Yongjia Xuanjue : From my youth

For more about this 7th c. CE Buddhist monk from China, see this earlier post. This verse is taken from Yongjia’s ‘Song of Enlightenment. The word Tathagata was used by Gautama Buddha to refer to himself and to other Buddhas; it is sometimes interpreted as meaning ‘one who is beyond all transitory phenomena.’

From my youth I piled studies upon studies,
In sutras and sastras I searched and researched,
Classifying terms and forms, oblivious to fatigue.
I entered the sea to count the sands in vain
And then the Tathagata scolded me kindly
As I read “What profit in counting your neighbor’s treasure?”
My work had been scattered and entirely useless,
For years I was dust blown by the wind.

Translation Robert Aitken

One Reply to “Yongjia Xuanjue : From my youth”

  1. Huma

    Beloved Murshid

    This poems are gems!
    Like golden pebbles You drop behind
    On the Way for us to follow
    Step by step
    Timeless beauty and wisdom
    Weaving this path of light all the way Home


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