Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism

Harold Stewart

Autumn Landscape Roll
A Divine Panorama

Personages Represented
Cantos 5 to 8
Cantos 9 to 12
Cantos 13 to 16
Cantos 17 to 20
Cantos 21 to 24
Cantos 25 to 28
Cantos 29 to 32

[ Synopsis and Introduction ]



Through eyes of Wisdom, Ti Tsang can behold
How Yen-lo's egocentric citadel
Dazzles the ignorant with spurious gold:
Palace and prison where the King of Hell,
Whose pleasures alternate with pain, must dwell,
Its roof is tiled with glowing dragon scales.
Four copper dogs that vigilantly guard,
One on each turret's quoin, the dungeon cells,
Vomit that molten metal, which repels
The living who draw near that false façade.
Their eyes dart lightning at him, but it fails
For Ti Tsang's gentle presence countervails;
Nor does he hesitate with fear before
He dares the ninth and ever gaping, portals
To reach Hell's final never sated maw
Of darkness, which devours all wicked mortals.

Calmly he paces through these hostile halls,
Wherein no window lights the selfish walls,
As he approaches that infernal court
To which the multitudinous dead are brought.
The Law's custodians castigate the crowd
Waiting outside the doors with courage cowed,
And collar them in wooden cangues to gag
Grievances, when the usher's awful call
Summons the next by name. At once they drag
Refractory captives into Fëng-tu's Hall
Of Judgment. Each in turn must crawl
Before the Ten Royal Judges, who preside
At tables where the culprit will be tried
During ten sessions, counting from the date
Of death, which requiems commemorate.

But Yen lo, seated on the central throne,
Examines all the dead who must atone.
With 'King of Hell' emblazoned on his crown,
He is the fifth infernal judge, most feared
By men, himself the first who ever died,
While overclouded by his censure's frown
His eyeballs bulge with bloodshot rage and glower
Down on his subjects, quaking, terrified,
His mouth with black intimidating beard
Opens a roaring mask of fury wide
And from the gulf of molten wrath inside
Denounces guilty shades, who quail and cower
Beneath his stern comminatory power.

'Vilest of malefactors, who now face
'Our ultimate tribunal in disgrace,
'We are the Dharma's spokesmen : in its name
'We must rebuke you, unredeemed by shame.
'Why did your spineless wills procrastinate
'Throughout your lives? Why did you not repent
'And so avoid Hell's gruesome punishment?
'Once you are dead, you fools, it is too late
'For you to change your self-determined fate.
'No family or friends can save you now,
'Nor with their world can you communicate
'To cry for rescue. Death must disallow
'Their living pleas. How could they help your plight
'In hells that their misdeeds did not ignite?'

But desperate wretches, cringing overawed,
Plaintively seek to move Hell's Overlord:
'Monarch of Death, who rule this nether city,
'Our own blind folly ruined us, because
'We lived in ignorance of karmic laws.
'Give us, we beg, some respite from our pain!
'Why do you still deny the dead your pity?
'Must all our supplications prove in vain?'

Impugning abject shadows who implore
His mercy, Yen-lo reaffirms the Law:
'Self will was your worst enemy, who bound
'And brought you here for torture underground,
'Till purged and purified of every flaw.
'Though our impartial cruelty must redress
'With suffering all your worldly wickedness,
'No one is punished for another's faults,
'Only his own, within these fiery vaults.'

Yen-lo holds up to scrutinise the dead
His sceptre, on whose top a severed head
With converse faces rests amid a dish:
One visage, masculine, of wrathful red
With hair upswept and tied, looks devilish
Discerning secret frauds with triple sight;
The other, feminine, a haggard white
With drooping hair, fastidiously detects
The faintest evil that her nose suspects.
So Yen-lo warns the accused whom they indict:
'False words cannot deceive us. Do not try
'To cheat our court of justice with a lie!
'Withhold no more the motives for your acts
'Or mask your thoughts but, as the Law exacts,
'Disclose the hidden truth behind the facts.
'My sceptre's scenting nose and searching eye
'Will let no dubious smell or glimpse slip by.'
He opens up that fatal register
Of karmic evidence which cannot err,
But always with unfailing truth accords
Penalties justly balanced by rewards.

