NIRVANA IN PARIS     – or –      NEHAN-ZU 涅槃図   ~  PARINIRVANA  by LB 慈

The fire is extinguished
Even the smouldering embers
Maybe the wheel will spin again
Splattered with
The remnants
Of a dry land

In the led and dead
Of a lamp black night
A new moon
On this cloud covered eve
Some faint glimpse
Of a hazy crescent

Between the two sal trees
You were born
And to your birthplace you were returning
With pain and fatigue
They laid you down
You there with the white petals falling

The sound of weeping
A ground soaked with the rain of tears
Even the white elephant the mouse
The wild boar the spotted deer
The snake the monkey the dog
The tiger weeping

The moon was black
And the sky was red
And all those who had gathered
Saw from the heavens
A descending cloud
Of angels 

Drowning their cries
The spokes of a wheel spinning
One ought not dig the Earth
Mix medicines observe the star’s positions
Predict the phases of the moon
Perform magick or lead people ashtray 

With an unmuddied mind and mindful diligence
Seek to awake from some dark slumber
Be content with any offering
The precepts are your liberation
And the extinction of your misery
Equanimity tranquility

Keep your senses guarded
As a cowherd
Grips his stick
To keep the cows
From wanderin’
Into another man’s seedbed

If you indulge your five desires
As some blinkered mare in a race
With a bit in the mouth
Being whipped to the last
Both the rider and the horse
Will fall into a ditch

The pain caused by the five senses
Will last many lifetimes
Never neglect
Guard them five like prisoners
And extinguish extinguish the fires

Fear that mind more than any viper’s venom
Wild beasts vengeful robbers
Even great fires ‘n raging floods bear no comparison
As a man running with a pot of honey heedless to a deep hole
Like some mad elephant unchained
A monkey jumping madly in the sun

Subdue subdue
Determine Strive
Diligently in one place
Receive just that battered fish
Enough to avoid starvation

Do not sleep
But as night is day
In this big blue sphere
All things are consumed
By the fires
Of impermanence

Like some black cobra
Under your pillow
Passions will be driven out
No shame no conscience
No clothing
No iron gaff

If someone comes
And dismembers every limb
Joint by joint not a drop of hate
And lest from that red mouth
Out any devil word
In some scorpion hot chili pepper

Practice patience like the granite
Of Crazy Horse dynamited
Into the Black hills of Dakota
And there drink the poison of abuse
As if the nectar of the flowers
Of Mount Olympus

These shattered panes
These desert sands
Through the hour glass
No teaching no way
No lightning no thunder
Just a light a feathery cloud

Your shaven skull
No hare
No jewels
On the raggedy plains
No supper bowl
Just this begging eye

No pride
No hymn no lie
Just that rolling plateau
So high
That air
So thin 

Just a glimpse
Through a hole
In the cirrus clouds
That peak


Big desire
You win a while
But then your losing streak
Few or none
Without sorrow
Merit without merit 

No trickery
Tranquility without worry
Whatever is the hand
No insufficiency
Nothing lacking

A bee at ease and content
Prosperous even with just the earth to lie upon
Queen Bee in your gilded palace
No jelly no contentment
No satisfaction
Poor bee

A lotus blooms
At a quiet station
Leave that hubbub of society
Living alone in the mountains
By some little seaside abode
With Indra’s cats

Extinction seclusion
A flock of birds in the danger
Of a withering tree
Into the quicksand
The ego sinks
The elephant swamp 

Nothing will be difficult!
But strive diligently and nothing will be difficult
Like a constant trickle of water
Bores a hole in a rock
Indolence is rubbing wood
No spark no fire

With mindfulness seek the teacher
No mindfulness and no emptiness
Like armour in the battlefield nothing to fear
With a concentrated mind for the wisdom water
A scattered mind
And surely the levée will break

No greed one eightfold path
Whether layman or not
That dark stout ship
Will carry you a cross
The seas of old age disease death
This eternal life 

A great lamp on the blue cliffs
Illuminates that ink black night
That cure that medicine for sickness
A sharp axe cuts the tree of passions
Listening practicing your song
The brightness of wisdom will appear

Useless idle chatter a mind like a spaghetti junction
Shunning every form of self-indulgence
Strive weather by the sea by the water
Under a tree or in a quiet room
The forget-me-nots bloom
Like some doctor who prescribes a medicine

A harbour of doubts
But if the moon grows hot and the sun grows cold
The bell of suffering rings true
No happiness with attachments
The destruction of the path of misery
The sound of four noble horses galloping into the horizon

Denizens of the crow black night
A flash of lightnin’! a boat awaits to cross the sea
O swift your passing but don’t you grieve!
By your bedside you all possess the conditions to waking up
The dharma will not be destroyed
All is impermanent

I fold a dead man’s hand
This evil thing the body is to be discarded
Drowning into the deserts of disease and death
Who cannot rejoice at getting rid of it
Disappearing through the smoke rings
Silencio! I am crossing over 

This grand finale, Enfants, En fin.

Nehan-zu depict the mourning deities, humans and animals gather to witness the death and entry into nirvana of the historical Buddha. From the moonlit sky descends his mother Maya. Such scrolls would typically be displayed at solemn nehan-e ceremonies held in temples on the 15th day of the 2nd month each year to commemorate the death of the Buddha.

Share →