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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Three poems by Nichiren

"He Yet Liveth"

A mirage was the smoke of Shakya's pyre
That seemed at Kusinara* to arise:
Death could not bind him, nor might fire
Destroy the Teacher of such verities.
Hark, he yet liveth, and doth speak
Eternal wisdom from the Vulture Peak

*Kusinara, the city where Shakyamuni was cremated.

"False Appearances"

"That bamboo looks just like a boat"
Ponders the fool who sees it float.
'Twould be of less than no avail
In such a fragile bark to sail!

"Come, Wind of Truth"

The night wind drives aslant the rain:
Hark, how it strikes the window-pane!
So evil thwarts the will of heaven,
As raindrops from their course are driven.
The eagle cleaves the mountain wind;
So words from the Eternal Mind
Of Buddha fall athwart our strife,
And drive away the ills of life.
Masses of fog and thickening clouds
Wrap close about me like a shroud.
Eternal from the Vulture Peak*
Whence still the Buddha's voice doth speak
Come, Wind of Truth, drive error out,
As morning puts the night to rout.
Alas! We may not meet him face to face!
Yet is he with us all in everyplace.
Lo! In the mystic stillness of the dawn
where no man stirreth is vision born.

* Vulture Peak, Eagle Peak, or Ryojusen, is where the Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra.

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