The Sunday TimesPlus

18th May 1997



Wesak Poetry


Twinkling, blinking lights that stretch 
Into the deepening darkness 
Vying with the glamour of the full moon 
This Vesak night ’Canst penetrate? 
Into the deep world of the human mind 
That perpetuates atrocities.
That mars the tranquility  
Of a once peaceful land.
Shine on! twinkling lights
Through the acrid gloom 
That encompasses this isle. 
Shine on! Symbol of Him Whose teachings transformed 
A Digvijaya 
Into a Dhammavijaya 
Dispel the murky darkness in man’s mind. 
That he may see 
The futility of lustful quest 
For power and might 
That blights - peaceful co-existence

Jeannette Cabraal

Gautama Buddha

 Born to a confused suffering world, was a man unsurpassed,
Not immortal, not divine, yet god-like ways He had,
 The way to Truth, the path to Peace, He showed in logical form,
Two thousand years and more ago, was Gautama Buddha born.
* * * * * * * * * *
Seeing the misery of the world, the anguish and remorse,
 He yearned to seek the Deathless,. rid man of endless woes,
Renouncing Royal inheritance, infant son and wife, 
Alone He roamed in ascetic garb, He was but twenty-nine
* * * * * * * * * *
For six long years He laboured hard, to seek release from pain
Mortified himself in  many   ways, to achieve His noble aim,
Until one blessed blissful dawn, He found what He did seek,
When with striving and with wisdom, He reached the utmost peak
* * * * * * * * * *
No divine aid, no heavenly power, He summoned for this task,
Deep compassion, boundless love, for us was all He had,
The insight He did thus attain, with mind superbly trained,
Has stood the test of centuries, The Eightfold Path Its name
* * * * * * * * * *
This way to attain deliverance with deftness He defined, 
His knowledge vast, His reasoning mind, a supreme God denied, 
Man makes his destiny, He said, he controls his own life,
With this He raised all mankind up to a lofty height 
* * * * * * * * * *
"Our Hells we ourselves do make, our Heavens we create, 
We reap what we have earlier sown, what we now sow we’ll reap," 
Law of cause and effect with clarity he affirmed, 
With parable and with allegory, the Karmic Law confirmed.
* * * * * * * * * *
Why are some men born so blessed, why are some born cursed?
If it be a Creator’s work, why is he so vicious?
Thus He reasoned, thus He queried, citing concrete fact, 
Calmly revealed to us the Dhamma, not with commands, but with tact.
* * * * * * * * * *
His benign words fell on men like gentle summer rain, 
‘Kill, destroy, curse and burn’ was never His refrain,  
"Purity of word and deed, a mind meditation - trained, 
* * * * * * * * * *
Can cancel out previous Karma, can turn one into saint".
As He thus preached, cared He not for colour, caste or creed,
All men are brothers on this earth, that was His firm belief.
"Total freedom to think and speak, I grant with joy to thee,
Use your reasoning powers", He said "Be not a slave, not even unto me"
* * * * * * * * * *
Deliverance lies within your power, follow the Path I show,
Seek not refuge in gods and prayer, rituals by the score,
Exert yourself, cleanse your mind, release you then shall find
From this endless cycle of birth and death, wherein you are confined
* * * * * * * * * *
Sorrow is indeed universal, this fact He emphasised,
But a pessimist sad He never was, for He had seen the Light
He had found the perfect answer, to halt man’s many ills,
A tried and tested, flawless  answer, born of His many skills.
* * * * * * * * * *
All misery is caused by egotism, man’s avarice as well,
What regard  as delights, are transient He said
True happiness lies within oneself, not in rank or wealth,
Not in power, not in honour, nor in worldly knowledge.
* * * * * * * * * *
"With hatred, lust and ignorance, the whole world is in flames,
Attain the Four Sublime States, the fires will then be tamed,
Sympathetic joy, equanimity, universal love, compassion,
Will help transform the entire world, will rid it of all passion."
* * * * * * * * * *
Self-reliance, moral courage, He valued above all,
Free enquiry He evoked, blind faith He did not want,
Appealed He more to intellect, not to sentiment alone,
To woman He gave an honoured place, within and without home.
* * * * * * * * * *
Science and politics, law and medicine, He took them in His stride,
His theories, spelt out aeons ago, can still be well applied,
Men of learning, intellect, look up to Him as guide,
Modern science bows its head before His genius bright.

Nalini Colonne

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