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no past, no future

With sincere wishes for your happiness, I shall sit in meditation for one hour tonight and, as midnight approaches, ring a bell 108 times. With each ring I shall recall one person, be they near or far, easy or difficult, dead or alive. May your heart be filled with compassion. May we awaken from suffering. May all be at ease.

Rising early
to begin the journey, not a sound
from the chickens next door.

Beneath the lamp,
I part from the innkeeper,
on the road, my skinny horse
moves through the dark.

Slipping on stones
newly frosted,
threading through woods,
we scare up birds roosting.

After a bell tolls
far in the mountains,
the colours of daybreak
gradually clear.

source: Chia Tao (799-843 CE). In: Pine, R., & O’Connor, M. (trans.). (1998) The clouds should know me by now: Buddhist poet monks of China. Boston: Wisdom Press. Chia Tao left monastic practice in midlife to devote himself to poetry and a civil service career. image: custom bell stand from


7 responses »

  1. I love the idea of you sitting outside at midnight ringing the bell 108 times! And that poem is delicious, as is the image. With many wishes for fruitful training in the new year. Peace to you Peter and thanks for your wonderful sharing and blog.

    • thank you, carole, for your kind wishes. to you as well, a joyful start to the new year! your comment regarding bowing (2-3 days ago) continues to percolate through my aging brain. I plan to tackle the “who/what are we bowing to” issue you raised. meanwhile, be well. peter daishin

  2. from T.Bb.: “At midnight, I will take a moment to stop and think about you ringing your bell. And I’ll say the same words: May your heart be filled with compassion. May we awaken from suffering. May all be at ease.”

  3. I will join you and T.Bb tonight at midnight. With every ring of your bell I send a wish for a new year filled with love and happiness.

  4. Daniel Chesluik

    Happy New Year’s Peter!

    Dan and Martha

  5. Peter, thank you for this… New Year’s was rough. It is heartwarming to know that someone out there was helping to bring in the year in a spirit of love and friendship. And, even better, it was a someone I actually knew! What a blessing.


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