Monday, May 17, 2010

Buddha's Birthday

two thousand five hundred
and fifty four years ago
a child was born
to Queen Maya
and King Suddhodana.
they named the child
Siddhārtha Gautama
and  the hermit seer Asita
prophesized that the child
would be a great king
or a great sage who
could save the world.

no one knew the path
he would take
not even the holy Asita was sure.
at twenty-nine
he walked away from wealth
and power and fame
to seek the path of the truth,
and from this selfless action
he has allowed us to discover
the holy truth for ourselves.

as we celebrate
this sacred event together
let us wonder what would have happened
had Chán Master Yúnmén
actually been there
at the time of his birth
and beat him with a stick
and fed him to a hungry dog,
what would we be celebrating today?

Asita’s prophesy was a big mistake,
Chán Master Yúnmén’s statement
was also a big mistake,
also, this poem is a big mistake.
look at the person
next to you and you
will see Buddha–
look in a mirror
and in the reflection
is also a Buddha.
outside the sun is shining–
inside there are many smiling faces
all come to pay homage
to Śakyamuni Buddha
and thank him for choosing
to be here today.

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