Friday, August 3, 2012

The Wasp and the Leaky Nest

The blind priest who plays the biwa said:
You have lived before
and you will live again
until you see that life is dream,
pure and empty illusion,
created by the thought of "I"
and "not-I," and "this is mine"
and "this is not mine."
This rising here, that rises there.
This ceasing here, that ceases there.
Everything is dependent
on everything else,
therefore all is empty.
All compounded things
are transitory, and given time
will fall apart. Where, then,
in any of this can there be
an "I" or a "mine"?

All is hollow like bamboo,
a body pervaded by space,
and mind is infinite space, too.

You must know that at any instant
death could come --
a sword could cut you down,
a bolt of lightning could strike you,
you could burn up in a fire
or fall off a thousand foot cliff.
Would this be the end?
No. This consciousness of "I" and "mine"
would pass into another body
by the energy of karma,
and another person would arise
growing the womb of another woman,
suffering from all the same delusions --
and so on and so forth
until the day of your Enlightenment
when you realize infinity
in a hair raising instant
and so become a Buddha.
Upon which you know
there was never anything to realize --
Naked Awareness was never lost,
nor did it ever delude itself for a moment.

Shed it! Shed the shadow puppet play now!
Sentient beings must help themselves!
Nobody else can do It for you!


Shakyamuni then declared:
having vanquished Ego-consciousness,
I am now perfectly Enlightened.
for I have shed the false sense
of "I" and "mine"
that obscured this pure Awareness
since long before my birth as Gotama.
I have overcome that
to which I foolishly succumbed
and which made me suffer
in countless life after life
as this Consciousness moved
in a dream, in a fantastic illusion,
from one body to another,
each time mistaking itself
for that body, for those thoughts.
Each time getting drawn into conflicts,
and each time suffering endless grief
from its own negative emotions --
while always stupidly blaming others,
never accepting a shred of responsibility
until I awakened love
and devotion --
throwing myself into a hermit's fire,
giving my flesh to a mother tiger,
practicing equanimity as a king
cut me into pieces
in the great forest --
to the accompaniment of the cries
and groans of his weeping wives.
So. The previous Buddha's prophecy
heard in a long ago kingdom
in a half-forgotten life
has now come to be.
I am Awake, nakedly.
I have walked the Great Way.
And I have attained cessation.
Our revels are now ended;
the play is finished.
No more ominous pageants.
Toss out the moth-eaten god and demon masks!
No more suffering from dreams,
clutched in the talons of a delusion.
"The wasp has flown its leaky nest."

The contemplative life is done. All over.
Gone beyond, beyond, totally beyond! Bodhi Svaha!