The traditional Christmas classic, T’was the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863) creatively re-described for the buddha-element in all of us.
Happy Holidays and a Peaceful Season
T’was the Night Before Awakening
by Wayne Ren-Cheng, a deep bow to Mr. Moore
T’was the night before Awakening, when throughout every house
All creatures were connected, every man to every mouse.
Siddhartha was sitting under the Bodhi tree with care,
In hopes that the answers he sought would be there.
He considered the children all snug in their beds,
While visions of cravings danced in their heads.
And mother in her sari, and I in my dhoti,
Had just settled down and got comfy.
When up on the stupa there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the leaves of the holy tree
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the man I could see.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But four truths, and eight paths to hear.
With a little wisdom, so compassionate and intended,
I knew in a moment he must be Awakened.
More powerful than emotions his insights they came,
And he thought, and took action, and called them by name!
“Now View! Now, Intent! Now, Speech and Action!
On, Livelihood! On, Effort!, On Mindfulness and Concentration!
To ease the suffering! To walk the Middle Way!
Realize impermanence! Realize not-self! Realize awakened moments each day!”
As delusions that before self-honesty fly,
When they meet with a hindrance, the bodymind asks why.
So into that culture a new paradigm flew,
With a heart full of compassion, and the Buddha too.
And then, in a twinkling, I experienced proof
That these ideals were more than a goof.
As they were recognized in my head, and I was coming around,
I saw the Buddha still sitting on the ground.
He was bathed in pure light, from his head to his foot,
And his mind once clouded viewed clearly the route.
Four Truths and Eight Paths he offered us all,
From kings to householders, the large and the small.
His eyes they showed wisdom! His smile it was joyful!
His urna was glowing, his thoughts were mindful!
From his mouth there came knowledge,
Of the Middle Way and Hinduism to which he paid homage.
He held his tongue firmly against his top teeth,
And meditative calm encircled him like a wreath.
He was awakening to the experiences of man,
That made him wonder if man could realize something so grand!
He was aware that there was no self,
And I laughed when he told me I was not-self!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know there was truth in what he said.
He spoke a few words, and then went straight to work,
And filled my head with the path, then turned with a jerk.
And putting his hand together in gassho, he bowed deeply,
And giving a nod, he stood tall and humbly!
He sprang to his duty, to his commitments he gave direction,
And they were accepted as refinements not perfections.
And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he set out to teach,
“Four Ennobling Truths to all, and to all the Eightfold Path is within reach!”