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The Bodhisattva’s Four Methods of Guidance

August 2, 2014

by Stephen Damon

This morning, I found a poem I had written during my priest training.  My teacher had asked me to write responses to all of Dogen’s fascicles in Moon in a Dew Drop, and I often used verse to express my thoughts. 

 

A bodhisattva

Travels the four directions

Of the Buddha Way

Endlessly

 

Freeing all beings

Ending all their delusions

And realizing

Buddha’s Way.

 

With each breath you take

You illuminate the way

Taught by buddhas

And ancestors.

 

With just one remark,

A small phrase from a sutra

You plant a seed

For all lifetimes.

 

Your act of giving

Transforms even an atom

Of dust into gold

Precious jade.

 

The six perfections

Of the Bodhisattva Way

Practice giving first

 

Be kind in your speech

Addressing some with praises

Others with pity

All with love.

 

Practice this method

With everyone you will meet

During this lifetime

And the next.

 

Follow this teaching

With great care, contemplating

Its power to transform

All beings.

 

Your actions will help

Sentient beings throughout

Countless lifetimes near

And distant.

 

Each beneficial

Action you take towards others

Should be done without

Distinction

 

Of self and other

Friend, enemy, or stranger.

Act out of oneness

Not twoness.

 

When you help a tree

The grass will grow, a frightened

Child will sleep through

The cold night.

 

Sometimes a tree

Is just a tree, other times

It is the blue sky

Above you.

Bows,

Stephen

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