Friday, December 17, 2010

Gatha of Enlightenment

Hahaha... I am just joking. It is not my gatha of enlightenment. I was on two minds about whether to proceed to a guru puja today or not. In the end I made up my mind to go. It was then that I got these inspiring lines as below.

Seizing the Moon
Withered trees bear no fruit,
In winter, the sun takes a break.
Swiftly moves the sand of time,
Quickly the wise seizes the moon!

At first I did not know what these lines mean but then after thinking for a while, I think that this gatha (i.e. a Buddhist poem in verses)  is full of dharma message and contains the essence of the entire Buddhist teachings. I think it can have many levels of meaning, including non-religious ones, as one of my friends told me. If you have any other way of interpreting this poem, do share.

The first line, "withered trees" refers to a person with no bodhicitta. Trees with many leaves provide shade to many and they are the resting place for birds and other creatures. Such trees also support the earth and the creatures down there in many ways. A withered tree is unable to perform all these beneficial tasks. A sentient being without bodhicitta is the same and cannot win the fruit of Enlightenmnet. That is why bodhicitta is said to be the sole and complete path to Enlightenment. The first line should also remind  a person of the hot hells where the environment is so hot that no tree can survive. The second line, reminds us of the cold hells where it is the opposite of the hot hells. So, these 2 lines remind us not to do negative actions that result in being reborn in the lower realms of hungry ghost, animal and hell-beings. When one accumulates negative action, one cannot receive much blessings, even from the Buddhas. That's also the meaning of the second line "the sun takes a break". We can also associate the first line to being deluded by hatred and anger, symbolised by the hot condition that causes the tree to wither. The second line can be associated to being deluded by greed and attachment, symbolised by the cold condition of winter. And both greed and hatred are caused by deep ignorance that will hinder our attaining the fruit of Liberation. The "Sun" also alludes to the blessing we receive from our Root Guru and its importance in having deep and proper devotion. It is then only that we will receive the blesisngs. Without proper devotion to the Guru and the Triple Gem, there will be little, if no blessings derived from studying/practising the dharma.
The third line reminds one of the preciousness of human rebirth and its short life span and impermanence. At any time, death can occur. Therefore, we should treasure well our precious human rebirth by making full use of our time to practice the dharma and benefit human and others in ways that we can. Those who are not religious can still benefit others in non-religious ways.

If we practice the foregoing, we will be able to develop our wisdom quickly. A person with such qualities will want to practice the concentration meditation and in time will develop insight wisdom. And if he./she is keen on takign tantric practice, then he/she will take guidance from a qualified guru and develop the generation and completion stages. Ultimately,  a wise man who has attain the insght wisdom by doing the concentration and insghht meditations and having all the aforementioned qualities will swiftly attain to the highest goal of BUDDHAHOOD. That's the moon we should quickly grab!

Hence all the points of the Lam Rim are contained in the four lines of gatha. How I wish it was my gatha (Buddhist poetry) of enlightenment!  Hehehe... but unfortunately, it is only an inspiration I received on the way to a Guru puja to be conducted by Ven. Choeden Rinpoche.  But it certainly sounded Zen-like with all the use of the nature symbolism in the lines.

I dedicate this poem to the success of all my Gurus' activities and relief of every suffering and attainment of final Buddhahood for all beings!

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