Sowing the Seeds of Compassion

by on March 13, 2017 :: 0 comments

More than a hundred times
I had wished I would die early
Before I could no longer
look after myself

If I ever happened to be
that old grandma
at least for a moment
I would rather die
than hearing the incessant
insult of the mistress
and its sharp boom
piercing the ears
almost like a wailing trumpet

The old lady was
perhaps in her nineties
Yes, the grey hair and
the pale skin
that wrinkled loose
from the bones
were a credible indication

One day I paid her a visit
and I couldn’t help my asking
why she would bear up all that cruelty
Then, despite the infirmities
she managed to stand up
and gently held my hands
I could well feel the slight
trembling of her chilly fingers

Then she caressed my head
and pointed towards the altar
that bore the sacred Buddha statuette
with the scent of the incense sticks
spreading everywhere
I saw how her feeble eyes
still gleamed with compassion
as she quoted from a Pāli Gātha,
“Nahi werena werāni”
and translated,
“Hatred never ceases by hatred”

From that day onwards
I have been wishing
I would also be blessed
with such a heart
So pious a heart
sowing the seeds of compassion!

– Indunil Madhusankha

editors note:

From every culture, the elderly would tell us this. Maybe we should listen? (A “Gāthā” is a verse or hymn in Buddhism.) – mh clay

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