At the end of the day.
Ring the gong. Twice.
At the start of the day.
Ring the gong. Thrice.
If nothing else is possible
At least RING.
At the end of the day
Hail to the Mandala
Let us so be engulfed within
its praises ever more that
By our own wills and vigilance
May we our fetters cut away
May we within the temple of our
own hearts dwell
Amidst the myriad mountains
Hail! Hail! Hail!
There’s a lot in that simple verse to Achalanatha. The Bodhisattva known as the immovable one.
Lived with conviction,
at a profound level.
Even when there seems little reason for jubilation, no cause for merriment, no sun shining, no uplift, there is always the temple of ones own heart. To return to. Hail!
12 thoughts on “Before The Altar”
Thank you RM Mugo,
This is what popped into my mind upon reading your post.
Lyrics from the swing tune “It Ain’t What you Do.” written by Lisa Stansfield
THE FIRST PART IS
When I was a kid, about half past three
My ma said daughter, come here to me
Says, things may come and things may go
But this is one thing you ought to know
Ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it (x3)
That’s what gets results…
AND Towards THE LAST PART IS
But remember not to try too hard or it don’t mean a thing…
Thank you for this Reverend Mugo. Seems just right for me this morning. I often find reasons not to do an evening sit, but I can surley sound the gong and recite the scripture. With bows.
This little Temple
Of thatched roof
And wobbly bamboo poles
Sometimes lets the rain in,
Tears from self or friend,
A temporary deluge
That washes the floor;
But also the sun
Often comes for a visit
Steps across the threshold
In dappled shade and
The birds’ songs lift the heaviness
From the far away
Grumpy village echoes
Not always sturdy,
Shaken by wind
Or wild thoughts;
Sometimes the night beautiful
With stars or
Cold with remorse
Feeling weak, or
What is there
I sit in the strength
Of Its open space
My bows and crossed legs
To a trail of incense
The Temple of my heart
Dear Rev’d Mugo,
This is lovely. I liked it so much I’ve shared the poem on my own blog, I hope you don’t mind. Hope all is well with you, and happy new year!
I thought came while reading this, A Ryokan poem? The hut reference…that sort of thing. And then reading on down the page, I see it is you.
This morning, before seeing this poem and other comments, I was pondering on Jade. Not with downward thoughts so much as….well, asking myself, Whence comes this blog? Whither Jade’s direction and along with that, mine? And similar thoughts. (I have been thinking about ‘live’ content for example. Enable this place to be interactive, immediate.)
And so with this crop of comments I derive a greater sense of things. People come here and as a consequence, affirm.
Maybe see you and others this spring.
Isn’t that so interesting. I read you post, in particular the preambling paragraph about overt religious language once putting you off (in blogs). We sit in the same place there. Oh, and I am glad you lifted my ‘poem’ into the purple clouds!
While posting last night I did wonder about the wisdom of it considering the context, the internet and a broad, and largely unknown, readership. And anyway I tend to keep what I have to say about practice to the practical – gong ringing. Mention the word ‘mandala’ or the like and most are tempted to take off, mentally, into the sky there to wander for awhile – while dinner burns in the oven and dust piles up on the stairs. I tend to assume people are digging into themselves for the core/the unbounded, the ‘whence cometh’. Everybody wants ‘a place’, ‘a source’ and long for direction and ‘teaching’. Obviously that is part of the picture, the Dharma, however…..
What I see at the moment is a dirty great signpost with every arm of it saying, NOT THAT WAY!
There is a rythum to our days isn’t there? Marking it with those delicious sounds, the gong, the voice, the swish and thump when bowing mark that in a most satisfying way. I sound the gong last thing, along with the scripture. Mornings? ‘Adoration to all the Buddha’s’….know that one I am sure.
Thanks Helmut. Love the last part: But remember not to try too hard or it don’t mean a thing. The word momentum comes to mind – Our promise, made every morning within the Kesa Verse, gives the wheels on the car a gentle nudge – to move right along into activity. The promise is always active, and SO significant isn’t it?
It is interesting. I wrote the pre-amble because I know I’m getting a wider swathe of readers since Fiona and I started our online writing project together (a river of stones) and I didn’t want to put them off other things I’ve written – or at least to acknowledge the strangeness of it all.
Communicating from the position of being in a tradition whose language and ritual is so different from the ambient culture is difficult.
I like the idea of assuming everyone is digging…I wonder how one can best support that – given that one is in a tradition of wisdom etc….
Thank-you, All! It’s like rays of light into the heart!
Yes I agree Nancy B. The comments today have been brilliant light. Heartening. Now all I have left is to wonder just which Nancy B. you might be! Which ever one it is wonderful to have you leave a comment. Thank you.
Good question. Support the exploration/digging? I guess my way is/has been to demonstrate that, to show what daily life training looks like. Continue to point out the ‘spade’, talk about how to use it and every now and then sprinkle in some encouragement.
I do not understand the ‘given that one is in a tradition of wisdom etc….’ did I miss an important point?