Seated on faldstools spread with tiger skins,
Yen-lo's notaries, one on either side,
Whose black official caps, as round as knosps,
Tie lappets at the back like wings of wasps,
Await his orders when the trial begins.
Then T'ai Shan's Governor, who makes report
Of all the culprit's karma till he died,
Holding a hand scroll up before the court.
Will read the charges that the Law has brought,
Inscribed thereon and sealed in Cinnabar;
While the obscure An Hei, as Registrar
Of Hell, who keeps a lifelong strict account
Of every man's offences as they mount,
With brush in hand will silently record
The verdict down his tall and narrow board.

For then the Ten Royal Judges can assess
The type of punishment and length of time
For retribution, neither more nor less,
So that they both exactly fit the crime.
The last judge sits where Karma's mighty wheel
Of iron through the depths of Hell rotates,
Since each must undergo Rebirth's ordeal
Tied to its six spokes, when he transmigrates
As demon, ghoul, beast, titan, god, or man.
Again the self deluded being, bound
By Ignorance to end where he began,
Is forced to tread Samsara's weary round,
Because his evil past has made him heir
To pain, disease, old age, death, grief, despair.


Seized by his mortal throes, an old man feels
As though his death bed ran on fiery wheels,
Converted into Fëng-tu's flaming cart,
In which his wicked spirit must depart,
Drawn unwillingly hellward from his home
By this libidinously blood red freak,
Whose pinions, singed by passion, lost their flight,
Though still its head erects a gamecock's comb,
Bearded with wattles, for its nose a beak.

When he arrives to stand his trial in court
For every lawless deed and word and thought,
Those tutelary youths, one dark, one bright,
Who were, between his birth and death, innate
Good on his left hand, evil on his right,
And constantly by subtle promptings could
Impede or clear his path to Buddhahood,
Weigh in the Scales of Equity and rate
The karmic wrongs that he must compensate.
But since the right pan sinks with heavier load,
The underworld must be his just abode.

The two chief lictors serving Yen lo Wang,
Who carry knobbled clubs for discipline,
Are human bodied, muscular and strong,
With loins girt only by a leopard skin;
But Niu -to's neck produced a bull's horned head,
While Ma-mien grew a stallion's face instead.
Those fiends in office, deaf to his appeals,
Haul the old man across the courtroom floor
And fling him, grovelling on his knees, before
The Truth Reflecting Mirror, which reveals
The incriminating past that he conceals.
A crimson curtain, drawn aside, displays
That disc of crystal with its rim confined
By two bronze dragons rampant, tails entwined
But heads opposed, on which the dead must gaze.
Its surface clears away forgetful haze:
In retrospective depths he sees anew
Himself, a warrior in his youthful days,
Who re-enacts the scene wherein he slew
An unarmed Buddhist monk with ruthless sword,
A coward's crime, long wilfully ignored.

But animals and birds, who cannot speak
Against this human's flesh devouring greed,
Carrying scrolls in muzzle, claws, or beak,
Bring prosecutions for the clerk to read.
Despite such self convicting evidence,
Which he denies with senile stubbornness
Obstructing justice, he will not confess
Till fiends inflict a torture so intense
Conscience can bear no more, yet cannot faint.
Still he vituperates with vain complaint,
Though the invective that his wrong pours forth
Only exacerbates their righteous wrath.

'Do not abuse us : we are not to blame
'Who must obey the Dharma!' they exclaim.
'Why with vehement rage do you resent
'And rail against your self bedevilment?
'Your madness called us demons up for this
'Out of imagination's black abyss,
'To mutilate and burn, to beat and maim
'Your guilt that will not hide its head in shame,
'Still unrepentant! After we exhaust
'Our term as torturers in this holocaust
'And our. perverted lust for pain is spent,
'Purged of our demonhood, we hope to rise
'Through higher births to reach Enlightenment
'In ultimate Release beyond the skies!'

