In the late morning, I walk into Fuxing park
grateful for the refuge it offers from the bustle of the city.
The cicadas’ vibrating chants echo amidst the stillness of the bamboo grove,
and I wish to be one of the giant dragonflies that fly so freely over the lotus pond.
Photo taken in Fuxing Park, Shanghai.
In the large temple,
the gilded Buddha and Bodhisattva statues towered over me.
Their bodies stiff,
their eyes sharing nothing.
It is the lotus that spoke to me.
it taught me humility
and simple beauty.
Inspired by a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai, China in June 2018. The same thing happened to me when I visited the giant Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, a few years ago. It was in a rose tilting under the weight of rain drops that I found serenity, not the giant metal statue.
My son and I are traveling to the Middle Kingdom.
We hope to glean some wisdom – a bit of Tao, a bit of Chan, and certainly many noodles. The latter are the ones holding the wisdom. Just ask any sage.
I know that through our travels some smile dust will stick to our robes, the dust left by all the smiles that will greet us along the way.
And I promise that when we return, I will spread some here for all of you to enjoy.
Open the door and become the sky.
Mu shin –
being absent so as to be fully present.
All questions fall into silence,
stars disappearing in the early morning.
The realisation that the self has no opposite,
a flower simply being a flower.
We are but specks of dust catching the light and moving with the breeze.
We came from distant places to this earth that is blue, so that we may become ocean.
We are here to shine, and embrace sorrows and joys.
We are here to be kind, and speak words of comfort.
We came a long time ago,and since then, some have forgotten that it is to love that we are here.
I do not write about lingering sunsets, falling blossom petals, the light in the early morning or even about birds taking flight.
I do not use metaphors either. Using the beauty of the world to describe emotions, renders all things oh … just so so banal.
There is no need to trap beauty into words and fancy imagery, forcing it to jump through loops of twisted grammatical constructs.
As for emotions, if you love, if you feel sad; just say it! No need for the rain to take the place of your tears. Your tears are beautiful just as they are.
In this self-centered world, where poetry is measured in hits and likes, as though it was a piece of furniture, I admit to finding little solace in the words of others.
So I lean back on the old Masters like Verlaine and Kobayashi and Hafez and Pushkin and Wang Wei and Victor Hugo and Rumi and Li Pao and Neruda and Basho, and many others.
When I hold a book of their poetry, the world slows down, everything becomes tenderly subtle and I can then hear the silence of beauty.