In Yamagata Province, the ancient temple founded by Jikaku Daishi in 860, Ryushaku Temple is stone quiet, perfectly tidy… Monks at the foot of the mountain offered rooms, then we climbed the ridge to the temple, scrambling through ancient gnarled pine and oak, gray smooth stones and moss. The temple doors, built on rock, were bolted. I crawled among boulders to make my bows at shrines. The silence was profound. I sat, feeling my heart begin to open.
a single cicada’s cry
sinking into stoneBasho, “Narrow Road to the Interior”, translated by Sam Hamill, The Essential Basho, p. 22
There’s an elegance to the crucifix hanging above the chapel at Graymoor. A gentleness in the eyes looking down, even as the face bears that familiar grimace of pain. The arms, even nailed to the cross piece on the palm, spread out to embrace the world.
As I gaze at this figure, my triumphs pale, and my sins fade to insignificance. In this silence broken only by rustling leaves and passing pilgrims, my heart can pour out sorrow and joy.
Who can say what is born of such an intimate experience of serenity arising from suffering?
the distant cry
of the last cicada
this way of compassion
and dVerse Poets’ Poetics: Let Us Labor (pubtended by Amaya Engleking)
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