8 Apr
Posted in: Homework, Poems
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Who’s There?

As part of this month’s DPP homework, we are asked to read and reflect on this poem by Stephen Batchelor:


Were mind and matter me,
I would come and go like them,
If I were something else,
They would say nothing about me.

What is mine
When there is no self?
Were self-centeredness eased,
I would not think of me and mine–
There would be no on there
To think them.

What is inside is me,
What is outside is mine–
When these thoughts end,
Compulsion stops,
Repetition ceases,
Freedom dawns.

Fixations spawn thoughts
That provoke compulsive acts–
Empiness stops fixations.

Buddhas speak of “self”
And also teach “no self”
And also say “there’s nothing
Which is either self or not.”

When things dissolve,
There’s nothing left to say.
The unborn and unceasing
Are already free.

Buddha said: “it is real,”
And “it is unreal,”
And “it is both real and unreal,”
And “it is neither one nor the other.”

It is all at ease,
Unfixatable by fixations,

You are not the same as or different from
Conditions on
which you depend;
You are neither severed from

Nor forever fused with them–

This is the deathless teaching
Of Buddhas who care for the world.

When buddhas don’t appear
And their followers are gone,
The wisdom of awakening
Burst forth by itself. 

(image: “Seated Nude with Mirror,” by Morris Hirschfield)

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