I Am a Peacock Today

peacock

A gorgeous splashy watercolor painting by artist Dean Crouser

I refuse to be a puppet today
Nor a victim of the bad-mannered
I choose to open my heart
Although it is broken
Notwithstanding the fact
That I am hurting

I am a lotus today
Growing from the mud
Welcoming the sun
To shine on me
So I can bloom
And make the mud proud

I refuse to become bitter today
No matter what
I choose to see the beauty
Although sullenness is all I have
Guarding myself
From being swallowed alive

I am a peacock today
Having a solitary day
Basking from on top of the roof
Watching life goes by
Dreaming of one day to fly far away
But I am a peacock today

I refuse to become smaller today
While all around me is forcing me to
I choose to keep on expanding
Where space is illusion
And periphery is unseen
Center is disappearing

I am the moon tonight
Never fail to show up
Sometimes the clouds envelope me
With their ever soft shadow
But I am here every night
Paying my homage

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Shantideva’s Dedication

34-10 Guanyin MFW 001

Guanyin of the Southern Sea

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body & mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness & joy
By virtue of my merits

May no living creature suffer
Commit evil, or ever fall ill
May no one be afraid or belittled
With a mind weighed down by depression

May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose

May the naked find clothing
The hungry find food
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks

May the poor find wealth
Those weak with sorrow find joy
May the forlorn find hope
Constant happiness, and prosperity

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests
May all medicines be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments
Whatever diseases there are in the world
May they never occur again

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other

For as long as space remains
For as long as sentient beings remain
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world

Above is a condensed version of last chapter, the dedication chapter, from Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva. I copied it from the FPMT prayer book when I did Introduction to Buddhism course at Tushita Meditation Center last November.

There are many commentaries, translation, and online version of Shantideva’s work. I’ve only read one version (the one from Shambhala Publication, link above). H. H. Dalai Lama said about this text: “If I have any understanding of compassion and the practice of bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of this text that I possess it.”

I like this ‘prayer’ a lot. It’s like an extended expansion of the mantra Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. Short translation: may all beings be happy and free from suffering. Long translation: may all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Image: Guanyin of the Southern Sea, wooden sculpture from China 11th/12th century, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It’s the image used as cover of the book.