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I spend too much time on Twitter. If you see me tweeting, you may notice that I’m proud of what I call the “restaurant challenge.” Last year I decided to try twenty new restaurants, and did. It was fun. This year I’m doing it again. Two down already!

Why is this a challenge? That’s an interesting rhetorical question.

It seems like just going to a new place to eat about twice a month would too easy (at least if you have transportation, and live where there are some restaurants, like I do, near Boston). It’s not running five miles a day or singing in front of hundreds of people! It’s not facing your greatest fears!

It is facing some small fears, though, and sometimes small fears are very significant. Some of the time, I think we overlook small resistances and anxieties, thinking they’re no big deal, on one level, but- on another level, I think letting those small anxieties go has a lot to do with not facing fear. We ignore those things for a reason, not because we are essentially cowardly, but because cowardice is a big part of everyone’s pattern of managing the difficulties of life. Everyone has a difficult life, even if they are relatively comfortable. In a way, this seems unfair: people with enough food and shelter should have easy lives, but somehow this isn’t how the mind works. Feeling guilty or denying your own pain won’t erase that fact.

So, trying new things is challenging because it involves going out of the comfort zone. I have reached the point where I’m less surprised by how, again and over and again, my comfort zone seems to be so small, so easily tensed up. Even trying a new brand of cereal can lead to unnecessary deliberation and hesitation. How can I aspire to being fearless if I waffle over brands of cereal? It takes time.

I like the restaurant challenge because it is not too hard, but it is a stretch, and it is enjoyable, usually- you get to eat. Who doesn’t like to eat?

“We prefer to hide in our personal jungles and caves. When we hide from the world in this way, we feel secure.” Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala

Last poems

 

Sweat is magic water

 

Really, sweat is magic water.

It creates happiness.

Magic water can’t really help people

Until your actions create some sweat.

Love is difficult. Believe in it, and try for it.

If you do your duty, you’ll have success.

It is the same as god helping you.

It is a pleasure for everybody.

The Buddha respects hard work.

If people sweat enough

They’ll have faith.

Everyone can be happy through sweat.

 

The diamond of the eye

 

The good world needs cleanliness, brightness, quiet.

The foundation is virtue and fulfilling our duty together.

Thailand has a free mind

Because it has dharma, the diamond of the eye.

The diamond of the eye means being stable in one’s duty.

It is harmony.

It is beyond jealousy.

It is enjoyment in working, and pervasive happiness.

It’s a weapon to fight the devil with.

Enjoying your work- this pleasure is the same as heaven.

Buckets of sweat- it’s a wonderful elixir.

The quiet life is nirvana.

Working is a spiritual education.

 

We determine our own fate/fate doesn’t determine our life.

 

Good people make their lives good and create their own fate.

Goodness creates fate.

Don’t do wrong. If you do right, you’ll be good.

Good life, good death. Because of goodness, this will stay with you.

If you do good things, your fate will follow.

Whoever makes merit constantly will always have a good fate.

 

Good karma is better than amulets

 

Good karma is better than auspiciousness.

Go with charity instead of magic talismans.

A lot of amulets will just bind or hang you.

Fear is messy, and luck won’t protect you from it.

Villains buy magic charms to wear, but they don’t work, and they die anyway.

Dharma is the real protection, because it’s god.

Good people can be beaten to death, but bad people are dead already.

Ladies and gentlemen, rush to justice. Leave this luck alone

Until you get real results and escape from the point of death.

A virgin’s body could make men do wicked things,

But is not itself to blame.

 

Do good as a blessing

 

Do good as a blessing.

Don’t beg or ask for blessings from others.

Let’s think about it.

Such blessings from outside are like the wind.

Let’s go! Don’t be naïve.

Doing the right thing, night and day

is finally the best thing.

Integrity is about action.

If you want to be rich you must be generous.

Being good means being satisfied with what you have.

Everyone was born human.

They are good, bad, rich, poor

As a result of their own karma.

Fair is fair. Fear comes from guilt

But good is an blessing forever.

 

Dharma wishes for the new year

May this New Year be better than the old year.

May we be able to plant all year long, more than last year,

Both bigger plants and more than ever before.

There are more bad people, though.

That means next year will be worse than this year.

Some years there’s no goodness because people are led astray.

When they are awake may they do the right thing

Not bad things, based on their understanding.

May good remain, and may it all improve.

Let’s be cheerful.

