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The Sacrifice

The first time I was born

out of fear and ignorance.

Seeing this folly, following

the path of the Silent Sage,

I turned around, seeking escape.


After valleys and peaks seemed

the path running more and more

ahead, in a desert strange land.

Then I heard the Lotus Sage saying:

“Only the one who can give everything,

enjoys the Divine All everywhere.”


I sat down at dusk lighting candles,

thinking that what was called for

was the supreme sacrifice. But

then I realized: the sacrificial fire

is time itself. Each moment is

a flame that devours the universe.


What shall I sacrifice into this fire?

Everything that is mine

is stolen, it is a lie, any precious

possession is an illusion.

The fire of time owns already

everything.


So let my sins and failures,

let my falls and faults

be the offerings to this fire.

Everything that was stolen

may return to the flames of time.


Time devours, it devours by

making the offering made—a past.

Time devours, it devours

the offering is past—and now?

Now is empty, it is empty of

the past, and so much more empty

of the future, so empty that

now is empty of the present too.


Devoured by the fire, are

all happenings, all nature,

all in the past. It was. Now?

Now is just this pure

Consciousness without

boundaries and objects,

free on all sides, wide

open, without qualities, but

endless bliss. Now—and the past.


They touch in the fire,

they kindle the fire,

the now of bliss burns

longing for its own expression

and dreams and sings of

reveries and—past—stories

about the ten thousandfold

world system, its birth

and its demise, which unfolds

as nothing but the infinite

longing and unfolding and seeking

reaching out to that divine bliss—now.


The fire is the storyteller

and the story and the listener.

Out of fire one is twice-born.

But if now is the bliss

and the rest is gone and past,

shouldn’t everything stop just here?


This fire doesn’t run on perishable

fuel, it burns the bliss of now,

endless and imperishable, like

the enthusiasm with which

it creates and devours

the stories of the universes.


Like the loved one and the lover,

like the sun and the moon, and

any pair of opposites joint in

the heart, they disclose

an eternal dance of shadows

and lights dazzling in time.


Now actions do not have to cease,

for the sacrifice shall continue,

but they can be perfected, tempered.

Like the poet who struggles to

—sing, sing the Beauty saw in vision!—

rest nowhere content remembering

how many times Beauty has been sang;

but with steady and unwavering

effort gives all to the fire of inspiration, praying:

for new unheard words to say

again, to sing again, again the same

Beauty again! Just so, continue

to act, continue the sacrifice.



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