Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Buddha on The Exalted [THE END]

Sayings of Buddha on "The Exalted".
Rendered in haiku form.

This is twenty-sixth and last in the series!

The image is "Lux in Tenebris" by Evelyn De Morgan.

Cut the stream of lust
That binds you to your desire.
Trace it to its source.

When you cut the thread,
The conditioned world dissolves
And all becomes clear.

The exalted one
Established in the two truths
Breaks illusion’s chains.

He knows what's skilful,
And he knows what's unskilful
And he goes beyond.

Through meditation,
Training in calm and insight,
The two become one.

There is no this shore,
No other shore, free from wrongs,
For the exalted.

Practicing alone,
Clean and pure, he meditates.
His work has been done.

No subject-object,
He reaches the highest goal,
Free from dishonour.

The sun is brilliant
By day, the king resplendent,
But he shines always.

Silver is the moon
By night, gold the awakened
In meditation.

But Buddha’s splendour
Shines at all times, day and night,
Surpassing all lights.

He is exalted
Who rids himself of evil,
Strife and distraction.

To strike him is wrong
And shameful, yet if assailed,
He takes no offence.

More shameful is he
Who does not restrain anger
And returns a blow.

The more one protects
The mind from harmful intent,
The less one’s sorrow.

He does no evil,
Restrained in the three aspects:
In deed, word and thought.

Honour your teacher,
Who enlightened you like fire,
For his sacrifice.

He is exalted,
Not on account of his line,
Birth or matted hair.

Only through the Truth,
And the way of purity
Is he exalted.

Why do you sit there,
O foolish one, hair tangled,
Mind ragged with lust?

Why wear a deer skin
When inside is a forest
Which you never clean?

He is exalted,
Who wears rags and meditates,
His veins standing out.

He is exalted,
Not because his mother is,
Though born from her womb.

Through his own effort,
Pure and without attachments,
He is exalted.

Having cut all bonds,
He is fearless and boundless,
Without trace of sin.

He clings to nothing.
Like drops on a lotus leaf,
Pleasures fall away.

Like a mustard seed,
Balancing on a needle,
Desires are fleeting.

He is exalted,
Who lays down sorrow’s burden
And lives without sin.

He sees depths profound,
And discerning right from wrong,
Gains the highest peak.

The exalted cut
The strap, the thong and the cord
And unbolt Truth’s door.

Patient, he endures
Insults, beating or prison
And feels no anger.

With strength of patience,
Greater than an army’s might,
Resigned, he conquers.

He never angers,
Keeps his vows and frees his will,
This body his last.

He lingers not with
Settler or nomad, but lives
Alone with few wants.

Renouncing violence,
He does not kill nor cause death
Of life, pure or not.

Peaceful and detached,
Among the hostile or armed,
He bears no rancour.

Like a mustard seed
Lust, hate, pride and false piety
Slip the needle’s point.

He is never harsh,
His words kind, helpful and true,
They offend no-one.

Nothing does he take,
Not given him, good or bad,
Long, short, great or small.

He has no desire
For this world or for the next,
Free from lust and sin.

Free from lust, he sees
The four noble truths and holds
No shadow of doubt.

Beyond worldly ties,
Good or bad, he’s wholly pure
And free of sorrows.

He is pure and calm
Like the moon in a clear sky,
Not craving selfhood.

He has crossed the swamp
Of passion, the road of sin,
The ocean of life.

Out of the darkness,
Having crossed illusion’s flood,
He’s reached the far shore.

In calm and insight,
Free from grasping or doubting,
He has found true peace.

He has extinguished
All taste for homely pleasures,
Resolute his will.

To become seeker,
He has given up the world.
Clear, he passes on.

Earth does not bind him,
Nor do pleasures from heaven,
For nought can bind him.

He gives up pleasure
And he gives up discontent
To find inner peace.

He knows in detail
How things rise and pass. Detached,
He sees the four truths.

His destination,
Neither gods nor men can know,
For he has woken.

He carries no past,
Nor waits no future in the
Undying present.

Fearless as a bull,
Noble, whole-hearted and pure,
He has conquered all.

He knows former lives,
He sees into all the worlds,
His line is ending.

But he’s exalted
Beyond heaven, beyond hell,
For he is awake.

He has accomplished
All that he had come to do
And now he is one.


