Pandit Kumar Gandharva: Maya Mahan Thagni

"The light at the end of a tunnel isn't an illusion. The tunnel is."

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No Water No Moon

Chiyono was a servant in a Zen convent who wanted to practice zazen. One day she approached an elderly nun and said, “I’m of humble birth. I can’t read or write and must work all the time. Is there any possibility that I could attain the way of Buddha even though I have no skills?”

The nun answered her, “This is wonderful, my dear! In Buddhism there are no distinctions between people. There is only this: each person must hold fast to the desire to awaken and cultivate a heart of great compassion. People are complete as they are. If you don’t fall into delusive thoughts, there is no Buddha and no sentient being; there is only one complete nature. If you want to know your true nature, you need to turn toward the source of your delusive thoughts. This is called zazen.”

Chiyono said, with happiness, “With this practice as my companion, I have only to go about my daily life, practicing day and night.”

After months of wholehearted practice, she went out on a full-moon night to draw some water from the well. The bottom of her old bucket, held together by bamboo strips, suddenly gave way, and the reflection of the moon vanished with the water. When she saw this she attained great realization.

Her enlightenment poem was this:

With this and that I tried to keep the bucket together, and then the bottom fell out. No more water in the pail! No more moon in the water!

An Interpretation :

When I first heard Chiyono’s verse, I had been practicing for ten or twelve years. I was keenly aware of the constant tension of “keeping the bucket together.” I understood that the intent of practice was to relax my grip on the old bucket, but conditioning runs deep and the sense of personal identity is strong. Hearing the words “with this and that” I felt the exhaustion of years of vigilance, all aimed at protecting my idea of myself. I felt the exhaustion of being my own obstacle.


Maya Maha Thugni Hum Jaani
Tirgun Phans Liye Kar Dole Bole Madhuri Bani
Kesav Ke Kamla Ve Baithi Shiv Ki Bhavan Bhavani
Punda Ke Murat Ve Baithi Tirath Mein Bhai Pani
Yogi Ke Yogin Ve Baithi Raja Ke Ghar Rani
Kahu Ke Hira Ve Baithi Kahu Ke Kodi Kani
Bhaktan Ke Bhaktin Veh Baithi Brahma Ke Brahmani
Kahe Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho Yeh Sab Akath Kahani


I Have Come to Know the Illusory Power to be a Great Thug. Her Hands Sway Holding a Web-like Trap
She Speaks in a Sweet Voice

For Kesava, the Sustainer, She is Seated as the Embodiment of Abundance. For Shiva, the God of Dissolution, She is the Empress of the Worlds

For the Priest She is Seated as the Idol of Worship
And in Places of Pilgrimage She Manifests as the Holy Water

For Yogis She is Seated as the Spiritual Partner
In the King's Palace She is the Queen
For Some She is Seated as a Priceless Diamond
For Some She is a Mere Penny

For Devotees She is Seated in the Object of Devotion
For Brahma She is His Consort
Says Kabir Listen Oh Practicing Aspirant
All this is an Untold Story

Courtesy : Boloji

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