Buddha in Glory

by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Stephen Mitchell
Original Language German

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet--
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

-- from Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Stephen Mitchell

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet--


Just a few lines so marvelously convey the sense of being centered, profoundly still, yet at the same time expanding into the galactic infinity...

all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.


And even though every being and thing that steps onto the stage of existence, from the tiniest molecule to brightest sun, must sooner or later exit again, yet we come to recognize something here that is bigger still, and deathless.

But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.



Recommended Books: Rainer Maria Rilke

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God In Praise of Mortality: Rilke's Duino Elegies & Sonnets to Orpheus
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Buddha in Glory