the bead at the center . . .

The bead at the center
changes everything.

There are no edges to
my loving now.

I’ve heard it said, there’s a window
that opens from one mind to another.

But if there’s no wall, there’s no need
for fitting the window, or the latch.
                                                                        Rumi

capitano donna

Last night, a dream
our spaceship crashes
They say everyone, everything was
destroyed
But the woman ship captain
is there
me and others
and some precious things–broken, everyday items in
a flat open box
do remain…
I wish I could remember
more
The captain was calm, self-assured,
not afraid…of the truth
something was not quite right
I wish I could remember

a soulmate of the Buddha
What are the Buddhas’
dreams for me?
Do I have enough
confidence and courage
to act sufficiently?
To carry them out?
Just to go forward?
As best I can?
With actions that remember the heart?
What precious thing
am I carrying?
What is good enough?

relief from grief

The Therigatha are poems of the first Buddhist women, ordained women who were called “senior ones” due to their spiritual achievements and ability to help others with their suffering. Many of these women came to the Buddha grieving the loss of their husbands, parents or family members. And many of them came to the Buddha suffering from what some claim to be the most intimate and heart-wrenching grief of all, grief over the loss of their child or children. The Buddha, with kindness and compassion, pointed them in the direction of healing.

The following is such a poem. Ubbiri’s poem offers encouragement to all of us, that we can transform even the most intimate, intense suffering.

Ubbiri
spoken by the Buddha to her

Mother, you cry in the forest, “O Jiva,”
get hold of yourself, Ubbiri.
Eighty-four thousand daughters, all with that same name,
the ones that said they were “Life,”
all have been burnt in this cremation ground,
so which one of them are you grieving for?

Spoken by Ubbiri

He pulled out the arrow that was hard for me to see,
the one that I nourished in my heart,
he expelled the grief for a daughter,
the grief that had overwhelmed me.

Today the arrow is pulled out,
I am without hunger, completely free.
I go to the Buddha his dhamma, and his sangha for refuge,
I go to the Sage for refuge.

Love Poem

Your eyes are made of the six elements-
earth, water, fire, air,
space, consciousness.
They are made of these only,
but they are beautiful.
Should I make them mine?
Should I try to make them last for a long time?
Should I try to record them?
But I know that what I can record
would not be your true eyes.

Your voice is made of the six elements,
but it is truly lovely.
Should I try to make it mine?
Should I try to record it?
But I know that what I can hold onto or record
would not be your true voice.
What I get may only be a picture,
a magnetic tape,
a painting,
or a book.

Your smile is made of the six elements,
but it is truly wonderful.
Should I try to make it mine?
Should I try to make it last for a long time?
Should I try to own or record it?
But I know that what I can own or record
could not be your true smile.
It would only be some of the elements.

Your eyes are impermanent
Your eyes are not you.
Yes, I have been told,
and I have seen it,
yet they are still beautiful.

Just because they are impermanent,
they are all the more beautiful.
The things that do not last long
are the most beautiful things-
a shooting star, a firework.

Just because they are without a self,
they are all the more beautiful.
What does a self have to do with beautiful eyes?

I want to contemplate your beautiful eyes,
even if I know
that they do not last
even if I know
they do not have a self.

Your eyes are beautiful.
I am aware that they are impermanent.
But what is wrong with impermanence?
Without impermanence, could anything exist at all?

Your eyes are beautiful.
I am told that they are not you, they have no self.
But what is wrong with the nature of nonself?
With self, could anything be there at all?

So although your eyes are only made of the six elements,
although they are impermanent,
although they are not you,
they are still beautiful,
and I want to contemplate them.
I want to enjoy looking at them as long as they are available.

Knowing your eyes are impermanent,
I enjoy them without trying to make them last forever,
without trying to hold onto or record them
or make them mine.
Loving your eyes, I remain free.

Loving your eyes,
I learn to love them deeply.
I see the six elements which they are,
the six wonderful elements.
These elements are so beautiful.
And I learn to love them too.

There are so many things I love-
your eyes, the blue sky,
your voice, the birds in the trees,
your smile, and the butterflies on the flowers.
I learn each moment
to be a better lover.
I learn each moment to discover my true love.

Your eyes are beautiful.
So is your voice, your smile,
the sky,
the birds,
the butterflies.
I love them. I vow to protect them. Yes.
I know to love is to respect.
And reverence
is the nature of my love.

Thich Nhat Hanh