Life itself comes from the Buddha’s teachings:

Purity, intelligence, mercy and tolerance

Are all there.

The New Year will be better than the old for us.

Last part

 

Work Is Beautiful

 

Actually, work is beautiful.

When we don’t know it, we dislike it.

It’s unknown for those

who let things drift along on their own.

Some complain that it’s boring,

But, really, it’s a beautiful thing.

It teaches you about everything.

If we practice very hard, we become very intelligent.

We don’t miss.

Having your mind expand, this is the highest gift.

You should look at work as beautiful.

It makes the Buddha’s teaching manifest.

It’s admirable. It makes you mindful and content.

When you can stop amusing yourself, and discipline your feelings,

You’ll find the path to liberation.

 

Work Makes Life Fresh

 

Work is fun!

Work hard- it creates happiness everywhere.

It makes for a fresh life.

It’s delightful to have a cheerful mind in your daily work.

Therefore, just have a pure mind.

Don’t be angry!

To have a world full of kindness

Is called a kingdom of selflessness.

It’s the result of being generous and energetic.

All the animals, big and small, will be happy.

Both small and large cities will appreciate this.

The world is happy, and liberated.

——————-

 

 

Part 5

 

What to Do so I Won’t Be Dead

 

So I’m gone from the world,

But the sound of my voice is still in my friend’s ear.

We felt good once, and will forever.

Just like me, you haven’t died, and you still have merit.

 

Be like me, don’t die.

It remains in your heart, like the past.

If you want to tell me something,

Be like me, sit with me here.

Give me a suggestion.

 

Be like me, don’t die.

This would lead to immense benefits.

Every day is important- don’t forget!

I want to make this clear, so that

Everyone remembers.

 

Together Forever

 

Act as if I haven’t died.

Stay with me forever.

Be with me, like I never died.

All of you will continue to live forever.

 

Doing this, it shall be as it was.

Buddha taught using skillful means.

Nondeath provides the path,

But wickedness throws it away.

 

There are many trivialities in this world.

You don’t need them.

Have a blank mind without appearance.

Do not see it die.

 

What Kind of Education?

 

What of education do you get from the world?

These days, teenagers are passionate,

Addicted to drugs, caught by sexual obsession.

They look down on their father and mother.

They think making merit is ridiculous.

They think free love is good.

They dislike religion, and many are hippies.

They want tons of independence,

To have highly developed egos and educations-

What kind of education will the world give them?

A Danger for Students

 

Students should learn not to be in love

Because when they are in love

Their concentration is low

And if they can learn at all,

It’s incomplete.

When their parents warn them about it,

They don’t believe it.

Love is dangerous. They lie to their parents about it.

They think education is boring, crazy, a waste of money.

Boys and girls lose their studies because of love.

They should make an oath to themselves,

Be grateful, and love their parents,

And be mindful to study for their parents’ happiness.

 

Greeting

 

The Buddha blessed the world to protect all people, and keep them from illness. May everyone be very happy, and the world without sadness.

 

Father as a Father

 

If you are a father, then do as a father.

Don’t just be ghost-father, don’t be a joke,

Or lazy.

What kind of father are you?

This generation of fathers always protect their children.

Decisions are up to the children.

They tell their kids they can’t do things- then why did you have them?

For what? It’s all darkness.

If the father doesn’t know, how will the child?

They have no idea which way to go.

They act, but never succeed.

Finally, their children die. Now are you satisfied?

 

Smoking?

 

Smoking just lessens.

It lessens your age, that’s for sure.

It lessens the mind, weakening it

Because it’s constantly conquered by craving.

It lessens your property.

Those good cigarettes take your money.

Your breathing sounds terrible, trembling.

Smoking even a little is a mistake.

The elders make the children smoke.

The ghosts are laughing at you!

It’s really pathetic.

Why were you born, then?

It’s hopeless.

Be infatuated, devastate yourself with all your heart.

Of course, I could not have done any of this without the class of Academic Writing. So many students have helped translate these poems. Here are the translator’s names. Guys, if I forgot anyone’s name here, please let me know.

 

Nattawut, Ratchapong, Jiratchaya, Li Bin, Lu Yin

Napawan, Yok, Earth, Naam, Eve

Panussaya, Salisa, Neungratai

Jittin, Nakorn, Mydear, Nuntanaporn, Lei lei

Pawena, Nae, Phimphisut, Ketsara, Sirinipar, Marry

 

Thanks so much!

Death

 

Life is not absolute.