The old man, self condemned, is roughly hustled
Doomward by that gigantically muscled
Ogre with hedge of bristles down his back,
Whose stupid features, which assert his, black
Obstinate will, protrude a wild boar's snout,
From which impetuous upturned tusks stick out.
Soon he commands his prisoner to gaze
From death's Home Viewing Terrace back on life:
'Look at your family's impoverished days,
'Your fortune squandered by unfilial strife,
'Your house in ruins, your unmourning wife
'Remarried, no one left to pay respect
'With solemn rites or tend your grave's neglect!'

Yen-lo's grotesque inspectors segregate
The suicides, whom their own verdict sent
To isolation's bleak imprisonment
In deep crevasses, cleft by fear and hate.
Out of one goblin's skull, whose seaweed hair
Harbours a knotted snake with hostile stare,
Aspires a narwhal's horn. His ears that flare
Like fins, his fishy skin's abhorrent green,
His cold reptilian eyes, his brows and beard
Of poison spines, which prickle round his weird
Mouthful of shark's teeth, menacingly bare,
Betray his monstrous birth as submarine.
Tightly constricting with a spiteful twist
Her long black hank of hair, his scaly fist
Tugs an unwedded mother's shade away,
Whose baby son, abandoned in dismay
With poignant cries, ironically grim,
Grips her unwinding sash, which strangled him.

In molten readiness the cauldrons glow:
The hour returns, three times a day and night,
When Yen-lo Wang himself must undergo
The boiling copper that his lictors pour
From ladles down his gullet, scalded raw.
Hoarsely, with rasping gasps, he must implore
Heaven for mercy on his hellish plight:
'Oh Ti Tsang, whose compassion can relieve
'Even the wounded worm, bring quick reprieve!
'I vow that if my agonies abate,
'I will renounce Death's crown and abdicate!'
The court is hushed : Ti Tsang steps forth alone
And stands before the Infernal Monarch's throne.
All turn to watch the Bodhisattva raise
And hold aloft his magic flaming gem,
Which satisfies desires by quenching them,
And still in rapt anticipation gaze ....

An instantaneous burst of bright white
Light! Illumination from that central blaze
Of diamond shoots out its countless rays
In all directions! Mind's immediate sight
Awakes with wonder from unblinded night!
Spontaneous shafts of radiance disperse
The amorphous murk of Hell and put to flight
Delusive shadows through the universe,
Till beams have reached its outmost boundaries
To thaw the Eight Cold Hells that lie beneath
The Iron Mountains' ring, where wretches freeze,
And melt their ever-shivering miseries.
For chained to static ice with chattering teeth
Their skin has split agape in sores that bled
Like fostering lotus-petals, blue and red.

The peaceful conqueror, whose gem dispels
Postmortal nightmares that the damned mistake
For live incarceration in the hells
From which at will the dreamer cannot wake,
Deposing Yen lo, mounts the Imperial Throne
Of Death, to rule the underworld alone;
And whil e he reaffirms his saviour's vow,
Places the five leafed crown upon his brow.

A sorry crowd of supplicants who prayed
That he would triumph, clamber for his aid.
But when his feet wade through cyclonic flames
To reach the outcasts, whom his hand reclaims,
Under each tender step a lotus-bud
Springs up to shield him from the blazing flood;
While after him a wake of leaves unfurls
Reviving green above those fiery swirls.
Beggars for help converge from every side
And cling to his monastic habit's hem,
Or clasp his pilgrim's staff as faithful guide,
With newborn hope that he can rescue them.
Over a bridge of gold he leads once more
His host to safety on the farther shore:
Amazed, they see the pits of fire and ice
Turning to lotus pools in Paradise!

