will melt and disappear. Rivers and lakes

Will become parched, so the primeval forests

 

And trees of beauty too, will near their deaths.

There is the terrifying danger the world’s reaches

Will become a great wasteland. May these imminent

Dangers  be fully extinguished, and sublime

 

Good fortune and happiness spread all around.

May all beings nurture one another lovingly

And kindly, so their joy may fully blossom.

May all their aims be fulfilled, in accordance with the dharma.

 

Requested by John Stanley

Composed by Kanchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Translated by  David Karma Chopel.

At Thrangu Monastery Kathmandu, Nepal  2006

 

From ‘When Snow Mountains Wear Black Hats –  A Buddhist Response to Global Warming’.   J. Stanley D. R. Loy, G.Dorje  Prajna Press , Ireland 2008.

 

love Annie

 

 

THE BRIG

For those who like to see things in a unity, and in time for the opening of the beautiful Queensferry Crossing in a few hours, here is the entire sequence of the Brig poems:

The Brig

I

Too often the ford had been impassable.
The river tormented with a thunderous divide
between the landholds of opposing tribes
that weighed their worth in lineage and cattle.

Wild weathers brought them together at last;
deep quarrels of blood were cast aside
so the need of exchange could override
the lust for revenge through constant battle.

They gathered up stones that the hills had shed,
assessing their value by texture and grain,
and split them to size with wedges, not swords.

With each side anchored by the river’s bed,
on a scaffold of pine they arched a span
locking a keystone stronger than words.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

II

On crystal days the bridge and the water
made a circle of light in which birds and
insects, air and thought might pass through time
without a single ripple of reflection.

People came, not to traverse the bridge, but
to be where the gurgling silence was full
and to wait with no burden of expectation till
the moon would tremble the halo with glow.

Lovers met there where arms reached out
and touched, and pilgrims on their way
to penance stopped for ceremonies
of soft water and the sanctuary of trees.

When rain roared with the river in full flow,
fox spirits crossed on the parabola of night.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

III

Stones don’t groan, but there are times when
the load placed on them calls out for a sound
to complement the burden of enforced departure,
the weight that presses in a bitter leaving,
to harmonise with the lament of grinding wheels
and shuffling feet against greased cobbles,
the scrabbling masses of submissive sheep
squeezed through parapets towards course shearing.

Dragoons and brigands on iron shod horses
clattered across with cloaked intentions;
and hearses, too, rigid as covered guns,
returned for burials in the heart of the glen.

With the advent of engines, the brig, disused,
decayed, evoked in photographs of then.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

IV

Sometimes it seems that the brig is one
with the stone from which it sprung, as if
the rock was reaching to rejoin itself after
the wearing of millennia of water.

There is a fragile solidity to
the cupping of time in a curve that lifts
the whole of the sky as an offering
to be passed to the clasp of another
in a gentle continuum of transference.

Or is it, perhaps, the space that wears away,
and time that erodes to wasted sand
with the water as its messenger;
and emptiness that makes the solid
of the hole in the stone it leaves behind?

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

V

People stopped to marvel at the skeleton
of the brig, how its rickle of stones still stood
in defiance of gravity and hard weather.

Coaches and minibuses spilled out tourists.
Soon it was listed amongst a selection
of ‘must see sites’. Guides were hired to invent crude
myths of secret trysts and black bloody deeds with their
associated hauntings. Teens on study trips
queued at caravans for brigburger
specials and chips. Engineers sweated
to preserve the brig’s dilapidated state
in perpetuity. Nothing could be allowed to disturb
its rich antiquity, the wealth it created.

Pipers piped pibrochs, donations gratefully accepted.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

VI

The dome of a morning was stirred by a note
that hollowed the bowl of hills and fields.
It loomed as though through a ring of fog;
an upwelling out of the stubborn soil
shivering dying grasses with impending;
water being strummed in a goblet of innocence;
the songbreath of an aeolian vowel
captured in the curvature of a bell.

Horses snorted, stamped, drew back their ears;
dogs turned docile, lolled below lintels,
their jaws held tight to the tremulous earth;
birds cocked their heads, refrained from flying.

Wind touched a wavering harmonic in the brig,
brushed the tension in its stone with a fingertip.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

VII

When the support about the keystone crumbles,
and the dressed blocks of the arch collapse
into the rough and tumble of the torrent,
once again we’ll have to learn to stumble
over the random stepping stones, and clasp
at overhanging foliage to prevent
being taken by that relentless force
of water thrusting from the thunder of the gorge.

By then we’ll have forgotten the beauty of the bridge.
Our attention will be focused on the placement of our feet,
balancing the power we’ll need to take those leaps
of faith that sudden bursts of courage,
and a fixed will to succeed, should help us reach
those paths we lost through arrogance, conceit.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

VIII

Once there was a brig here. That much is known.
We find it in the lore of stories told round fires
after the inundations, the re-formation of the ice.

Who envisaged it, who argued its cause,
who laid down the gold, who worked it, all are lost
to time and fern and moss with those who loved
and fought in consequence that it was here.

Water has renewed the great divide.

What remains is a bridge of mist,
the suspended condensation of a truth
emerging like a halo out of night,

What continues is the conjunction
of all that hangs upon the arch of a rainbow,
a perfect precision of art, and light.

©Angus D H Ogilvy August 2017

 

 

 

angusAngus 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.

 

SIKKIM HAIKU SEQUENCE PART 2

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

January sunshine…

leaves still falling

roses in bloom 


***


humming a tune…

I haven’t played a guitar

since Kathmandu 


***


‘Meditate on the sun’:

his words on page 99

awash with sunlight 


***


teaching on emptiness –

the wind fills a curtain 

for a short while


***


evening meditation howling jackals break our silence 


***


change in the weather –

three pairs of stripey socks

in the yoga room


***


3am
 thunderstorm   its eerily quiet aftermath 


***


morning silence –

inside, pans clattering 

outside, the thrush’s song  


***


the day after 

Rinpoche’s departure –

cloudy and cool


***


breakfast outside:

would you like some scrambled egg

little green spider?


***


chanting from a Hindu temple  St. Bridget’s Day


*** 


last day of retreat:

gusts of wind release leaves

onto the newly-swept path 

 

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

haiku

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

ODE TO MANCHESTER: Ani Rinchen Khandro

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)

 

 

Makara

NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.57.18 PM.png
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

purelandsutras.wordpress.com/blog/

 

THE MIDDLE WAY BY TIMOTHY BARROW

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.