Saturday, 7 May 2016

Ingyinbin Journal: "The Moon Cares Little for my Despondency."

John, a meditator from New Zealand, spends extended periods in Ingyinbin each year, the home of the revered Webu Sayadaw and with his friend Ashin Mandala. This winter, he has decided to keep a journal, which he has kindly offered to share with us. His journal alternates between observation and poetry, between meditation practice and commentary about Burmese Buddhist society, from his learnings and his questions. The full collection of his musings can be found here.

24 January Uposata 

"Under the ramshackle wooden tiers of the old hall,the young Bhante paces delivering Uposata
to the children, themselves loosely tiered before him."

25 January 

The weather is warmer but I am on day 3 of a head cold. Surprising, with that and the poor night’s sleep, how cluttered and disconsolate the mind quickly becomes: dreaming of failure at work and with others, constantly tripping over and failing myself. A Lemsip before and a coffee after the morning group sit seems to help. I think of Bhante-ji, enduring a similar cold over a number of days.

Bante-ji, 83 and 40% total hearing,
burnt himself testing barium
for Indira Ghandi and the atomic programme.


Starting again, the breath gradually
distils to something finer, then the body,
until neither’s perplexed.

The moon and birds care little for my despondency. During breakfast the glowing spoon-hollow moon slips from above the trees to nestle among the uppermost branches, joining the ibises, which occasionally honk and shift position, before taking flight to other places and the day’s purposes. Looking like the concord, the bird lifts or dips slightly towards its long, curved beak, and is elegant in flight despite the initial dragging of the body and the straggling legs and the repeated short pump of its wings. The egrets are the engineers of flight, economical and precise. There are other birds, one a dark and narrow bird, maybe some kind of shag. At the lakeside a small frog, half the size of my thumb, hops away on hearing Karen’s footsteps and heads to the water’s edge, where it pauses.

The night traversing the sky, in the morning
the radiant full moon slips alongside
the ibises among the tamarind’s upper branches.

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