Poem of the Month, August 2017: From a Notebook


Deep within me
is the conviction
Amida will always be there.

Namo Amida Butsu
is what I NEED
more than anything else.

Listen to his Voice,
go straight into action
and do the next best thing.

Keep it simple,
empty the mind of hakarai
and say nembutsu.

Calm me down, Amida,
open a door in my heart
and set me free.

– “Namo Amida Butsu”.
– “Keep calling my Name and I will come.”

Sometimes there’s too much
self-power in my nembutsu
for my liking.

Amida’s power
does not ‘sometimes go away’.
It’s with me always.

It’s hard enough to be human oneself.
Helping another is highly dodgy.

For Japanese Shin Buddhists
soaked in centuries of teaching
Birth must be a cinch.

No jetlag in the Pure Land.
You arrive there fresh as a daisy.

I hear the trees
in the Pure Land singing
Namo Amida Butsu.

Most people are much
cleverer than me. I just
recite Amida’s Name.

I harbour no resentments,
not a single one –
at peace with the world.

Nothing on my mind,
I bumble round this city
mumbling nembutsu.

Everything tells me to do nothing.
“Go home and enjoy the garden.”

Namo Amida Butsu
opens the Pure Land gate
and lets us in.

Kuan Yin is a pure
and fully rewarded Buddha
in her own right.

Namu Avalokitésvara,
you were with me in the sixties,
long before I joined the Sangha,
long before I’d heard of Belgium.

Namo Amida Butsu
the one sure path
out of samsaric life.