Birth of the Bodhisattva
By Tam Lac Jessica A.Tran
[Note: In order to thoroughly understand this poem, the author recommends readers to at least briefly read over The life of Shakyamuni Buddha first. Also note that there are many key words in this poem which are especially Buddhist Sanskrit terms]
Luminous light enveloped evening,
Gifting hope to Jambudvipa grieving.
Heavenly skies heaved away the dark,
As perfume danced through Lumbini Park.
Queen Maya clutched a bowing branch,
And closed her eyes in a dreaming trance.
Above to heaven, below to earth,
United realms rejoiced his birth.
Joy to life, now gifted a Bodhisattva,
Whom in seven steps, blooms seven padmas.
“This is my final rebirth” announced he,
And radiated light to infinite history.
Thus the story of Gautama unfolds,
A child with curls of silk and skin of gold,
Eyes of thick dark lashes and lips of red,
Reverentially Asita’s tears shed.
“I cry not for Prince Siddhartha the blessed
… but before Buddha time, I shall meet final rest”
He wiped his sorrow and sensed what was destined, Said he “young prince shall soon be enlightened!”
Burdened King Suddhodona unable to bear,
Commanded servants to inexorably stay aware,
“Only allow joy to the palace within,
And repel the world’s painful suffering.
In the name of love, I must try to hide,
Prevent him pain from the world that’s wide.
Dear son, you shall be my heir,
Stay and marry Yashodara, young and fair
Eat, sleep, enjoy, and live
The future I hide, you shall forgive.
The world out there is filled with pain,
With bitter deaths and air of bane.
Siddhartha grew in royal luxury,
While King Suddhodana hid away destiny.
But time did not band-aid the facts,
And truth saw through the palace acts.
One day Siddhartha saw four realities,
The aging, the dying, the causalities
The noble truth of suffering took shape,
And told a truth no man could escape.
A lone ascetic serenely walked past,
And brought hope to him, at long last.
Like lightening it struck him dead,
It lied in something Channak had said.
The king on hearing his revealed lie,
Lost all hopes in a disappointed sigh,
“My ears cannot swallow your cruel intentions,
And fears of lost have blinded comprehensions.
Siddhartha my son, what you say is true,
But it’s inevitable, what difference could you do?”
“There must be a way out of all this!
A path to Nirvana’s ultimate bliss!
The escape of suffering I must find…”
So compassionately he made up his mind.
A cold lonely night told of a fate
As a father left home in ripping heartbreak
“Farewell Yashodara and my son Rahula
I’m to find escape of the bounds to Saha”
So by the river Anoma, slashed his hair with a knife
Renouncing pleasures to uphold an ascetic life
[End of Chapter one, Chapter two “The search” coming soon]
Tam Lac 10/12/2004
Established: 10 September 2003