The remarkable power of emancipation (from The Shodoka)by Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku
English version by Robert Aitken
Original Language Chinese
The remarkable power of emancipation
Works wonders innumerable as the sands of the Ganges.
To this we offer clothing, food, bedding, medicine.
Ten thousand pieces of gold are not sufficient;
Though you break your body
And your bones become powder, --
This is not enough for repayment.
One vivid word surpasses millions of years of practice.
Devotion, offerings, sacrifice, even suffering... To those who teach about the wonders of spiritual emancipation, these are but small investments, "not enough for repayment." And here's part of the amazing thing: Every part of our world that we reluctantly release, though it may be of service to others, is of even greater service to ourselves. Every offering is a brick removed from the ego's carefully built wall. Every challenge intelligently and willingly encountered is a blow to the ego's illusion of unassailable importance. Service and sacrifice open windows and doorways, they create opportunities for us to discover the wide open spaces of the unfettered self.
The line I most love, though, is that final statement:
"One vivid word surpasses millions of years of practice."
That should be a tagline for the Poetry Chaikhana, shouldn't it? It's a significant reason why I created the Poetry Chaikhana, in order to discover and share the vivid words of sages and visionaries. Who knows what wonders they'll work on us?