For when they feel his wise compassion touch
Their hearts, long held in Yen-lo's leaden clutch,
Even the damned and demons who blasphemed
Against the Dharma, must be all redeemed.
At once his draught of past oblivion banishes
Impressions left by hard distress and strife
Remembered after death from earthly life,
And Hell's phantasmagoric horror vanishes!

Wu Tao-tzü

"Oh Ti Tsang Wang, accept this urgent prayer
From your remiss disciple! may I share
In your grand amnesty, which will exclude
Mortals from hells that they deserve to bear:
For such reprieve my deepest gratitude."


"Ti Tsang has quenched for all the Triple Fire
Fed by ignorant selfhood, hate, desire,
And brought Deliverance to those in Hell,
Where no more beings will be born or dwell.
As passions at the end of time expire,
No longer fuelled by evil from the past,
The purgatorial flames die down at last
And, finally blown out, return to rest
Into Nirvana's calm, the Unmanifest."

With Hell's extinguishment, the temple floor
Has closed, as dark and solid as before.


The monks are reassured to hear Shan Tao,
Third of the Pure Land Patriarchs, repeat
The Name with faith in Amitabha's Vow
To save all beings; while at every call
That fervently resounds throughout the hall,
His padded stick keeps time with constant beat
Upon the hollow bellied wooden gong
Carved like the carp that grew so bold and strong
It leapt up Dragon's Gateway Waterfall
To snap the Pearl of Wisdom, which Lung Wang
Gave to Kuan Yin, and by that feat became
A dragon, having reached its highest aim.

As soon as Ti Tsang's radiating jewel
Vanquishes Hell and brings the dead renewal,
Between two waking moments anywhere
Heaven can open in the wondering air
Levels of trance, the gold, the white, the blue,
Uplifting three horizons into view,
So that their paradisal promise captures
The heart of Shan-tao, brimming it with rapture's
Response to his invocatory prayer.

From aether's realm of lapis lazuli,
Wherein the Five Clouds cannot form or fare,
The first cerulean prospects are divined
Illimitably clear, serene, and rare,
Remotely dawning in the shoreless Mind.
Waves of numinous music wash that sky.
Where sacred knots with streaming ribbons chase
Their instruments that fly about in space;
As far beyond the range of ear and eye,
The wind's impromptu lips will play the flute,
And with invisible fingers, breezing by,
Ring a little carillon, strum a lute,
Or on a hand-drum tap a rhythmic bass.

Apparitional birds of paradise,
Fledged by the Buddha's magical device
With plumes of peacock,parrot,golden pheasant,
Will dive or soar in free ecstatic flight,
Given new voices, lyrically pleasant,
To chant the Dharma's psalmody of Light.

Below aethereal morning's azure tier
Lies an oneiric layer, where the white
Clouds that imagination can create
With ever foaming forms accumulate
Mountains of vapour. From their snowy height
The earliest intimations reach the ear
Of Intuition, which can subtly sense
Regions of esoteric influence.

Listen: the exquisite lilting clink of jades,
Pendant from girdles, flitting through the air!
The iridescent sheen of sleeves that flare,
Fleetingly glimpsed, then shyly disappear;
A waft of sandalwood, whose trace pervades
With precious redolence the atmosphere,
Hint that the heavenly cort-ge draws near.

