Carpe Diem: Death and Compassion – Double Tanka – February 22, 2016

old farm house

farm and fields
abandoned in the sunset
fading memories
lost laughter echoes still
in an old woman’s smile

the sweet balsam of love
her compassion
touches all who see her
empty fields blossom

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 5 Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Insight 4 the power of compassion is limitless

The idea of the Bodhisattva is that one attains a high degree of spiritual  growth and then decides to remain in the world instead of attaining Nirvana so as to help others attain their own spiritual awakening.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama for example is considered a Bodhisattva of compassion. Another idea that is true to all forms of Buddhism is that everyone is a Buddha … this is because everyone can attain enlightenment or satori, and to be a Buddha is to be an enlightened person.

In my tanka I’m imagining a woman who is a Bodhisattva who has attained satori and with her very life is able to transmit compassion.  Here is what Sogyal Rinpoche has to say about compassion and death:

[…] “It is not simply a sense of sympathy or caring for the person suffering, not simply a warmth of heart toward the person before you, or a sharp clarity of recognition of their needs and pain, it is also a sustained and practical determination to do whatever is possible and necessary to help alleviate their suffering. Compassion is not true compassion unless it is active. Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, is often represented in Tibetan iconography as having a thousand eyes that see the pain in all corners of the universe, and a thousand arms to reach out to all corners of the universe to extend his help.”[…] (Source: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche)