Posts Tagged ‘buddha’





Even the Buddha had a bad back,

I think as I shake out my leg.

It has fallen asleep

while I have been sitting

in the same position

for a long, long time

and stubborn, I didn’t want to move.


I notice the urge to chastise my leg

as if it were a small child

caught napping during class,

though it’s my mind

that needs a talking to.


Even the Buddha had visitations

with doubt, I think as I wrestle

with doubt myself. Though I

plan only to arm wrestle,

doubt pins me flat to the ground

and sits on me full weight

for a long, long time.


I don’t struggle.

Doubt, I say, I have nothing

to prove to you today.

And to my surprise,

it gets up and walks away.

I notice it is limping.

Perhaps a bad back.

Perhaps in its enthusiasm

to use me as a cushion

for a long, long time,

its leg has fallen asleep.


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Just As It Is

Until you can see, literally, that everybody is the Buddha, then you are not seeing things the way they are.
—Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

First I quarter, then core them,
the red-skinned pears, then slice them
into slender white wings to dry. The fruit

in the box is misshapen, lumpy and mottled,
brown scarred in spots, some shriveling.
But ripeness has brought a warm tide of gold

to their skin, and in my hands, beside the knife,
it is easy to find them beautiful. I am thinking
about how today I heard a teacher of mine

suggest that everyone, everyone is a Buddha,
and I wonder if he could also mean me.
Could I unknow myself to the point where

I, too, am Buddha? It is easier, somehow,
to believe in everyone else. The scent of
autumn weaves through the kitchen air

as the pear sugars concentrate on the racks.
And Herbie Hancock undoes the scales
on the stereo, while Joni Mitchell sings

of … I do not know what, but I feel I would
follow her voice anywhere she would sing me.
Surely Joni Mitchell is a Buddha, and surely

Herbie Hancock, too. I can tell by the way
they loosen the notes from grasp of where
I expect they will go. I try to harmonize, but

they elude me. It is late. Or rather,
it is early morning and it is easier now—
perhaps from exhaustion—to laugh at myself,

to belt out loud and off key and make up words
to unfamiliar songs. It is not embarrassment I feel,
though I’ve often been embarrassed before—rather

I wear a sense that the pieces don’t quite fit together,
that the world is unsettled and breaking apart,
and that I am a part of the mess. But I don’t

feel a need to fix it, nor myself, I suppose,
surely not now when my hands are sticky with pear juice,
slicing the white flesh pound after beautiful, mottled pound.

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