At once aeolian maidens, fresh and fair,
Sweep down, the long diaphanous draperies
Of silken gauze that shining spirits wear
Fluttering, undulant, in the after breeze
Of their arrival. While with perfect ease
They speed on aerial errands, ever sprightly
From sheer delight, they feel no need of wings
Since they perform angelic tasks so lightly. The first,
Who thurifies their pathway, swinging
On chains the perfume burner that she brings.
Is followed by the flock, divinely singing
Of altitudes that joy illumines brightly,
And bearing lacquer trays on which are laid
A coronet and robes of rich brocade.
Spontaneously graceful twins, who glide
Tilting to round a turn on either side,
Present as gifts from distant paradises
Caskets of aromatic balms and spices.
One maid swoops low to offer jewelled fruits
Heaped on a plate of gold. Her sister shoots
Suddenly skyward, where she sits on air
With confidence, as if it were a chair,
And gently waves her silver spotted fan
Of feathers from a blue faced tragopan.
Their revels vivify the sensory powers
Six times a day and night, when they disport
Their sylphine figures in that spacious court,
Whence the petal scattering bevy showers
Fragrances from a thousand different flowers:
Felicities which, after falling hither,
Spread on the ground a carpet, soft and deep,
That paradise's gardeners need not sweep,
For all evaporate before they wither,
While fadeless blossoms, gaily tossed on high,
Gather in clouds to canopy the sky.

Shan-tao beholds through contemplative eyes
Ching-t'u : the visionary city's site
Laid out in squares by cords of golden light
On blue infinitude, where towers arise
In triumph on that farthest western shore,
The sunset plane of purified desires.
Transcendent architecture there aspires
To touch the frieze of clouds, the sapphire skies,
To which his adoration longs to soar.
The True Pure Land is given form : he sees
Exalted temples, Dharma treasuries,
Eight-sided dream halls, lofty belvederes
Commanding cosmic vistas. All appears
Built by the power of Amitabha's Vows,
Before whose majesty he humbly bows.

As though a phoenix, gliding down to land,
Should hover, hesitantly poised in flight
With upcurved pinion feathers ready fanned,
So triple roofs, their tiles of malachite
Trimmed with a turquoise ridge and hips, alight
Upon the sacred palace. Tall vermilion
Pillars with rafter bearing brackets stand
Supporting beams whereby the bays are spanned;
And from the Buddha's centre hall extend
Open galleries which, on either hand,
Lead to a light but opulent pavilion
Facing across the forecourt. Where they end,
The twin pagodas tower five storeys high,
Till from the top roof's pyramid there springs
A nine ringed finial, pointing at the sky,
Whence four slightly dipping chains are strung
Down to the eaves' uptilted corners, hung
With little windbells, which a flurry rings.

Rivers that will refresh the spirit, twice
Seven in number, flow through Paradise
From Wisdom's source, the sovereign Mani gem,
Whose peerless fountain can replenish them
With its perpetual springs of Light. They run,
Embanked by gold, on beds of silver sand,
Rippling like liquid diamonds in the sun,
And strew alluvial pearls along the strand.
To wash defiling faults away, they fill
With spiritual influence the eight
Pools for lustration, where from all four banks
A central stair descends to reach the tank's
Refining waters. At the bather's will
Warmer or cooler, stirred by waves or still,
And deep or shallow, they regenerate
All who arrive exhausted by the strife
And suffering undergone through life on life.

Celestials in attendance then invite
The purified, arrayed in woven light,
To enter sumptuously curtained halls
With lacquered woodwork but devoid of walls,
To which the perfumed clouds of incense waft
From Asia's altars, spiralling aloft.
Though dishes for a prince are served to please
The diverse tastes of grateful votaries,
None needs consume that banquet, only scent,
Delicious odours for his nourishment,
Relieved of appetite to drink or eat,
Yet feeling always pleasantly replete.

Aspirants then ascend a skyward stair
To follow zigzag walkways through the air
And cross by rainbow bridges, till they reach
Terraces on the roofs with balconies
That overlook the lake. Those devotees
Whom Amitabha's Name alone has blest
With perfect Faith, awaken in the West
And listen while his emanations teach
By silent presence or poetic speech
With ritual gestures. So their hearts attain
To virtual Nirvana's joy and peace;
Or when their tranquil interim of rest
In Heaven has enlivened them again,
Choose to defer their ultimate release,
And moved by deep compassionate concern
To take the Bodhisattva's Vow, return
To rescue mortals from the paths of pain.

