Friday, May 31, 2013

A Prayer for Renunciation

It’s time, dear Ananda, This is where I depart and
Here is my last sermon, dear lad, let me go without
Tears, without this cloud of loss that hangs above
Your brows. Let me go, it’s time.

Why do you grieve? Look at me, there’s nothing left, I
Today, am a dry leaf, without a drop of water, ready
To crumble into dust and mingle in the air, until I
Return, if I have to. Let me go, it’s time.

I struggled these long years to escape this
Cycle of illusions and I failed, dear lad, I did, the
Day I longed for company, when you came to me, the
Day I set out on this last journey. Let me go, it’s time.

My apologies, lad, I couldn’t show you the kingdom of my son, whom
I’d have liked to see again, to apologize for not being the father
I ought to have, perhaps to say, son, I did try and
I do not know what I have achieved. Let me go, it’s time.

I’ve given you everything I ever had, everything I learned,
My Sangha and these poor Bhiskhus, who made my journeys a
Wandering kingdom and now, this kingdom, and these my
Words are all yours to do whatever you would. Let me go, it’s time.

There’s nothing more I can tell you, I have no more
Sermons, except this, perhaps, perhaps, you’d remember
Me, after I’m gone, not as your teacher, but as a man who
Strove, I did, and do not know what I achieved. Let me go, it’s time.

[After he attains his enlightenment and acquires a sizable number of followers, Gautam the Buddha travels the length and breathe of the Ganga Valley cities for years. Finally, he decides to travel north, towards the kingdom which was once his, followed by his trusted disciple, Ananda, and others. On the way, in Kushinagar, Gautam, now an old man in his eighties, falls ill. As he realizes his end, he gives his last sermon, asking his followers if they have any more questions to ask him. When none do, Gautam tells Ananda that the latter must now take over and do what he thinks best. And, these are his last words: “Behold old monk, this is my last advice to you. All competent things in this world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.”]

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