Song of Chugen

My parents departed long ago.

How often I grieve in sadness!

I had only two aunts left:

100days95Last year I went to Kyoto and sobbed.

This year I moved to the shore of a lake and river.

My grief multiplies as I move through space and seasons.

Monks perform an urabon ceremony* after cleaning the temple.

The chanting of sad voices resounds to the red banners.

Then a cool breeze arrives;

cleansing and darkening showers merge with the dust.

Rain over, plantain shadow under the leaning sun-

the spirit of my father appears before me.

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After the ceremony I return to the monks’ quarters,

making a silent dedication for his liberation:

“Spirit, do not stay sunk forever.

Quickly prepare a boat and cross to the other shore.”

~Ryokan**

*Since the early days of Buddhism,

the Urabon Ceremony is a time set aside

for people to pray for the

peace and happiness of the deceased.

**cited:

Sky Above, Great Wind

Trans: K Tanahashi