2019 - Unfinished Symphony
- another poem from Sri Lanka
2018 - Kathina in Sri Lanka - a new poem sent by
Moneyya from Sri Lanka
A new edition
of Moneyya Chronicles This edition has an author
photo and blurb from me on the back. Check it out.
also on buddhasana.net
Training at Pa-Auk Forest Monastery - by Bhikkhu Moneyya
Reasons to Stop Taking Drugs - which he finished and sent January 1st
of this year.
The Duration of Buddha
Sasana - a talk by Moneyya (audio)
click on image to enlarge
Final Musings for 2018
and ye shall find; but if thou seekest anew, hast thou lost what thou hast
you had to choose between political correctness and moral correctness, which
would it be? And why do I ask? Because sooner or later, you will.
can we know the difference between the relative and the absolute? The difference
it comes to war, going in is always easier than getting out.
best sex is sex without birth and death. Unfortunately, that is a contradiction
not what the Dhamma can do for you; ask rather what you can do for the Dhamma.
Read my lips, but
don’t believe everything you read.
Polgasoweeta, Sri Lanka
I saw her there,
Stranded on the reef,
With the water rising.
I wanted to tell
her there was nothing to fear,
But I knew she would not live
To see the coming day.
My mouth was
My thoughts dispersed, my tongue made lame,
I knew not what to say.
The tide was coming in,
A pearl of dew slid down her cheek,
And dropped into oblivion.
I saw the wave as it crashed the reef,
Her frail form was swept away,
Engulfed in the mighty spray.
I must do something, I said to myself,
It seemed too cruel and cowardly
Just to stand there while this happened.
Across the void, my hand reached out,
The emptiness shining –
The unspoken word.
I could taste the salt water
As it entered her mouth
And made its way to her lungs.
I could feel the currents
As they swirled round her body,
Pulling her down to a treacherous end.
I could sense the hopes and the fears
Of an unfinished journey,
The moment of transit,
And then, and then…
Polgasowita, Sri Lanka
Kathina in Sri Lanka
To the bhikkhus of Polgasoweeta
With robes the color of jackfruit and
mahogany, draped upon our aging bodies, we stand single file, silent and
motionless, awaiting the inevitable. With the crack of wood-on-wood thunder, our
line comes to life, like some giant naga, roused from its slumber, and snakes
its way along the path to the Dhamma Hall. Today is Kathina (the annual offering
of robes to the monks), and many families have come to join in the celebration.
For them, it is a time for making merit and reconnecting to their Buddhist
roots; for the children, however, it is a time of discovery – of giving and
receiving, when the old is replaced by the new.
As usual, more girls have come than boys
– girls with dark skin and nubile bodies, coaxed by their parents up to the
seated monks in the Dhamma Hall. One of them, with the help of her mother,
cautiously approaches the chair I am seated in, and reaches out to me with her
first Kathina robe, as I extend my arms to accept her offering. Her coal-black
eyes shine like burning embers – the wick of an all-consuming glory, flickering
in the consciousness of the moment, casting shadows of a distant time, when
devas descended from the heavens to pay homage to the Ariya Sangha, with the
Blessed One at its head.
Year after year, they come and make
their offerings, as the supple lines of breast and hip grow more pronounced,
evoking the roundness of ripe pomegranates, bursting with their red seeds. The
flames grow brighter, curves become shooting stars, the branches bend ever so
slightly, heavy with the burgeoning fruit of the season’s bounty.
Yet all too soon, the season ends, for
buried deep within the flesh of every fruit, lie the seeds of future change, of
increase followed by decrease, as gravity takes its toll on the physical frame:
the breasts sag, the belly distends, the hips widen. Gone is the lilt and
bounce, the spark that lit uncounted fires, long forgotten, yet burning still in
the memory banks of time; so too, our old robes wear out, but each year new ones
are sewn and offered to the Sangha.
This year, I returned to Sri Lanka just
in time for Kathina. Withered and hunched, with faltered step, an old lady
approaches the row of seated monks in the Dhamma Hall, unable to lift the heavy
burden of her offering alone. With the help of her son, she extends her arms
toward me, as I reach out to accept the freshly sewn robe. Suddenly, I see the
same young girl that I saw so many years ago on this very same day – the same
purity, the same innocence, the same wonderment and devotion. But her eyes no
longer shine like burning embers, and everything about her seems to have turned
a shade of grey.
Soon there will be many tears, but not
from her eyes. The ashes will be collected and placed in urns or scattered on
the ocean waves. Later that same day, a young girl, with the help of her mother,
approaches the row of seated monks to make her first Kathina offering. Her
coal-black eyes shine like burning embers, but her features are shrouded in a
mist, which seems to hang in the air, veiling the entire Dhamma Hall. Beyond
that veil, a thousand eyes stare back at me, all of them asking the same
I think back to the time of the great
ascetic monk, Maha Kassapa, who kept the same robe for more than eighty years –
a true benchmark if there ever was one. It was the last robe to ever cover the
nakedness of his 120-year-old body, but what would you do if you'd been offered
a robe by the Buddha? Anyway, I am not Maha Kassapa, and this old robe – faded
and threadbare as it is, and coming apart at the seams – has been my home and
second-skin for more than seventeen (or is it seventy?) years, and is in sad
need of a replacement.
Polgasoweeta, Sri Lanka
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