The days are bleeding together again.

Passerbys even remark: I can't believe it's May already.

I can, but what year is it, really?

 

We are not immovable stones in time's river.

We don't even abide in one singular dimension.

From moment to moment, we are made up of wind-song

bright stars whose light is still concealed

invisible birds in flight

shimmering shells stripped of their pearls at the water's edge.

 

When we step through the gate,

the perfume of freshly fallen rain

carries us back a thousand years in an instant.

 

We are two sets of hands that have never touched this time around

yet, long ago we committed to the soul's vast storehouse of memory

the sense-remembrance of tracing life-lines in each other's upturned palms.

 

No one has written a travel guide yet

for multidimensional wanderers to orient ourselves.

If they had, it might start something like this:

 

>|<

 

Thus I have heard,

back in the Days of Wonder

a thousand lantern-lit minds

gathered along the gleaming shores of Tushita Lake

to sit at the knee of Miroku.

 

It was then that one of the bodhisattvas-in-waiting,

Atanataraka, Wandering Star, asked Miroku:

"O Compassionate One, here we all wait in this land of bliss,

destined to travel to the Realm of the Earth Womb Mandala.

Travel we will, for it has been woven as such, but what is best,

O Future-Born One, to travel with companions, or to travel apart?"

 

"O Traveler of Stars, equally thus a Future-Born One, it is not that one is

best and one is least. It is not that traveling with or traveling apart has

added or lesser merit. Travel with, travel apart; the path is the same.

Put your mind to this instead, one who is also destined

to travel to the Realm of the Earth Womb Mandala.

 

In which time-state are you dwelling: past, present, future?

Do you know your footing in each, any, all?

Where will you go?

To whom or what will you turn

to be reminded of the Great Peace of Infinite Light?

Do you have the heart-eye to recognize what and who is in front of you?

Will you remember the shores of Tushita Lake while gazing in their eyes?

Does your Past-Self, Present-Self, Future-Self know love if it is right under your nose?"

 

>|<

 

We have each taken many detours.

Whatever tutelage a particular detour brings, 

the Keeper of the Roads always guides the Traveler back

to when and where we most need to be.

 

In the quickening morning light,

we find ourselves on the roadside again

wrestling with the same exact questions

that have haunted us for years.

 

Traveling together, traveling apart, the path is the same.


(c) 2018 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: "Nami" / Magical Imaginary Child / Chihei Hatakeyama + Federico Durand

 

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