Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Buddha Has Come, and So Has Death

The Buddha has come, 
and so has death.
I can no longer sleep.
I sit burning incense 
to the gods again,
Om Mani Padme Hum.
Candles flicker in the darkness
as fingers move along
the lotus seeds,
no longer wishing for a jewel.
Om Mani Padme Hum.

Nothing is known.
How have I come to 
sit alone again,
reading unread sutras I forgot
were even on the shelf?
The Perfection of Wisdom
in Eight Thousand Lines.
How have I come to 
sit alone again,
the pendulum winding down.

Sitting with a friend,
the pendulum completely stopped,
but the friend mistook it for rejection,
or so it seemed.
When energy wasn't moving 'toward,'
it was perceived as 'away,'
but there simply was no movement
of That which never comes or goes.
No emotions rising from separation
and the hope of sweet reunion.
I am alone.

As I sat reading in the night,
"How to stand in emptiness,'
a moth flew right into the light
above my book, 
then fell into my lap
seared and stunned
and fluttering for life.
It crawled into the folds
of my white nightgown
beneath a woolen prayer shawl
and grew still as death.

Like the moth,
I, too, will seem to die.
Will it be from cancer
or flying with abandon
straight into the Light?
Or is there any difference?
I do not know.
I only know I am content
to shelter this small moth
that seems so close to death
as it lies shrouded in my prayer shawl
next to my still warm and living body.

When the insect's breath has ceased,
I take its body to my alter
and place it on a smooth
black stone to Shiva - 
Om Namah Shivaya - 
encircled by a mala
made of lotus seeds, 
and then I simply weep
for the beauty of its life
and the beauty of its death.
It died by flying into Light. 

Dorothy Hunt 
Photo:  Peter Bowers