Sesshin (poem)

Poems of a stupid monk (translated by the author)
Marc Van Der Maat - Kannon dojo - Bxl

NL27 Marc Van Der Maat Picture 2

Silence drawing
gracefully
another
silence

On the altar
the incense
climbs
gracefully
in spirals to the stars

The rustle
of a kesa
stepping
behind
sitting buddha’s

With the sangha
the godo
enters
a new day

In the kitchen
the tenzo
attentively
stirs
the guen maï
pot

In the dining hall
the chairs
observe
attentively as well
noble silence

Different voices
with
different
individual timbres

but

ONE sangha

ONE harmony

ONE heart sutra

Gyatei gyatei
        Hara gyatei …

Clear and joyful
the little bell
opens the way
on a soft carpet of
colourful leaves
and
chestnuts’ sharp husks

like magnificent spring flowers
expanding and opened wide
in the middle of autumn
to delicately perfume
the Dharma

Godo and tenzo
offer the incense
in the dining hall

Buddha’s little statue
with serenity
looks through
our steaming hearts

and

in this manner
stimulates
our hunger for
the practice

samu here
samu there
sweeping here
sweeping there
here and now here
and even so over there
everybody sweeping, sweeping
cleaning, ranging, rincing and purifying
all personal and collectif mess
all rubbish, active and non-active old junk

what a spectacle, it’s a magnificent miracle
one over here and another over there
naturally, spontaneously
all personal and collectif waste is
recycled into dharmic compost

samu here
samu there
samu everywhere

great silence
in the dojo hall

outside
the chestnuts fall
loudly on the soil of
the Hanen forest
and some even try to pass inside,
gliding through the doorway
widely open to the sun
as far as little Buddha’s statue
on the altar

they follow the Dharma
without caring about what
is coming ahead

“ Become like the falling chestnuts, “
says the master during kusen,
“ detached, body and mind abandonded,
Shin jin datsu raku. “

The sun goes down and the stars
appear high in the sky
trees and chestnuts keep silent now
and also listen with benevolence
during a few moments

in the dojo is
great noble silence

last afternoon
sun, and shining faces

the whole universe
rejoice with the sangha

the bells jingle
the wood resonates
the drum thunders and
the big bowl quivers of happiness

Jukaï
after the vows
the new bodhisattva
is warmly welcomed into
the holy sangha

all the Buddha’s, all the Masters
and Patriarches join us :
Sanpaï !

Everything has been cleaned
the cars are loaded
a last laughter, a last hug,
and bye-bye
in our civilian clothes
we again dive in an
over-activated agitatde world

just leaving our autumn wood
cars are loudly tootening and
rushing too near our nicely folded kesa’s
that roaring bikers scarcely
can’t besmear

the smell of the incense and the choko
in our kesa’s perfumes the asphalt,
the steel and concrete in the city desert
and in our cemented hearts

our new sesshin starts right here
and right now, in this very instant
in the middle of this pandemonium
of humanoïd beings fabricated
by the latest updated high-tech

to be
simply
to be, just being
like the chestnuts in the wood …

 

NL27 Marc Van Der Maat Picture1

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