You yourself, as much as anybody
in the entire universe, deserve your
love and affection.
1. From blazing summer Bangkok heat
I walked into the dark, cool temple
not to pray, really, just to escape the sun.
2. Walking into that temple
was like walking into a watermelon,
it embraced me with silence cool as stone.
3. Then I saw him, a Monk, sleeping,
sleeping by the window. comfortably draped
over the bench, his feet up on a chair.
4. The orange of his robe was like the sun,
as though the sun had gathered itself
into this one Monk, in this single space.
5. There was something so holy, so pure,
about his complete relaxation in Buddha’s house,
an afternoon nap in prayer to Buddha.
6. Why do we think waking prayer is the key?
Maybe “sleeping prayer” is just as good, or better?
Maybe the lying down prayer is best of all.
7. I sat at a distance, watching the Monk
in his solitude, peace, and sleep. He slept,
but his robes burned with bright fire.
8. As I watched, I wondered, what would happen
to our world, if we all just let go, just let go,
left our vertical conceits, went horizontal?
9. What if instead of kneeling for hours,
we just lay down in the arms of Compassion
and slept our prayers, gave up our rigid will?
10. What if we invited the gods, or God,
to visit us in our dreams, like those seeking healing
at the Epidaurus mountain center in ancient Greece?
11. What might we learn, if we relaxed, gave up
thinking, striving, needing, wanting, petitioning?
What if we turned our trusting souls over to the Divine?
12, Just watching that sleeping Monk filled me
with a peace that passed understanding, went deep,
deep into the heart of reality, and rested.
13. I stayed there a long time, while the sun,
moved on its way, leaving his bright orange robes
in shadow, and he became a soft glow in the dark.
14. I tip toed out of the temple, into the hot evening,
and still he slept. Never, never have I seen such peace.
He slept. I know he was at home in Buddha’s arms.
(Photograph by Alex in Bangkok, Thailand)