Alone and With-others
by Bhikkhu Khantipalo

Sitting alone
In silence surrounded--
The wind in the trees,
Fish jump from the waters,
Birds sing in the distance
And the sun shines down
Out of a sky part blue, part white.
It is easy then to think:
"How beautiful this world."

Sitting alone
Dragon-flies hover and circle,
Visitors coming and going
But all quietly, quite quietly,
A cock crows from a farm,
Crows caw in the sky,
Earth meeting all watery
The sky evening-graying--
Serenely happy am I.
Then so easy to think:
"How wonderful this world."

Sitting alone--
Pause for reflection:
In the Conqueror's Teaching
Truly-so is not seeming.
Oh be not deluded
And look on this world
As a float gaily painted
So decked, decorated
Covers tooth and claw rending
Birth-death unending
Surely then one should think:
"How terrible this world."

Sitting alone
One looks on this world
As utterly worthless
Enticing and menacing
As blackly corrupting.
Thus looking comes Freedom
Only then shatter fetters
Only then recollect:
"I am free of this world."

Sitting alone
In silence surrounded
Do ye not see these beings
Ever wandering-on?
Weighed down by black actions
Tormented, afflicted
And passing their lives
Living far from Saddharma.
Then arises the though:
"Alas! These are my mothers
And these are my fathers
And brethren through ages
Of ceaseless existence."
Thus thinking, thus seeing
Great Compassion extending
To all beings whatever
In whatever state living:
"All these must be rescued
From the Three Worlds' Round."

Notes:
Saddharma: the True Dharma, the liberating Teachings of the Buddha.