Buddhas, attended by a retinue
Of Bodhisattvas, travel through the blue
From distant Pure Lands, sailing into sight
On rafts of lilac tinted cloud that glide
Diagonally down from either side.
As they approach, a courteous acolyte
Upholds a silken parasol outspread
As royal homage over P'u-hsien's head,
Who rides that six tusked Elephant of white
Midsummer clouds, which in Queen Maya's dream
Announced her son as born to reign supreme.
A sloping pole is carried by a maid
So that its pendant canopy will shade
The young Crown Prince of Dharma, while Wën-shu
Surmounts his Lion's back of midnight blue
Strewn with a silver blazonry of stars:
The sky's nocturnal pond of nenuphars.
Two mythic kalavinka birds enhance
Bodies of rainbow plumage with the rare
Heads of auspicious sirens. How they dance
With flirting wings and tails that fan the air
To rhythmic mantras, chanting them as shrill
As cymbals spinning rims in touch, until
Their clashed discs emit a silvery thrill!

Exalting satin banners, which proclaim
In gold embroidered characters the Name
Of Amitabha, those sky farers reach
His Western Paradise to hear him preach.


For while Shan Tao recites the sacred Name,
The wooden Buddha that has been aflame
No longer burns upon the temple floor,
But sits enthroned by Paradise's shore,
Wholly transfigured through ascetic fire
To Amitabha. All the monks behold
The sunburst from his Heart of molten gold
Break through the nimbus clouds of his attire,
Illumining the amber silk that drapes
His limbs and body with its bays and capes
Of weaving vapour. Golden arrows dart
Out of his aura's circumambient glow,
Brightening space all round, above, below,
So that Compassion's radiance can impart
A gleam of Faith to every darkened heart.
Wisdom, his solar aureole, displays
Its wheel of forty eight soterial rays,
One for each Vow. Their revelation stuns
The self benighted mind : it dare not gaze
On splendour like a thousand million suns,
Amazed by certitude of hope and joy
That louring doubts and fears cannot destroy.

Shan Tao first meditates upon that mound
Of world transcending Wisdom which has crowned
The Buddha's head of curls, blue black as night,
Each tightly spiralling from left to right.
For there, conceived within his crystal brain
And through the fontanelle that rifts again
Born from his tonsured sconce of ruby red,
Images body forth this Transformed Land.
Which floats in miniature above his head,
Connected by a luminescent thread
Upheld in Amitabha's occult Eye
During five kalpas while he vowed and planned
A haven that the heart could understand,
His Paradisal Vision can deploy
Those cloud-composed, pavilions in the sky
Amidst auroral orchards ripe with joy.
Where gods and men feel perfectly secure,
Free and felicitous, at peace and pure.

Next, he divines with introspective sight
The Buddha's forehead, concentrating where,
Between the brows, a silver coil of hair
Can instantly release a streak of Light.
Crescents of shadow overarch his pair
Of oceanic eyes, whose cloudless blue
Holds intimate immensities in view.
His nose, a golden barrier, divides
Symmetric cheeks with smoothly sloping sides,
Where two sagacious lobes, once decorated
With princely ear rings, have been elongated
Below his crimson lips that almost smile,
Serenely curving in archaic style.
His even teeth excel the new moon's light
In ivory lustre,while his worldwide tongue
Spreads his illuminating Law among
Nescient minds that wander, lost in night'.

But inward Vision now descends to view
The Buddha's Heart, a ruby lotus flower,
Not fully opened yet, nor firmly closed,
Whose overlapp ing petals are composed
Around its solar hub, which can renew
Depleted spirits by its golden power.
Three narrow corrugations, which connote
The Triple Way, surround the Buddha's throat.
His athlete's torso, lithe and leonine,
In meditation holds his axial spine
Perfectly upright. Draperies invest
His noble shoulders, leaving bare his breast
But covering his rounded upper arms
Down to the elbows. Ever open palms
With half-webbed fingers gather one by one
All who accept his Faith, forsaking none.
Gestures with nails of copper banish fears
And give protection, promising Rebirth
To those who call his Name, though karmic worth
Ordains for each a place among his peers,
Ranked on Heaven's nine hierarchic tiers.
He bears the cosmic svastika impressed
As seal amid his broad heroic chest,
But robes that closely wrap his waist and mould
His ventral store of strength, likewise suggest
Those shapely thighs and calves which they enfold.
His lower legs are crossed, while he controls
Their yogic posture with the knees at rest
Upon his lotus-throne, but keeps the soles
Level and upward turned from toes to heel,
So that his hands and feet can both reveal
One thousand sunspokes from the Dharma's Wheel.

