Life flashes by in a moment of time.
        Late twilight’s rose fades, the sweet songbirds leave.
       Though we strive to remain in reasoned rhyme,
        All living will die, the joyful will grieve.
       What vision can guide us? What blinding sight
       Could glow like a lantern to light the night?
        The sages and prophets the wide world round
        Still fumble in darkness, fall to the ground.
       The winds of impermanence blast and blow.
        Yet ages ago did the truth resound—
       The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

       How swiftly we play out our pantomime!
        Companions with whom on an autumn eve
       We versified the moon’s heavenly climb
        Have vanished in silent recitative.
       The tiger of death with eyes burning bright
       Does roar long before we must bear its bite.
        But thralled in the lust to be world-renowned
        We hear not, nor heed this frightening sound.
       Yet there’s a chant that can death overthrow,
        A single phrase in which blessings abound—
       The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

       The medicine men have cures for a dime.
        Specious magicians with tricks up their sleeve
       To treat our afflictions each will say, ‘I’m
        The wisest.’ Thus they deceive the na´ve,
       Look down on the rest from their puffed-up height.
       For prizes, awards with great appetite
        Wry buffoons, erudite, all capped and gowned,
        In circumlocutions their words have wound.
       Yet the healing phrase not one can bestow
        Is elixir medicine to be downed—
       The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

       Some live for adventure, hear midnight’s chime;
        Others in misery crave death’s reprieve.
       Still to waste our precious life is a crime
        Or let our days meaningless matters thieve.
       Gold will be gold, of great value, despite
       A fool falsely weighing its worth as slight.
        With profit, fool’s gold, our actions are crowned.
        ‘We are happy,’ we say, with faces frowned.
       Yet one practice gives proof that we can show,
        However madly we’ve capered and clowned—
       The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

       Security, peace are benefits prime—
        A fabric of cause and effect we weave.
       Dimensions ageless, eternal, sublime—
        All are wonders within we can achieve.
       In a muddy pond the lotus pure white
       Emerges from earth, as wrong turns to right.
        In the sea of sufferings most are drowned,
        For sadness and sorrow us humans hound.
       Yet enlightenment’s path is ours to know,
        Where fortune upon good fortune will mound—
       The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


       To discard the shallow, seek the profound
       Takes courage and faith in equal compound.
        Yet water of wisdom will always flow,
       If we embrace what will truly astound—
        The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

       ~ Harley White

Volcanic rock pounded by the ocean waves, Upolu Island, Western Samoa

Volcanic rock pounded by the ocean waves, Upolu Island, Western Samoa
Credit: Gerhard Lenz

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