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Sangha Reflections

On Impermanence: Two Poems

by Roger Thomson

On Seeing the Mummy of Hui Neng

I've heard that, at Bodhgaya,
they prop the sagging branches of the Ficus tree
with timbers cut from lesser pines and firs
and so prolong beyond their normal years
the arms that sheltered him that night.

How strange
to cheat impermanence in honor of the one
whose deepest nature, as our own
is told in every wisp of cloud.

No matter.
What better than the need for crutches
to tell the truth of being and of not.

[Note: a photo of Hui Neng's mummy can be viewed here]

On Dogen's Shobogenzo Shoji "Birth and Death"

These pictures of the moon
which I have crafted and carefully preserved
invite me to forget that, even now,
moonlight walks among the silvered grasses
wearing my flesh

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