The Dharma Garden
by Bhikkhu Khantipalo

By the hut upon the hill
A garden grows four feet around;
And amid the 'mountains',
Some quite two feet high,
Are planted lowly herbs and wild:
Reminders of the Dharma.

Daily your magenta balls unfurling,
O flower, your name is now forgotten.
Blooming every morning,
Gone by every evening,
With good effect to me you preach:
Transiency, impermanence.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

Remembering, Maranta is your name
And in your thousands lowly
You grow upon this mountainside,
Hiding frail blossoms 'mid your leaves.
With good effect to me you preach:
Concealed, are virtues glorious.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

Bamboos, you shoot your spears in space,
So graceful your leaves you hang;
Come wind, come rain and bending down
You never snap and live to sway again into the heavens.
With good effect to me you preach:
To wear the robe of patience pure.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

Old cycad throwing rings of leaves
Now doing as your kind has done
Enduring all of twice ten thousand ages
Declining to acknowledge time's mere tumult short.
With good effect to me you preach:
Endurance strong and high resolve.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

In the shade there, flourishing
Are ferns, and ne'er a flower they bear
Unwanted by most men, and wild,
Unnoticed goes their subtle grace.
With good effect to me you preach:
To search with care for Trurh most fine.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

Selaginella called by men
A lowly herb and green, no show
You offer, but carpet all around so delicately
With cedartree-like tracery.
With good effect to me you preach.
The beauties of humility.
My effort is; my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

With shoots so straight and leaves all striped
And blossoms of canary hue,
'Protector of the Sangha' clept
In Thai, and known as canna in the West.
With good effect to me you preach:
The bhikkhus' silas straight, unsoiled,
Protect the Sangha best of all.
My effort is, my will inclines
To practice what you teach.

So grows the garden outwardly,
But all who read do not neglect--
To prune, to sow, to reap and grow
The Dharma-garden inwardly.
With good effect all things would preach,
If eyes we have, if hearts incline.
If effort in the Dharma made,
We'll practice what they teach.