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Prison poetry IV

Prison poetry IV

Prison cell with the words 'Prison poetry IV" superimposed over it.
Photo by StudioTempura

Sunyata I

Just as a still puddle
casts a true reflection
of the countenance
which gazes into it,
framed by the perfect splendor
of the infinite blue sky,
so, too, does the mind,
calmed to perfect stillness
and tranquil silence—
unobstructed by ripples of delusion
and unfettered by clinging attachment
reflect only the clear truth
of joyful enlightenment
shining forth from
absolute emptiness.

A Loving Kindness Dedication

May those who laugh
Laugh with someone,
Not at them.

May those who cry
Cry, not alone, by themselves
Or in the solitary regions of their hearts

May those who speak
Speak words of wisdom, love, and kindness,
Not of ignorance and hate.

May those who fight
Fight not in violence, anger, or greed,
But for peace, justice, and equality—
And with a compassionate heart.

May those who sing
Sing not to divide or deride
But with words of joyful elevation
That celebrate and inspire.

May those who smile
Light up the world
With the love and warmth
And splendor of their smile

The Breathless Flame Doesn’t Burn

Like a flame,
Anger burns
Only when nourished
By the breath of our thoughts
And fanned by the winds of action.
So, too,
Burn the fires
Of our other delusions:
Pride, selfishness, deceit,
Ignorance, hatred and fear,
Among limitless others.
By feeding the flames
These fires will grow
Threatening ever to consume us
And leaving us to reap
The karmic seeds we’ve sown,
Which blossom and grow
In the ashes of our potential
Of what and who we might have been.
We can extinguish these fires
Before the flames can burn
And sear us.
For, if we remain
Ever mindful
Of our thoughts and actions,
The sparks of deluding passions
Will starve for breath
Without hope
Of ever catching flame.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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