Birth and death are normal.

I was born.

I will die.

I look with eyes that see the cycle of life.

You can stop the cycle of life.

Happiness is thinking.

Happiness doesn’t have to search.

Dead or not, it doesn’t matter.

That’s the way to conquer death.

If you want to die happy,

Don’t say anything.

Not a skeleton, just a joke.

Nothing dangerous, take this in, and die happy.

Frightening things are no problem.

Living and dying are similar.

The old and the sick can’t wait.

There’s death before death,

Even more happiness!

It’s a joke to me.

I’m not so great.

No one has died.

 

The Magic of the Body

 

The body is very uncertain.

It has a birth, and a death.

Death is natural.

It’s not a long life.

We are the same physically.

I might die today. I don’t know.

All bodies burn.

Peace happens because of the cycle of burning.

People reach nirvana through karma.

This burning of the body is common,

Although people come back as something else.

 

Life Only

 

Life means you must be born and die.

When thoughts are turned to the dharma,

You are not born.

You don’t die.

You feel happy.

It’s life only- whoever found it felt happy.

 

What, Where

 

Beauty is in the ghost.

Goodness is in the discarded.

Monks enter monkhood

Before dying- they could think of nirvana.

 

Degree from the Temple Garden

 

There’s a degree you get before you die.

It’s the end of study.

You leave the earth.

The cycle stops.

It’s the degree from the garden.

There are people everywhere

Saying they can’t find goodness.

People in the city are cursed.

This is a degree of death before death.

People look, and understand.

They are famous throughout the city.

They thought it was bad.

 

Buddhism Never Died

 

Buddhism never died.

Although the body will burn,

Depending on if it’s breathing or not,

It’s time to change bodies.

Buddhism is the next breath.

It’s good or bad, depending on religion.

Be physically and mentally ready

To be a Buddhist.

Practice forever for the Buddha.

Buddhism is still there for the next generation.

Buddhism is still there to teach the next generation.

It teachers by goodness

So humans can see death.

 

 

 

 

Part Four

 

Very Crazy

 

This would be good if you’re interested in a lot of hell.

Having to be afraid means not being intelligent.

You don’t want nirvana, but still you want help!

This is completely crazy.

 

Do Not Be Mad

 

Buddhism it taught for people’s suffering,

But if people don’t use it for this purpose

Adhering to religious teachings is terribly crazy.

Going crazy about the great goal is like

A crazy sectarian brawl.

All those teachings are about ending suffering,

But somehow they promote the increase of suffering.

This is demonic.

 

Important Methods

 

Well, things have gone wrong, and gotten crazy.

This leads to corruption and loss.

I notice my own foolish errors.

Good actions lost can become good again.

Becoming a ghost is people’s beautiful luxury.

A good human being

Turns mistakes into strength.

Find some kindness.

Do not be discouraged,

Because this leads to stupidity.

If you can, turn your suffering into something good.

 

The Enemy is a Test

 

The sudden appearance of an enemy is a test.

So know that, and know that there is goodness.

Do not be angry.

The enemy is our paradise.

Mental suffering comes from thinking

You’ve done badly, and there is evil.

The enemy is a teacher of truth.

Feuding is just filthy water.

It comes from fighting with others.

The enemy gives this to you, but you are at fault.

What is the cause?

If you don’t give in ever, you’ll have no enemies.

 

There Is No Devil

There is no devil.

Charisma is not a big deal. It’s empty of meaning.

It has no power to harm.

Did you know that?

The devil has very strong charisma.

It has the power to do anything.

It can create anything.

You can kill this devil by thinking of nothing.

The devil, this same devil, becomes a teacher.

Find something to kill it.

 

I’m Doing Well Because of Abuse

 

I am doing well because abuse is funny.

My life goes well because of abuse.

I’m not afraid of abusers,

Those evil creatures.

I don’t fear them.

Who really has it good?

People are envious,

And find ways to hurt others.

When they get tired of this, they gorge themselves.

They it’s a real challenge to be free.

I am good because of abusive words.

Things are difficult, which is an honor.

Look at difficulty.

It’s not real!

You get some wonderful things because of abuse.

It is really funny.

 

Big Mistake

 

If you think that you are better than others, then you’re the bad one.

If you think you’re better than others,

But somehow you have a lot of kleshas,

You’d better think carefully.

He is on the left, and I am on the right. We’re pretty similar.

If the person on the left is bad, how is the person on the right better?

