Poetry


Do Good & the Spirits Won't Laugh


Hey, tell me, how does one do good?
Do good by keeping the spirits from laughing at you!

What about these spirits, what are they anyhow?
They are neither good nor evil, but they have eyes!

How can spirits know what's good and evil?
Just stray from your humanity, they'll call you crazy!

Don't tease, what do laughing spirits have to do with it?
Because people are likely to be sorry for a long time!

Why do spirits bother to ridicule us anyway?
They want all of us, and themselves, to give up evil!

You mean we must be good till the spirits "Amen"?
If you do, they won't trick you and you can laugh!

* * *

Born to be Human


How is one born in order to be born human?
Through doing ones duty singularly and supremely!

Whatever do you mean by singularly and supremely?
Well, there's no loophole for ghosts to cheer!

So that everybody praises one, is that what you mean?
Just so nobody can put you down is enough!

That's all? Where's the honor in that?
I was never about honor, how disgusting!

What's the point of being human without honor?
There's a greater humanity beyond honor and fame!

What? How? I'm desperate to know.
No intoxication with honor or fame is what lasts forever!

* * *

Why Were You Born?


Hey, tell me, why ever are we born here?
If you're still selfish, you won't believe anything I say!

How about a hint, so I can float my boat in the stream?
Basically, naturally, we are born simply to be people!

Come on! Is that really all there is to it?
If one fully lives up to the name, it's abundantly fruitful!

What sort of born is called "inhuman"?
The birth that wastes the life one's been given!

How is one born so that this life isn't wasted?
Do not in any way transgress the duty of being human.

How is one born to the fullest standard of humanity?
Firmly commit to the duty of Dhamma people!

* * *

No More Enemies


Enemies are those who surprise and test us 
So we know how good we actually are, or 
That we're only good at blazing up in anger 
Unable to control our hearts for even a moment.

Enemies are those who choose heaven for us 
In that our minds will notice, ponder, and realize 
That patience and tolerance are sainthood right here —
Without them, we become demons of hellish turbulence.

Enemies are those who teach us the truths 
That ill-will and vengeance are filthy waters. 
Don't hold them in your heart, you'll bruise yourself sore
Tossing and spinning in the seas of Samsara far too long.

So it is that enemies bestow upon us great benefits;
then, why do they become villains in our minds? 
Not knowing how to greet them, we react aggressively; 
Learn how to receive them and enemies disappear!

*   *   *

Don't Mess Up


Brother, what good do you see in me?
Little brother, who can know the heart of another!

So why do we become intimate & love each other?
It's much more peaceful & easy than hating each other!

Brother, what do you want me to do?
Just don't mess anything up!

Is that enough for you to stand by me?
Well, if there's no dukkha, what more do you want!

Are you implying that I still suffer dukkha?
If you desire fame, status, or acceptance, there's dukkha for sure!

So if we aim for what is lowly happiness is assured?
All I'm asking is that you don't mess up; figure out the rest!

* * *

You Must Like My Friend Too


If you like me, you must like my friend, too; 
he helps to keep me happy and refreshed.

He's been a comrade in birth, aging, illness, and death; 
regard him as a worthy companion along the path.

In these long-lasting spinning cycles of Samsara
before we reach Sivalaya* revealing the dawn

Of voidness realized in a heart thoroughly freed 
by finally letting go of every last thing.

We humans knowing so much have long-lasting desires; 
animals are more calm and joyful — how amusing.

Whenever we finally reach "The End," 
we'll have traveled and finished the path together!

*   *   *

* Sivalaya : Coolness, a traditional synonym for Nibbana,
sometimes referred to metaphorically as a place.

Shamed by Kittens


Born, we're afraid to die, so shamed by kittens, 
whose lively eyes sparkle with joyful peace,
never thinking foolishly like us, who tremble 
day and night struggling to insure against death.

The more we think, the more we suffer and imbed fear, 
compounding our suffering with layers of confusion.
Getting older, we worry even more, drafting friends 
and cronies to pray against death, yet keeping our fear.

How to conquer death never crosses such minds, 
carrying on mindlessly, a silly sight to behold, 
being Buddhist yet clutching at their "selves," 
hearts quaking in dread of death — shamed by kittens.

*   *   *

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Clinging Surely Bites


Like clinging? Well, be careful, it will bite!
As foolishness grabs hold, craving always arises
Then clinging binds and strangles the spirit.
Before you know it, you'll go crazy in a wink.

Cling to anything and that very thing bites:
Food, fun, or fame, anything whether ugly or sweet;
Even children, wife, husband, and other loved ones;
Good or evil, virtue or vice — you ought to know.

Even the most exquisitely delicious joy of your mind
No matter how peaceful and subtle, if it's clung to 
Suddenly changes into an ogre that turns on you
To gobble you up with that happiness — don't be a fool!

*   *   *

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Tiger Becomes Kitty


These kids of the Tathagata * are tigers!
Ferociously pouncing on the Path-Fruit ** prey.

Living the wilderness of meditation as he taught,
Sorting out the branches of Satipatthana. ***

Body, feeling, minds, and Dhamma —
These four are the territories in which tigers

Circle, stalk, and catch their prey,
Clutched securely in the paws of mindfulness.

Any tiger that gets sloppy with Satipatthana
Becomes a house cat, haven't you seen.

The kittified tiger is gossipped all over,
Once the good name of "tiger" is lost in distractions.

*   *   *

* Tathagata : "One Thus Gone," the Buddha. "Children of the Tathagata" traditionally refers to ordained monks and nuns.
** Path-Fruit : the moments of consciousness that through penetrating insight into the nature of reality cut through the inborn and accumulated accretions of egoism (path) and experience the resulting joy or peace and liberation (fruit).
*** Satipatthana : the applications of mindfulness (listed in next stanza) which are the frames of reference for Buddhist meditation practice.

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Learning Religion


They wonder what it means to "learn Religion,"
Uncertain what to study or how.
Dhamma classes and Pali language aren't enough,
Graduate to meditation and vipassana.

Learn and learn again, all you get is "learning."
Some develop the "religion crazed" illness 
With many things foolhardy and excessive,
Till filled up with status and gains, losing Nibbana.

The only place to learn religion is in the eyes and ears,
Whenever dukkha occurs at one sense or another.
Learn how to withdraw the bridge, so
That Mara hasn't a chance to mess with you.

Learn directly right there in the suffering,
Looking with the right method and model
Intercept the concocting process of the troubled 
mind, so it calms down and dukkha disappears.

*   *   *

I Love Father


I love Dad because he likes to fool around —
He tickles, hugs, and wrestles with me.

I love Dad because he always talks fun
And holds me tight every time we take a walk.

I love Dad for the gentle way he kisses my cheek;
It's funny, sometimes, how my tears flow.

Smiling tears, happy and satisfied without a care
Make me love him even more than before.

Little son, Father once clung & grasped just like that
But one day you will end up balling out your eyes,

Because strong love when separated is hard to bear
Think it over again, son, and set yourself right.

*   *   *

Cats Never Brush Their Teeth


Have you noticed? Cats lack toothbrushes
but their mouths never stink like those of dogs.
They eat raw flesh & smelly food just the same
but their magic mouths don't smell like doggy breath.

Our own human mouths, if we fail to brush
or chew betel nut till they're red as a plum
Will stink to heaven even worse than an ogre's
everyone knows this dearly in their hearts.

Wouldn't it be good if we savored the "Dhamma
Lozenge" all day long and late into the night?
Our mouths will be fresh & fragrant from deep within.
If this isn't true, then come curse me to death.

*   *   *

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