The Ultimate Heritage

The Ultimate Heritage–by Michael Brill

Outside a hut atop a Sado crag,
he sits writing letters in sumi ink,
oblivious to the cold wind and snow.
Even I, a Sado youth, must retreat to the fire.
How we suffer from our need to know
a votary our mission to show—
Buddha or no.  

Now a multitude of priests from Edo come
wearing snug robes against the Sado wind,
ready to debate him, ready to prove
he has no power to change his destiny.
Yet still he stands absolutely so.
He wills his votary mantle to show—
Buddha or no.

I hear his words between gusts of Sado wind:
The great mandala lies within—
lies in all of us, not just in him.
I respond with the mantra and stand on the crag.
I stay long after the master must go,
willing his votary mantle to show—
Buddha or no.

Now, many years later in the same stark place
I suddenly see your curious face
at the edge of the loyal and gathered few
who chant with me against the Sado wind,
because I stand absolutely so,
and will my votary mantle to show—
Buddha or no.

Your mantra rings true as more years pass
and my powers wane and the dark valley calls.
My eyes last see you face the same Sado wind.
The crag is worn and the crowd is large
and you are standing absolutely so.
You will your votary mantle to show—
Buddha or no.

 

© Copyright Michael Brill

Last Modified on June 1, 2016
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