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Shoreline Submission

May 1, 2018

Singer’s faith

Filed under: Uncategorized — irajdealwis @ 3:42 am

Your lust-ridden mind

by Mohideen Baig


Does your sensuous mind suddenly clamour?

Is your soft heart throbbing with fear?


Does your sensuous mind suddenly clamour?

Is it bathed in stains?


Then say with your lips,

I take refuge in the Buddha


Compassion and mercy lies decayed,

Anger and envy lounges nourished.

And now is there tyranny and oppression?

And now have men become beasts?


Then say with your lips,

I take refuge in the Buddha.


Has suffering and hassle twisted you? Contorted your mind?

Has truth been killed out there in the world?

Has that serene and pure heart of yours

Been destroyed by lies and self-deception?

At the precipice of mercy and justice,

Does your heart shudder and turn back?


Then say with your lips,

I take refuge in the Buddha.


To whom can I say my lament?

The man who is suddenly abandoned to loneliness in this world

His heart wanders unbound.

The king of our world is loneliness

And in his reign has love perished,

Drunk on himself man rips apart his own soul,

Having slain and buried the voice of truth,

He hears devotion too shudder and die.


Then say with your lips,

I take refuge in the Buddha.


When even the echoes of love have drifted from the world,

flames of envy roam, and dance and burn,

And a mother’s love sets in to night,

And she places a sword in her son’s hands,

the earth shudders and writhes,

The rivers boil and froth.


Then say with your lips,

I take refuge in the Buddha.

I take refuge in the Dhamma.

I take refuge in the Sangha.

The translation and recitation of this Buddhist devotional poem by a Sufi poet and singer, Mohideen Baig, is my attempt at reconciling the gap between ritual practice and a religious journey. A key theme in Rumi’s poetry is the recollection of the beloved, of the teacher and of God. Why carry out dzikr all the time? What is the transformation that such a devotional practice brings? In this poem, Baig brings his understanding of dizkr to a Buddhist context, while using Buddhist language to talk about mental life to elaborate on the many aspects of the nafs. When the mind takes its many forms of hatred, envy, fear, greed, depression and loneliness, Baig tells his listeners to remember the Buddha who was their teacher. The constant remembrance of a teacher, day to day as the mind shifts, is a central part of daily practice. The poem culminates in the image of a mother arming her son, a common sight during the civil war, and Baig suggests that the storms of our mind, if unchecked by remembrance, are allowed to fester then the damage goes beyond the personal into the political. I found this poem extremely moving to read for it melds two deep doctrines from two faiths: a way of detailing the mental life from Buddhism, and the power of dzikr from Islam.

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