MILTON MOON. Waiting for Godness -a narrative poem

by Milton Moon.©

I’m due to die sooner rather than later.
My wife of sixty-seven years has already gone,
her mortal remains,
in ashes waiting for mine.
Together they’ll go, somewhere
as part of the seasons
or the tides ebb or flow.
She is still with me,
I talk to her often,
burning incense twice a day
and telling her
“incense is dispersed for the soul
of the young girl.”

Many people say
‘when you’re dead you’re dead.
Sceptics hedge their bets,
‘no one knows’ they say,
(not sceptical of their own scepticism.)
Atheists say they do know;
‘it is all over when you’re
dead and gone – bones or ash —
no God, no Heaven, no Hell,
no thing to carry with you.
All is finished, except things
you leave behind, genes or work
to remind everyone
you once were here.’

Opposite to Sceptics or Atheists
speculative thinkers of the ancient past —
expressed in myth and legend —
suggest a world beyond our world
where everything exists in forms
of knowing we can’t know
and will probably never know,
the way human’s know.
Hindu thought, Judaic beliefs
Buddhists, Christians, Islamic thought
and others, all embracing eternalism
in one form or another.
All gods exist in many forms but
no form contains the formless.
Speculative philosophers speculate —
but only speculate -,
no one knows for sure
that everything is
recorded and stored, and the storehouse
whatever it is, or might be,
has a consciousness,
a part of consciousness itself.

Some speculate the storehouse
is the Mind itself, and although
the Mind permeates everywhere
harbouring all we think and do,
it itself remains unsullied.
Every thought, every act,
every hatred, every suspicion,
good acts and bad acts,
kind and unkind, merciful and merciless,
fantasies, acts of imagination,
a montage layering every facet,
every activity, assuring an audience,
not only a reaction but a participation.
Like metadata it is all stored
in the Mind owned by no one
but linked to everyone.

Grossness attracts grossness,
the subtle beckons the subtle,
the unexplained, the explainable,
(even the inexplicable).
Like the physical world,
conjoining or opposing,
everything goes everywhere:
the heavenly to where the heavenly go,
as the hellish goes where it must go,
but there is no judgement of
either Heaven or Hell,
everything goes where it belongs
‘of itself.’

No ones knows what instincts
you were born with,
or the ways nurture will affect you.
Your past is as fragile, as is
the present or future; more fragile
than the perfumes and flavours
wafted from a thousand countries,
or born and burnished by
a million lifetimes,
ill or well lived,
in peace or tumult.
You might be lucky but
Karma is not a waiting game:
what you wish for in this life
you may rue in the next.

Religions have their own ways,
coming to terms with what happens
when you enter the stage beyond.
Christians have their Hell or Heaven
others have different names.
Buddhists speak of the Pure Land,
the Mind unsullied by the contents
whatever they might be.

In Japan
the Buddha of the Pure Land
is called Amida and reciting his Name
is a direct link to the Mind
beyond our ordinary use of minds.
Of course it is a mystery,
but so much is beyond the
knowledge of human conceit.
The Christians say
‘Ask and it shall be given,
seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto you’.

In Japan the Buddhists say
Namu Amida Butsu
responding to Amida’s vow.
Said with a sincere mind,
a deep mind
and an aspiring mind,
an appeal to the Pure Land
the Mind beyond the Mind,
the Mind within you and all about.
‘Jinen, of itself, made to become so.’

Milton Moon is a senior Australian potter. He has many awards and was recently made a Member of Honour of the International Academy of ceramics. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, University of SA. He studied Zen in Japan and since then Jodo Shinshu. In October he turns 90. He still makes pots and writes poetry.

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