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BUDDHA, WHERE ARE YOU? (EXCERPT)

by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: Miao Guang

Buddha, where are you?

Throughout the seventy-five years of my life as a Buddhist monk,

To the ends of the earth, I had searched for you everywhere.

I went to India on eight occasions,

Buddha, over in your homeland,

I thought I might be able meet you.

I prostrated myself beside the Vajra Seat at Bodhgaya,

Rising high and above, at the majestic Mahabodhi Temple,

I still were not able to see your manifestation!

Very often I would prostrate myself on the floor of the Main Shrine,

Very often I would read your words of Dharma underneath raised wick.

Buddha,

Amidst the sounds of morning gong and evening drum,

Could you just appear so that I could see you?

I yearned to hear your voice.

From childhood to youth, and then to the prime of life,

I am now a decrepit old man.

Not being able to find you

Is something which I refuse to accept!

Therefore,I traveled the world,

Hoping that somewhere in the world,

I might just cross paths with you by chance.

I took the trains, high-speed rails, and magnetic levitation vehicles,

As trees outside the window swayed, and meadows flew past me,

I wondered if I could see you there Buddha?

I flew onboard airplanes, amidst the floating clouds,

I had not been able to see you.

Buddha, could you just show yourself?

I sailed across the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean,

Atop the ocean waves, everything seemed vast and boundless,

I glanced left and right,

But Buddha, where are you?

Oh! Finally….

The Diamond Sutra offered me some clue:

If anyone should think that I can be seen amongst forms,

Or that I can be sought amongst sounds,

Then that person is on the wrong path,

And he will not see the Tathagata.

So it turns out that

We are not supposed to look for you in form,

Nor seek you amongst delusions.

You are shapeless and formless,

You are omnipresent in the universe.

So it turns out that

You have already stepped into my heart.

When I eat, you are eating with me,

When I walk, you are walking alongside me;

Even when I sleep.

Every morning, I am actually waking up with the Buddha,

Every night, I am actually falling asleep with the Buddha in my embrace!

Finally,

I know where you are.

You abide in everyone’s hearts.

From then on,

I no longer needed to look for you,

Because I already have you in my heart.

Buddha is the mind, the mind is Buddha.

So it turns out that

Once we perfect our character,

We will finally connect with you.

So it turns out that

One can see a world in a single flower,

One can see a Buddha in a single leaf.

The world is but a creation of the mind,

While the Dharma realm is but a carefree existence;

Into the endless futures,

The Buddha will always be in my heart.

── from Shige Renjian (Poetry and Lyrics of the Human World)