Monday, January 12, 2009

Buddha on Osore-san

B u d d h a

In the middle of a secret basin filled with ash stands a great granite Buddha, maybe forty feet high from the base of its massive pedestal to the top of its sculptured head. But it’s not actually a Buddha, but Ksitigarbha, or as he is known in Japan, Jizo, known to have said, “Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha; not until all beings are saved will I certify to Bodhi.” He is especially the guardian of children and the stillborn. And this is the land where he performs his great compassionate work. The surrounding hillside appears like a great green amphitheater and a natural refuge. I have walked alone into this sanctuary. No one else is here with me. There's no one in my line of sight at all—all alone in this enigmatic world with this innocent face of compassion, peace, serenity, and love.

great granite visionary
rising from the embers
addressing the earth in green

from my recent book, 'An Other Road Into the Heartland: Going After Basho, Buddha, and Japan'

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