Our friend, Theravadin monk Ajahn Nisabho, sent this poem as a gift from the heart.
When I learned Geshe-la may
not be returning, I
thought for a moment of those Tibetan masters who let themselves be
taken by the wind in the middle of the night out to the high plateau in search of an
Open plain under stars they so missed, the monastery an isle
too small for
The moment. I don’t think he left like that, but his disappearance launched those
of us who remained back into a night we’d tried so long to turn from, searching. Who
but the Bodhisattvas could make us walk again into such cold when we yearn
only for solid walls? Walking out into that dark, we felt alone only for
a second before understanding him standing with us in that autumn land.
Friends in loss, how do I keep forgetting you? I did not take robes to sit alone in a
warm room. A teacher’s disappearance is a fire that, if held carefully, can light the lamp
of your heart, with its unbelievably delicate paper walls, so you might hang it in the window for
those wandering to find their way home. I will not romanticize the loss of those
gone, but, also, who
can doubt his mind was like one of the geese that flew south last month with their long,
wild calls which made us toiling below look up for
a moment at a sun that touched our cheeks with such tender light.
Theravadin monk Ajahn Nisabho sent us this poem of his reflections on the disappearance of our teacher, Geshe Tenzin Chodrak (Dadul Namgyal). Read the bolded words vertically for the Shantideva-like prayer. If you’re not familiar with the background of this story, you can read about it here.
Ajahn Nisabho lives in Seattle, as part of Clear Mountain Monastery, an aspiring Buddhist forest monastery.