Oh life, your path is foggy
And every step so groggy,
We are lost in a daze,
Drifting in mist and haze!
We glide through the years
Filled with hopes and fears,
We wander without direction
In mazes leading to perdition,
Whence we came from,
We never care to know,
Where we are going,
We ruin by our foolish doing,
Like greedy flies we fly,
Guided by ire and desire,
Away from the warm respite
Of Dharma’s bright light!
The inspiration for this poem came from the two illustrations above (from the Eastern version of the Inferno) which depicts the solid bridges (of gold, jade, silver, stone) crossed by virtuous souls on their way to a good rebirth (top picture), and the treacherous and foggy wooden bridge for those who have accumulated no merits but plenty of sin.
Moreover, another inspiration was the following passage:
“At that time, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I see that every single movement or stirring of thought on the part of beings of Jambudvipa is an offense. Beings tend to use up any wholesome benefits they accrue, and many of them end up retreating from their initial resolve. If they encounter evil conditions, they magnify them with every thought. They are like people trying to carry heavy rocks while walking through mud. Each step becomes more difficult and the rocks more cumbersome as their feet sink deeper. If they meet a mentor, he may be strong enough to lighten or even totally remove their burdens. Helping them thus, the mentor will then advise them to stay on solid ground and be mindful never to go back into that treacherous path.”
Source: Chp. 7 of Earth Store Sutra
Note: Chp. 7 of the Earth Store Sutra is a short but extremely important chapter that explains the process of dying, the 49 day grace period, and rebirth. I strongly recommend everyone familiarize themselves with it.
For more info on managing death and rebirth, please read my Free and Public Domain translation of the Last Rites of Amitabha and my article Beagle Meets Amitabha:
Archive.org Version (Kindle, Pdf, Daisy…)
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