  1. First half was great. I wanted not to overcrowd thought.

  2. I totally get you... This was well-long! It's also pretty repetitive, but with just subtle shifts of nuance. It's great if you think about it... he was making sure that the message would last through all the translations and revisions that the original words were subjected to, so through this subtle (or not so subtle, lol) repetition, he tries to make his message clear.

  3. "But he’s exalted
    Beyond heaven, beyond hell,
    For he is awake." -- Yes, HE is!

    Pleasant day to you, dude! Happy snowy December!

  4. Do Budhists want to be Buddhas, someday by the way? I mean no disrespect by asking, but I have always wondered. I cannot 'hear it so,' in dialogues mentioned.

  5. Jach, yes! You have picked up on the Christian allusion... as hinted by the painting. And...

    "Honour your teacher,
    Who enlightened you like fire,
    For his sacrifice."

    Haha, yes, we only have one word for snow in English, but the kind we have at the moment isn't the soft fluffy stuff, but the frozen icy kind which thinly covers the ground.

  6. No, they don't "want to be Buddhas", but they are like lotus flowers buried in the mud, waiting to be revealed "that they are Buddhas".

    And, remember there are always two kinds of "Buddha", like there are two kinds of "Jesus", one the man who lived and died, one the eternal truth. When Buddhists take refuge "in Buddha", they are supposed to be taking refuge in the eternal Truth. But as with all religions, they become personified.

  7. I do not understand. One of the first quote of Buddha that I have heard, is 'You are all Buddhas.' Do you suppose that it was plagarised then??

  8. That's what I wrote... Let me look up the lotus quote.

  9. "How sweet the lotus
    That has emerged out of mud
    To share its perfume.

    Like one awakened,
    Emerging among the blind,
    May you too shine forth."

    (from Buddha on Flowers)

    And of course, as I think you yourself pointed out, the lotus represents Buddhahood.

    So, the lotus flower does not become a lotus flower, it merely emerges out of the mud. Other metaphors used are the moon coming out from behind the clouds etc. So the message seems to be that we do not "become" anything, rather we wipe away "attachments" and "moral defilements" and realize our true self.

  10. So I thought I understood you until the last paragraph. Do you 'want' to become a Buddha or a mudflower?

  11. It's whatever rings true to you. Personally, I don't know if I even believe in enlightenment as a final endpoint as Buddhists believe and these verses indicate (as opposed to a continuous path of "getting closer", like if you imagine someone counting, they could get larger and larger numbers, but never reach infinity). So I still have doubt. ;^) The idea of the attainment of perfection as possible seems to be a particularly Buddhist concept. And of course the only reason it is possible is because it involves there being nothing really to attain. Still, mud sticks... so most traditions tend to be resigned to it. Mud represents "sin", and we are urged to do our best to be free from it. But Buddhism is almost unique in suggesting complete freedom is actually possible and should be our goal.

    So to your original question, yes! absolutely, but not to "become"... As for "wanting", I don't want to speak for Buddhists, but I reckon they would say they want to build up merit so that either in this lifetime or some future lifetime they might be free of the cycle of death and re-birth. It seems really tragic and nihilistic to me, but then that's because like most people I'm still attached to "being". It's cool to "be" isn't it?

  12. Ahhh, so yes, they don't want to "be Buddhas" or "become Buddhas", definitely not! Because that involves attachment to being and becoming!!! They want to "go beyond"... to what others might call Buddhahood, but not they themselves.

  13. Just like the sun and moon rise and set without thinking "I am rising", "I am setting", so like the sun and moon, to be one with nature.

  14. Thank you for discussing it with me. I have never heard these things before.
    Would you consider yourself Buddhist then, to the exclusion of anything else you
    might find yourself 'be?'

    I too, do not 'see' at the end of this lifetime, an outcome, but just another part of
    moving towards.

  15. I don't consider myself a Buddhist.

    I have the opportunity of going to Buddhist talks though, and of course Buddhist Travellers. I can't imagine the same level of openness to all in the corresponding worlds of other faiths. I really wish there were.

    As for being and becoming, definitely something I'd like to come back to. Perhaps an answer lies in Lilith's moniker of "Just Be", i.e. not "be this" or "be that", but... "just be". What this actually means in practice... I don't know, but it's something to keep in mind.