Poetry


Noble Arahant


Arahant is perfectly “right,
both freed from every kind of dukkha
and realized in the fullness of humanity,
more worthy of respect than any other.

Having broken the cycles of samsara,
without a self to be reborn in any place,
beyond good and bad, right and wrong — 
just a mind void of “me
and “mine.

Heart freed of everything that ever claimed it,
with no dangers or poisons left to harm,
beyond birth and death. Check it out,
so that you realize Nibbana just like them.

❖      

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.

❖      

Thai Identity


The Nation, Religion, and Royalty
together make up the broad
Thai Identity
with mothers, fathers, teachers,
and the monks connecting all the virtues.

Hurry to summon Thai strength without doubts,
not turning away from morals as supporting action
extending long lives as a sign of merit
that upholds
Thainess securely.

Not recklessly intoxicated with our fame
as if addicted to an opium of infatuation,
or will forever crush Thai without even knowing,
whoever aims to protect Thainess should consider well.

     

Seeing Holy Dukkhaness


Blind & silly when finding joy
Don't be fooled into suffering about it,
Though happy it's poisoned with impermanence,
See the dukkha-ness in each kind of joy.

While everything is poisoned by impermanence,
We go mad, like falling in love with a ghoul,
They delude & confuse most disgustingly:
This dukkha-ness means
revolting.

Both sukhaand dukkhaare despicable,
The thickest prisons entrapping the heart,
Tricked by them like a fish by tasty bait,
Despite having eyes, still caught on the hook.

Seeing only the joy, not the dukkha within,
Like a fish crazy about lasting stability,
So used to its tricks they seem real
Until mind lets go seeing dukkha in sukha.

❖      

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Fish Don't See Water


It's always been that fish never see the water
Flowing over their eyeballs day & night.

However you try there's no way to make
A fish see water — O, you Fish!

Human fish pass through the world the same way.
Has there ever been one who saw

The world clearly just as it is, without 
getting caught in the world's tricky net?

The word
see is taken in many ways;
Fools claim to see even a single hair.

Why don't they see this disease infested world?
If you wonder, ponder well, these fishy matters.

❖      

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Buddhadasa Never Dies


Buddhadasa shall live, there's no dying.
Even when the body dies, listening to no one,
Whether it is or goes doesn't matter at all,
that's only something passing through time.

Buddhadasa carries on, there's no dying.
Through ups and downs always one with the teaching.
As befits ones who's offered body and mind
In ceaseless service under Lord Buddha's command.

Buddhadasa lives on, there's no dying.
In service to all humanity without resting
through the Dhamma proclamations left behind —
O Friends, can't you see that nothing dies?

Even when I die and the body ceases forever
my voice still echoes in comrades' ears
clear and bright, as joyfully loud as ever.
Just as if I never died the Dhamma-body lives on.

Carry on with me as if I never died,
as though I am with you all as before.
Speak up whatever Dhamma is on your minds
as if I sit among you helping point out the facts.

Treat me as if I never died,
then many streams of benefits will accrue.
Don't forget the days set aside for Dhamma discussion,
Realize the End and stop dying!

     

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu 
(on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, 27 May 1987)
[Translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu, 28 April 1994]
Note: "Buddhadasa" in this poem doesn't primarily refer to him.

Mind Training Principles


Dukkha always occurs through three causes:
1. doing abundant evil in the past,
2. not doing any good right now, which is common,
3. not lifting the mind above worldly things.

There's no dukkha when three causes occur:
1. much supporting good done in the past,
2. right now, always doing only what is good,
3. keeping the mind upright, undeluded, & sober.

If you know how to train the mind even higher, 
not messing around with pleasure & pain, 
letting go of everything, freed of all moods, 
done with sweet and bitter, calm and cool in Nibbana.

❖      

Hey, It Can Change!


Whatever must be done, do it joyfully,
No need for even a hair's breath of suffering.
Why foolishly gnaw on life like an old bone, 
Making human birth nothing but misery!

Incompetent at adjusting one's mind to the facts,
Making life torture and assassinating the joy
One ought to find every moment everywhere.
Roasting oneself to a crisp — what fun is that?

Come on folks, give this some intelligent thought:
This human birth, in what way is it any good?
It ought to be good at freedom from suffering — 
Suffering itself will never amount to anything of value.

     

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I Work More Than I Can Bear


I work more than I can bear, but  
     am happy hearted enough to leap and dance. 
This is because my mind thinks and aims 
     only to live in line with the Dhamma, 
Wherever the causes and conditions lead, 
     according to the karma I laid down in former moments. 
To die is like a pause from work, 
     to sleep for a night, to rest for a time; 
With the new dawn, I take up the work 
     vigorously carrying on the work left over from before. 
The new day is a new birth, these two are the same: 
     born with the day and dying at night, 
As the waves of the samsaric cycles create   
     the myriad products that soothe and comfort our hearts. 
Whoever wishes for joy and bliss must know  
     that it depends on the one who can see joy for himself. 
As for me, there is no meaning beyond 
     the fact that I was born only to work 
According to conditions, so that myself and others 
     will know the world, conquer it, and vanquish sorrow. 
Nature created us perfectly, physically and mentally 
     thriving — boundless thanks to Nature! 
Although we are created for birth, decay, and death, 
     yet Nature gives me the chance to vie 
Struggle, and contend in all duties to break ahead 
     in order to reach the end before anyone else. 
While friends encourage each other to lie around, 
     I am working hard as if they were chasing behind. 
The duties of life that besiege constantly 
     are like debts ever piling up on top of me 
Blocking my way almost like a whirlpool, 
     when will I pass beyond and find the place of freedom and peace? 
From here to Nibbana we must pass through  
     the checkpoint which is the work of our lives 
This Law is more certain than any scales; 
     no matter how skilled, no one can escape this rule. 
For this reason, in any activity that 
     aims for the benefit of others or oneself 
We should hurry, struggle, and strive  
     to make it beautiful and work off our debt to Nature. 
Until the heart’s attachments to all things  
     weaken, dissolve, and fade away 
So that wisdom sees directly that greed, anger, 
     and delusion are finished and samsara stopped. 
Hurry friends, don't be late! 
     Whatever work you may meet, tackle it immediately. 
Much work may bring a faster death, 
     but it rolls along towards the final rest, just the same. 

     

Sirivayasa
13 February 1938
(translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu)

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Frightening Stuff


So what in the world is most frightening?
I've looked everywhere, there's nothing at all!

If so, is there anything frightening in people?
I'm immeasurably afraid of my own stupidity!

Don't you mean afraid of other people's stupidity?
That's no trouble if our own doesn't resist!

Isn't the stupidity of criminals something scary?
If we aren't stupid they won't dare anything!

Aren't you afraid of suffering birth, illness, aging, and death?
They burn us because we're so enormously foolish!

Do you mean we'll never suffer if never stupid?
I'm certain. Fear only our own big, fat stupidities!

❖      

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!

❖      

Where Is Value?


A sheet of paper worth only pennies
once decorated with noble characters
of Dhammic meaning in good style
has a value beyond estimation.

A mere souvenir notebook given away free
tho' empty is fought over by grasping fools, 
while the sage in search of truth knows 
paper only has value where Dhamma is written.

Even discarded, crumpled wrapping paper
has value from what, do you know?
Even a rotting body fondled by a foolish spouse,
once with Dhamma stops rotting — no more tears!

❖      

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