Saturday, 27 November 2010

Buddha on Desire

Sayings of Buddha on "Desire".
Rendered in haiku form.

This is twenty-fourth in the series.

The image is "La Pia de’ Tolomei" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti inspired by a reference in Dante's Purgatorio.


Should you sleep, desire
Will grow and suffocate you
Like a forest vine.

Like a chimpanzee,
You jump and swing, tree to tree,
Seeking out new fruit.

Drowning in desire,
Your sorrows swell in this world
Like grass after rain.

Drown this strong desire
And sorrow drops like droplets
From a lotus flower.

So, dear gentlemen,
Who are gathered here today,
Dig up sorrow’s roots.

Cut away the grass
That obscures the fragrant root
And crush its fragrance.

Don’t let death break you
Time and again like the floods
Break the helpless reeds.

If the roots hold firm,
A felled tree may grow again,
So too with sorrow.

Thirty-six streams flow
Each tempting to your senses
To sweep you away.

Vain imaginings,
Fantasies born of passion,
Beware their wrong views.

Thirty-six streams flow.
If you're seduced by their charms,
They’ll swallow you up.

Six doors, six objects,
When you see desire fixing,
Burn it with insight.

Beset by desire,
Man’s craving becomes his joy,
His joy, his craving.

Hunters of pleasure
Find themselves like hunted hares
Caught by their own lust.

Like the hunted hare
Who wishes back its freedom,
Burn the roots of lust.

Out of the hollow,
You find yourself on the path.
Why do you rush back?

Desire's a hollow.
Why would one who was once free,
Give up his freedom?

Iron, wood and rope
Do not bind as strong as love
For gems, kids and wife.

Love for lady fair,
What more beautiful desire?
Yet hard to escape.

The wise break all bonds
That tempt desire with pleasure
And renounce the world.

Oh, slave of desire!
Poor spider, caught in its web,
Can you leave the stream?

Give up past, future,
Here to the unconditioned,
Beyond life and death.

Watch your lustful thoughts.
Observe your passionate feelings.
What draws in your gaze?

Careful what you wish,
Lest wishes become stronger
And become desires.

The wise calm their thoughts,
Meditate on their feelings,
And Truth sets them free.

The enlightened one,
Free from fears, desires and wrongs,
Strips life’s rose of thorns.

Free from attachments,
Knowings meanings, groups and lists,
He’s the ultimate.

I’ve overcome all.
I know all. I am detached,
Free from evil roots.

I’ve given up all,
Seen for myself the four truths,
Who then has taught me?

Truth exceeds all gifts,
Supreme in taste and delight,
Clearing all desire.

Wealth harms the foolish
Who, thirsting for it, destroy
Themselves and others.

Wealth harms not the wise,
Who seek only the far shore,
So do not taste it.

Weeds damage the crop,
But water crops free from weeds
And the yield is good.

Lust damages all,
But give to those free from lust,
And the yield is good.

Hate damages all,
But give to those without hate,
And the yield is good.

Weeds spoil fertile fields,
But sow the field without weeds,
And the yield is good.

Ignorance spoils all,
But give to the sagacious,
And the yield is good.

Avarice spoils all,
But give to the generous
And the yield is good.


  1. You asked me this already, Rose? Ah, but maybe you didn't see my reply.

    Buddha wrote it! LOL!

    Check out this link for the originals...

  2. Well I figured he'd 'authored' the essence, but I thought maybe
    you'd haiku'd it, since you have a talent for it.

  3. Check out the link. It's a very beautiful translation which lends itself to haiku. I'd never have even imagined doing this otherwise, but it inspired me. And of course these are my versions. ;-)