If you hate left and love right, you will go crazy in the heart.

You’ll be taken from happiness, towards death.

 

Look on the Good Side

 

If you get something with bad parts to it, never mind.

Just choose the parts that are valuable.

As far as the bad, you don’t want to know about it.

If you want to find a perfect man, you won’t find him.

It’s like finding the moustache on a turtle.

You have to practice only looking for the good part.

 

Loss and Gain

 

The winner gets looked upon with hatred.

The loser is exhausted,

But peaceful people are happy, and unworried.

It is neither good to lose or win.

 

Give it to Him

 

If someone wants something you like,

Give it to him.

You don’t have to fight.

Envy makes you sad, and your family will be sad right along with you.

If he wants something wonderful, just give it to him.

You will be free from problems.

Kindness makes others beautiful, and builds friendships.

If he wants fame, give it to him.

You’ll just make everyone successful.

You’ll get the result that you want.

 

The One God

 

Religion is with us forever.

We should invite our friends along to see.

We have something real, the only thing,

And we have our own way.

We will be happy forever.

We don’t have to resists others.

We’ll love and happiness everywhere.

We’ll come together to worship god.

The names are different, but it doesn’t matter.

The inside is the same.

 

Let it Be!

 

You can’t stand “Let it be”!

If something causes harm, you don’t have to be afraid.

From a small problem, small harm will come to you.

If you build these up, it will cause some harm.

You have to abandon it immediately.

The more you let go, the cooler you’ll feel.

You will be saved because of letting it be.

We have to practice this.

 

Don’t Let it Be!

 

You don’t have to only let it be.

It it’s about your friends, you should help each other.

You have to help them completely.

If you help your friends, it’s just like helping yourself.

Whatever you do to help each other, you’ll become that much

Less selfish.

Everyone should not let it be.

The less selfish, the better.

You will approach happiness, from now until death.

You will survive through not letting be.

We have to think this over.

 

Life Scene 1

 

Being born-

Please look at this very hard.

Mother and daughter seem to be burning,

For no reason.

Explain this!

Born to eat, to play, to sleep, to receive an inheritance,

Born to get big like cows.

As for me, I was born to do virtue.

 

Growth

 

Horses and cows can grow.

Getting fat is easy, easier than having your heart grow.

Eating makes it easy to get big.

It’s difficult, though, to grow in your heart-

Often we shrink because of confusion in the heart.

We only think about our bodies,

But the heart is much more colorful.

What will you do, just in the service of your body?

That is really frightening to think about.

 

Life Scene 2

 

Youth

Is fiery to the touch, but they don’t see the light,

But truth is very hot

It is a maniac trapped inside.

Neurosis leads to harmful actions.

That is the heart of goodness, and it is so good.

 

The Beautiful

 

Looks like the fire in the east that gives us light.

It can change shapes, or colors.

Everyone competes for

Beauty of the body, beautiful wealth, beautiful things-

They are not as good as natural beauty

Or what nature has created for decoration.

You’ll understand this as you get older.

 

Life Scene 3

 

 

Life Scene 4

 

Illness:

It is so painful to have.

Oh! No, you have to practice with it.

Study it. Learn from it.

Don’t wait a long time, don’t just pass the time.

If you don’t like old age, sickness, and death

Learn about nirvana.

Don’t be lazy about it!

The elders can’t escape

Being friends with the dead.

When, after long years, age has arrived,

Death approaching,

You won’t expect anything.

You’ll be unbiased.

You won’t care who avoids you or seeks you out.

So all of us, boy, girls, everyone,

Should be in a hurry, before we all die,

To improve ourselves.

 

 

Life Scene 5

 

Feelings:

It feels like you’re about to die.

It’s about time to uplift ourselves,

And see what’s good and what’s bad.

We should be calm.

You must find this in yourself. Don’t be stupid.

Find this before your death is a big waste.

We’re not just born to consume stuff.

We should be alive to know ourselves.

Death:

It has no name, because we think it’s bad.

Is rotting the same as death?

This is very boring. What is good?

Dead bodies are there for everyone to see,

Have no doubt.

The body dies, but the mind is still with the world.

It can still be useful.

 

The Old

 

The old often get confused.

Like a blind person, they have to crawl,

And feel along with their hands to find their way.

It’s hard to move.

If you don’t want difficulty,

You have to cross over before you get old,

Before your eyes dim, before you go deaf.

Think about this, hurry up,

Walk fast!