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Buddha And The Goddess -- Rick Fields

Guest poem sent in by Radhika Gowaikar
(Poem #1258) Buddha And The Goddess
 Thus have I made up:
 Once the Buddha was walking
 along the forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai,
 walking without arriving anywhere or having any
 thought of arriving or not arriving.
 And lotuses, shining with the morning dew
 miraculously appeared under every step
 Soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha.
 When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
 dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking
 eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
 or a spider's web
 transparent as the dew on a lotus flower
 --the Goddess appeared quivering
 like a hummingbird in the air before him.
 She, for she was surely a she
 as the Buddha could clearly see
 with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,
 was mostly red in color
 though when the light shifted
 she flashed like a rainbow.
 She was naked except
 for the usual flower ornaments
 goddesses wear.
 Her long hair
 was deep blue, her eyes fathomless pits
 of space, and her third eye a bloodshot
 song of fire.
 The Buddha folded his hands together
 and greeted the Goddess thus:
 "O goddess, why are you blocking my path?
 Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
 Now I'm not so sure where I go."
 "You can go around me,"
 said the Goddess, twirling on her heel like a bird
 darting away,
 but just a little way away,
 "or you can come after me
 but you can't pretend I'm not here,
 This is my forest, too."
 With that the Buddha sat
 supple as a snake
 solid as a rock
 beneath a Bo tree
 that sprang full-leaved
 to shade him.
 "Perhaps we should have a chat,"
 he said.
 "After years of arduous practice
 at the time of the morning star
 I penetrated reality and."
 "Not so fast, Buddha," the Goddess said,
 "I am reality."

 The earth stood still,
 the oceans paused,
 the wind itself listened
 --a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas and dakinis
 magically appeared to hear
 what would happen in the conversation.
 "I know I take my life in my hands,"
 said the Buddha,
 "But I am known as the Fearless One
 --so here goes."
 And he and the Goddess
 without further words
 exchanged glances.
 Light rays like sun beams
 shot forth
 so brightly that even
 Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
 had to turn away.
 And then they exchanged thoughts
 And the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle
 And then they exchanged minds
 And there was a great silence as vast as the universe
 contains everything
 And then they exchanged bodies
 And then clothes
 And the Buddha arose
 as the Goddess
 and the Goddess arose as the Buddha.
 And so on back and forth
 for a hundred thousand hundred thousand kalpas.
 If you meet the Buddha
 you meet the Goddess.
 If you meet the Goddess,
 you meet the Buddha.
 Not only that. This:
 The Buddha is emptiness,
 The Goddess is bliss.
 The Goddess is emptiness,
 The Buddha is bliss.
 And that is what
 And what-not you are
 It's true.
 So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the
 the unsurpassed non-dual mantra. Just to say this
 just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word
 of this
 mantra once makes everything the way it truly is: OK.
 So here it is:
 Hey silent one, Hey great talker
 Not two/ not one
 Not separate/ not apart
 This is the heart
 Bliss is emptiness
 Emptiness is bliss
 Be your breath, Ah
 Smile, Hey, And relax, Ho
 Remember: You can't miss.
-- Rick Fields

Not all of this poem makes sense to me. But it doesn't need to. There is
something about it that just feels right. And this appeal, I suspect, is
not inspite of, but rather because of my imperfect understanding of it.

I also like the quiet drama of the 'story', the way that the climax (as I
see it) is 'narrated' as if it were natural and meant-to-be.

And the last two lines are... well, cool :)

I came across this poem here

Some links with information about the poet -
This also has some more interesting poems.
This has obituaries.


150 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Ashwin Menon said...

Thanks, I really loved this one. It seems to me to be
a good example of the gentle humour typical of
Buddhist philosophy. The initial lines create the
expectation of an epic duel of ideas between the
Buddha and the Goddess ("even Sariputra, the
All-Seeing One, had to turn away"). But the result of
the duel is the almost whimsical "mantra" (so simple
that we hesitate to call it a "mantra") that finishes
the poem so beatifully. It seems to poke gentle fun at
the "traditional" way of "doing" philosophy, as
exemplified by Sankara : find a worthy opponent, have
a duel of ideas, and the loser accepts the winner's
point of view. Contrast this with the Zen mantra -
"You can't miss!". You don't have to prove anything to
anybody, and you don't have to go anywhere in search
of an answer. The puzzle is already as easy as it
gets, we only make it hard for ourselves by trying to
second guess the puzzle-setter. I guess the "old"
buddhism would have gone the Sankara way, churning out
large philosophical tracts trying to get at the truth
and missing it completely all the while. Hence the
exhortation to "be your breath, smile and relax".

Sorry for the length of this comment. I haven't even
begun to say what I want to say, but that's the beauty
of this point of view, like a joke : to discuss and
dissect it would be to kill it, and I've already
mangled it pretty badly!.

- Ashwin

Lauren Dunn said...

The Goddess and The Buddha thank you from the bottom of the Universal
Heart that springs forth from the Infinite Radiant Is!

This poem is absolutely perfect in this moment in time! The Divine
Union is at hand!

Thank you for being an instrument of Love.

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