Some Buddhist Poems for World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it. 
Today you can make someone happy. 
Today you can help another. 
This day is a special day, it is yours.
Vijaya Samarawickama

Shrine Room

I have no shrine room
There are no flowers
There is no smell of incense burning in the room
There are no candles flickering gently
No meditation stool
No other bodies positioned round me
There is just me
What do I have?
I have a bed beneath me
I have my breath coming in, flowing out
And some, at least, awareness
I have pain in my body
And the cool detachment of moments of mindfulness
May that be enough
May I be well, may I be happy
May I be free from suffering
May I be at peace
Wendy Stern


(Wendy is a Buddhist and poet living in Bristol, in the west of England. For many years she has been completely bedridden, and her poetry therefore comes from this unusual perspective.)

Butsumon – The Gate of the Buddha


Before the mountain and by grace
of nature
I was allowed to realise “Oh!
I am only a child!”
Tendered by spruce and birds
I saw without my usual defences
and endless thinking I know
anything or everything
coming between me
and creation.
Myochi Roko Sherry Chayat

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