Clearly envisioning the Buddha's face
And figure radiating virile grace,
Shan Tao in exaltation calls the Name:
"Na-mo Omit'o-fo!" with acclaim.

Shan Tao

"Buddha of boundless ever beaming Light,
Your incandescent Wisdom far outshines
Sun, moon, and stars, whose brilliance it combines!
Seated in glory on your lotus throne,
Whose petals glow amid the western Sun,
Your molten core, incomparably bright,
Shoots out a conscious ray to everyone,
And so, directly striking each alone,
Bestows its shining seed, the immortal spark
Of solar aspiration from the dark.

We marvel at your Vows, 0 luminous Lord
Of this resplendent realm, your due reward
For selfless karma that surpasses measure,
Which during countless centuries you stored
Until your Six Miraculous Powers were skilled
In sacred stratagems, and so could build
This Paradise of Sublimated Pleasure:
Ching-t'u, which Queen Vaidehi judged the best
Of all the Pure Lands, floating in the West
Adorned with every otherworldly treasure.

Buddha of ageless never ending Life,
We kneel before your fiery Presence, awed
By vital Power, impartially outpoured
To rescue our long suffering world from strife.
0 Sun of Being, who so freely give
The incarnate fire by which all beings live,
When we recall your Call to us, the Name
Rejuvenates our faith with quickening flame,
Until we consummate our lifelong quest
To reach your Pure Land's sanctuary and rest.

You are our final refuge, since you willed
Forty eight Vows, which your resolve fulfilled
Ten kalpas past, when you austerely trained
Till Buddhahood at last had been attained.
Our pallid gratitude should blush with shame
To offer thanks so pitifully small
For your munificence, when we recall
How generously tendered through your Name
The gift of perfect Faith to us can save
From purgatorial gulfs beyond the grave.
We gaze in admiration, most adored
Of all the Buddhas, liberating Lord:
Your Blissful Body, golden, calm, immense,
Received as spiritual recompense,
Is glorified by its own youthful blaze
Of beauty, which commands our prayer of praise.
Its irresistible summons moves the heart,
But speech that would enshrine triumphant Light
Is overwhelmed by wonder at your might,
And folds the sun aspiring wings of art."

Four golden standards mark the sacred space,
One at each corner, for the Buddha's dais
Fixed in the Centre, where he sits alone.
Behind his ruby petalled lotus throne,
The archetypal Bodhi tree ascends
Until its single trunk of gold extends
Boughs in the eight directions. All have grown
Diamond flowers with leaves of jade to spread
A baldachin above the Buddha's head,
And radiate an interplay of lights,
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet,
Whose splendour would surpass the Cosmic Net
That covers Indra's palace on the heights
Of Mount Sumeru. There, to bead the night's
Vast interstellar meshes, have been set
Celestial jewels, cut in briolette,
Whose flashing facets instantly disperse
Reciprocal rays throughout the Universe.
At once their tremulous pendants are connected,
For each uniquely shining precious stone
In Heaven's reticulation has reflected
All other starry worlds, except its own.
Oh dazzling galaxies, where every sun
Is mirrored, one in all and all in one!


Personages Represented
Cantos 5 to 8
Cantos 9 to 12
Cantos 13 to 16
Cantos 17 to 20
Cantos 21 to 24
Cantos 25 to 28
Cantos 29 to 32

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