Ode to a Pilgrimage

Bodhi Gaya today,
So different
From a scene of yesteryear,
Where a lone man,
Sitting under a tree
In silence,
In stillness,
Awakened from the dark.

The leaves have fallen,
The tree trunk decayed,
The shrine destroyed.
Through a crack in collapsing walls
Appears a brave new sapling.

Long gone is the ancient tree of wisdom,
But hope for refuge still blossoms,
As descendants of the great tree
Diligently preserve the lineage.

But…
Scriptures and stupas
Are just shadows, ghosts and echoes
Standing on the rock of truth.
Hunts for ghosts and shadows
Bear naught but pain and despair.

The real teachings
Are not in the words that are spoken.
The real teachings
Are not in the texts that are written.

The real teachings
Are the light
That shines into our heart,
Brightening all tiny cells,
Melting clinging and craving,
Setting free
The sense of self,
And opening up the flower of truth.

A true pilgrimage,
A real homage to our Teacher,
A great sage,
Is a journey to the centre of our own heart
Where the Dhamma dwells.

Dheerayupa Sukonthapanthu