"Under the Bodhi Tree," by Yunsheng Jiang

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Yunsheng Jiang (1944-) Chinese poet & science fiction writer. He has won 6 prizes for his short story, science fiction and thesis in Buddhism philosophy in China and Taiwan. One of his short science fictions, Boundless Love, was translated into English and included in Sience Fiction from China [Publisher: Greenwood Pub Group, 1989]. One of his science poems, π (pi) appeared in the current issue of Space & Time( Issue #111).

Yunsheng Jiang was an associated professor of Chinese literature at Shanghai TV University, Songjiang Branch before he retired.

Mr. Yunsheng Jiang is an entirely self-taught writer who can write poem in English. He is always appreciative of his old friends' help. Without their advice, Mr. Yunsheng thinks that he would not have been able to write in qualified English. These names are worthy of special mention: Prof. James E. Gunn, Mr Nolen Harsh and Mrs. Josie Whitehead, a British published poet; and his inseparable friends---"Mr. & Mrs. Dictionary" [Chinese-English & English-Chinese].

1.

The Buddha sat cross-legged under the bodhi tree.

I put my palms together and just wanted to talk…

“ Why should you trouble your head over such matters?”

----- Oh, Buddha had known that I was annoyed!

“What surprised you was the stranger phenomena---

Modern physics is more and more closer to Buddhism;

Both buddhist speculation and scientific experiment lead to

The same conclusion: reality is only,

composed of structureless particles.”

He had guessed what I want to say once again!

The surprise dumbfounded me;

His following words make me astounded---

“I know what puzzled you:

Why should facing the wall to meditate lead to

The mystery of the Universe…”

I prostrated myself at Buddha’s feet;

I praise Buddha deeply in my heart!

When I looked at His head,

An image of a super-computer was shining brightly

In my tear-blurred eyes.

2.

The Buddha sat cross-legged under the bodhi tree,

I wanted to listen respectfully Buddha’s teaching.

Buddha looked down in benevolence,

I’m sure I heard voice of Buddha,

The voice is full of affection,

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’;

A part limited in time and space.

He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings

As something separated from the rest

----- A kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us,

Restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few people nearest us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison

By widening our circle of Compassion to embrace all living creatures

And the whole nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is,

In itself,

A part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

His words are so familiar!

It suddenly crossed my mind who had said these words;

I shouted beside myself with excitement:

“Are you…?”

A great name arised in my mind----

Albert Einstein!

3.

The Buddha sat cross-legged under the bodhi tree,

I put my palms together and just wanted to ask Him

How can I be…

“Put a Buddha’s heart in your mind,

Everybody will become a Buddha.”

Oh, He had read my idea before it flashed into my mind!

I knelt to admire hearty,

I knelt to pray hearty!

When I lift up my head and want to thank Him

It surprised me once again that

Before my eyes was a vast stretch of empty

Except a lonely bodhi tree.

A light wind woke among the tree leaves.

Everything around is clear, bright and

Lucid…

----the end