An untrafficked highway through the jungle.
An unmarked turnoff, a one-lane road
Becomes a dirt path, deep under the canopy.
Big lizards scurry across the dusty track.
This is where the good stuff is;
This is where the real monks live.
Not in the city, the glitzy showbottle temples.
Deep meditation needs silence and simplicity.
Simple mud huts under ancient trees,
No gold-leafed Buddhas, opulent families
Or screaming kids. Home-grown rice,
Papadam and vegetables, backyard curry
Eaten by hand from banana leaf plates.
Wild elephants’ roar, peacocks crow with glee.
A small candle is more than enough
To see the light within. Strive, strive
Hurry, hurry—Nibbāna is waiting.
Nibbāna, the cure for all suffering.
That never was and never shall be.
That neither is, is not, nor is not not.
That never enters birth or suffers death.
Nibbāna, the deathless consciousness.
Uncreated, immeasurable, dimensionless,
Inexplicable, unconditioned, pure,
Timeless, empty yet forever full.
Who would believe me if I would tell?
Let the secret stay here in the jungle,
In silence ‘neath living green curtains,
Known only by the Buddha and his monks.