Poems and Reflections of a Buddhist Monk

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I hope ours lasts, because it’s the only one we have. At present, we have over 190 species of trees at the hermitage and many more if you include the unidentified ones. A Dying Disciple With a shrivelled up body And swollen legs A man not too old in years Lies waiting uncomfortably For his imminent death. He seeks for refuge from the Buddha. 31 I tell him to recite his wish out loud Like I do, like this: “Buddham Saranam Gacchami” After each “saranam”, He gulps a big hick-cup Which sends his head jerking And mind reeling.

How miserable! Trees have played an important part in Buddhism. The Buddha was born, lived, preached and died under trees. Each Buddha has his own Enlightenment (Bodhi) tree and that will be the one beneath which he sought shelter and eventually gained enlightenment. Our present Buddha Gotama was enlightened under the species of Ficus Religiosa. He himself chose it to represent him when he was not around. Since then Buddhists have shown a special reverence for that tree or its offspring. Strangely enough, people who meditate under it find that they get good results.

Here are all that we have missed – More water to drink, even more to bathe, Many hundreds feet deep. Unending hills of virgin forest, Space and more space that stretch to the sky. Everything you need is here Except Nibbana. Kenyir Lake in a way Is like a Noble One’s mind, Hills of forest, Solitude and silence, Deep within you may find a sage in meditation. Waters vast and wide, 50 Cool and calm, Here are depths for his great thoughts to swim in. And the space O so free, That they reach the open heaven Nibbana, signless, When all clouds have by winds scattered.

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